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By Rene Vidmer - Allentown, Pennsylvania - USA

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Stage 7: Pensacola FL - Folkston Georgia

When last seen the boat was on the hard at Pelicans Perch on Bayou Chico in Pensacola, FL. I flew in March 1st and spent 4 days cleaning her up and refitting (paint, varnish).

Leaving Pensacola on the fifth, I had easy water up to Carrabelle and the terminus of the Crooked River which is a popular canoe route to Ochlockonee Bay to the East. From there it was mostly open water to the Suwannee River Entrance with stops at St. Marks and Steinhatchee.

The Suwannee proved navigable 2/3rds of the way up to its source at the Okefenokee Swamp. I had the boat taken out and trailered to St George, GA and put into the St. Marys River there. The St. Marys has its source on the East side of the Okefenokee and flows to the Atlantic. The idea was to ride it down to Fernandina FL. and head North on the East coast.

This proved to be far more arduous than I had anticipated: the St. Marys had very little water in it up around St. George, where I put in, and was laced with snags, stumps, floating branches and whole trees fallen across its width. Clearing a path through this debris would take me anywhere from one-half to two hours, so my progress downstream would often be no more than 4 miles a day. I did run into a large half submerged tree that I couldn't pull the boat over, but as luck would have it, was rescued by a fellow (Alton Conner) who showed up on an ATV and pulled the boat over with it. Alton said he had heard at the gas station in St. George I was going to attempt the St. Marys and he figured he better come check on me. Glad he did, or I might still be stuck there. Alton gave me an old but serviceable arbor saw and I used that to cut my way through on numerous occasions. I finally came a cropper on a huge fallen tree four foot across at its base and too big by far to saw through. Once again, I was rescued by two young guys in a canoe who took an axe to the narrower end of the tree and its branches and sprung me free. These two guys, Joe Nicks and Jonathan Henderson, and Alton Conner were the only human beings I saw my first four days on the St. Marys. Very few people live in the woods along the river, but those that do are both resourceful and generous.

As luck would have it, both the motor and my cell phone died at the same time a day later and I had to resort to drifting, poling, paddling and getting out and pulling for several days 'til I reached Murrays Landing and some semblance of civilization several miles South of Folkston. This is a private little beach along the river owned by FL Murray who is my new best friend because he has gone out of his way to help me find a new motor and a new cell phone. Am waiting on the delivery of the motor before I continue on.


March 1 to March 30, 2011
Yes, I do cook on the boat.


This marker was discovered several miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Although kind of comforting, since there was nothing else visible on the horizon, I have no idea why it was there; it was not on my chart.


Gum trees on the Suwannee AND
One weird duck


Cyprus on the Suwannee


Typical blockage on the St. Marys River. This one took less than 1/2 hour to clear.


The Axe Men


The little beach at Murrays Landing; the sand on this river is finer than tablesalt. Those two patches on the hull are where I got holed again by snags in the river.


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