Charter with Amazing Wakulla kayak tours
The fishing has been great
Capt. Dustin Charters, asked me if I would guide him to some of my best Snook spot's and he wasn't disappointed. This is one of two snook that he caught. It ...
Kayak tours in Crystal River Florida
Operating as usual
The fishing has been great
Capt. Dustin Charters, asked me if I would guide him to some of my best Snook spot's and he wasn't disappointed. This is one of two snook that he caught. It ...
The Snook fishing has been great. It's easy to social distance on Kayaks
The season won't last forever. It's 4-21-20 and I'm at it again.
This Snook season started on March 1st and has been awesome
Had an "Amazing" day on the Chassahowitska river today with some great people from Colorado. It felt good to get out with Amazing Wakulla Kayak tours
I haven't posted much of anything lately, because of family emergency's and lots of manatee tours. recently I have need taking out a couple of fishing kayak tours. I am going to post more of kayak tours. My best friend Casey has been taking out paddle board tours and I have been into that with him also. Here is a picture of one of my fishing Kayak tours recently
I'm still here just very busy with manatee tours
A friend, Tom Crutchfield posted a picture of a place that he used to work 15 years ago. In the picture I could see a van in the back ground and realized I new Cindy that also worked there. I mentioned her in a story that I wrote about, Otters in the Everglades. Here is that story, I can only hope Cindy will see this.
Otters In The Everglades
By: Glenn Wilsey, Sr.
In my past stories you’ve heard me talk about the three different parts of The Florida Everglades: the river of grass, the cypress forest and the mangrove forest. I’ve also devoted a great deal of my time discussing the animals that live in the Everglades. For this month’s story I decided to tell you about the playful otters that I’ve seen in all of the parts of the Everglades.
On television you may see otters swimming and playing in the water. However, otters are not born knowing how to swim. Any animal that lives south of Lake Okeechobee (in the Everglades) has to learn how to swim. Otters are no exception. The mother otter initially has to coax her babies into the water. Once they realize they can swim, Mom can’t keep them out of the water. An otter’s fur is so thick that the water never touches their skin. They can hold their breath for about five minutes and swim about six miles an hour. Swimming under water at six miles an hour, an otter can cover about one quarter of a mile. They can also dive about sixty feet deep on a single breath.
A good friend of mine, Cindy works for Everglades Day Safaris 954-236-8835 or 1-800-472-3069. She tours the glades in a van from the eastern side of South Florida to the West on the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41). Cindy says she’s seen a lot of otters on a section called Turner River road. She’s shown me pictures of many otters that she’s encountered on her tours. In one picture an otter is eating a small turtle. Otters are meat eaters. Anything that is smaller than an otter and made out of meat could become a hapless meal for a hungry otter. I think Cindy enjoys watching the otters more than any other part of her tours.
Otters are usually social animals, living mostly in expanding family units. Cindy tells me that she frequently sees otter families of four to six. Otter families are very affectionate and you can observe them cuddling and showing lots of love for each other. Cindy says she also sees loners and pairs, however, When you see one otter by itself it is most likely an adolescent male that has not yet found a mate. Don’t worry, there are plenty of otters in the cypress forest.
I tour The Everglades on an airboat on a daily basis and finding otters in the open grass of the glades is not easy. As I idle slowly down the channels leading into the open grass, I sometimes spot an otter in the channel. I’ve also spotted otters out on the open grass parries, swimming in the slue ponds or playing in the high grass, by the time I tell the tourists to look at the otters or turn the boat around they are usually gone. They are so quick and elusive. This is because otters are very attuned to their surroundings. They not only hear something coming; they can feel it. Otters use their whiskers like sonar, to “feel” what’s going on around them even when they aren’t looking. They feel vibration in the air and in the water, so they know how far away and how big things are by the degree of vibration the object causes. This is how otters find things in dark murky water.
Besides their excellent sense of hearing, otters can see and smell as well as any other animal. Otters also are very vocal. They talk to each other using growls and high pitched screeching sounds. Some of the sounds they make are for fun but some are for letting other otters know when there is danger lurking nearby.
Recently, I wrote a story about a very special friend, John Jones and his Siberian lynx, Lenin. John, an animal trainer and owner of Wild Florida Productions, Inc. (786-242-1807) has many different animals, but he specializes in training otters. Currently, John has three otters: AJ (two years old) Barkley and Jobe (11 months old). They love John more than anything else in the world. John loves to bring them out in the wild and let them run free.
On one recent trip to the Cypress forest with a film crew, John brought his otters. As we entered the cypress forest, John spotted a family of four and over the next ten miles we had three more otter sightings. We were surprised to see so many wild otters in the same area. Deep in the cypress forest we stopped at a culvert pipe that ran under the road. Crystal clear water was gently moving through the pipe. It was the coldest day of the year, about forty degrees, and the water wasn’t much warmer. John let his otters out and they took off for the water. They couldn’t care less if the water was cold or not. John stepped into the water with his otters and they explored the river. The rest of the team got into the water with their camera equipment as the otters started playing, streaking by the cameras. The camera crew was amazed at how fast otters could swim. Looking around, John noticed that tourists were stopping to watch them play. The tourists were amazed to see the otters catching fish and playing with anything they could get their paws on. AJ, Barkley and Jobe love to go on road trips with John and they didn’t want to leave, but it was so cold for us humans that no one could take anymore. So, John called the otters back to the van and we headed for home.
If you want to see wild otters, you have a reasonable chance of seeing them along the side of any, out-of-the way road through the cypress forest.
On behalf of the Airboat Animals of Florida web site staff and myself: Thankyou all for checking out our award winning web site. REMEMBER, NATURE RULES!!! Glenn W. Wilsey Sr. GATORMAN
*This story or any part of it can not be used or reproduced with out written permission of the author!
I want to “Thank” my loyal fans that read my stories. I know they are far and few now days. I am working on some new stories and hope to have one soon at aaof.us, "Stories of an Airboat Guide"
People from around the world do stumble upon my stories, quite by accident, by typing in words like, Alligator, Otter, Panther, Snake, Manatee, Everglades and many more subjects of nature.
I also receive a lot of e-mails and some catch my interest and I have to share them. I just revived this one and "had" to share it.
I'm not sure how old your article regarding "Alligator Attacks" are, but I just came across it and found it intriguing. Like you, I'm a Florida Native. Like you, I grew up around water and alligators. We had a canal behind our house that a large bull alligator called home. He measured at 13 ft at the time of his death. He was found at the base of the canal. While he was alive, we affectionately gave him the nickname "King." We never tried to feed King or approach him, we just watched him. He boldly defended his territory against young males who foolishly thought they could move in on his turf. In mating season, we loved to go out there and watch him perform his dance among the harem of women. I recall one time where I walked towards the water and King [though a fair distance away} bellowed a warning. I stopped dead in my tracks and continued his mating ritual. That was the most 'aggressive' he would ever be. He never approached us and we never fed him or harassed him. We just let him be wild while we watched. I found that his demeanor was considerably calmer than the 4-7 foot gators that would occasionally get into the surrounding ponds. However, most of those were just 'spunky' not aggressive.
I have come across a 5 foot gator who had lost its fear of people and that was an unsettling feeling. I was pulling up a fish and the gator proceeded to steal the fish from my hook, and disappear. Later, I went out to see that people were feeding the gator bread, which did eventually result in it being killed. That was the only time I had ever experienced an 'aggressive alligator' and it honestly wasn't the gator's fault.
Easily, my favorite memory was a time when I was walking down the canal and I heard the sound of babies. I stopped and looked down. There they were. Probably about 15 of them. Their mother was a 5 foot female and she was about 3 feet away from me. I marveled as the babies climbed over my feet, though I continued to keep an eye on their mother. I never made any attempt to bend down or threaten her babies, so she was comfortable sharing this gift with me. The moment was only interrupted by King who had sneaked in too close for the mother's comfort and was chased off. It was entertaining to the old monarch scurry off like that. The female returned to me and her babies. I moved off quietly and saw her several times after that, but will never forget that moment. I saw babies in the wild before and after that moment, but that will forever be magic to me. She allowed me to share in a moment that most people will never be able to experience. I thank her for that.
In closing, I have been in the water with alligators. Unlike you, I don't usually stay in the water, but the time I have spent with them has not ended in an attack. At most, they ended in curiosity. There are several warning signs before an attack.It's the people who don't recognize that behavior who get attacked. I love gators. I love living in Florida. I've been able to live peacefully here among the alligators, the venomous snakes, the black widows, and the tourists without incident. I am smart around the water--especially with my small dog and my niece. That said, I am trying to open her up to the marvel of Florida and how much beauty its nature holds.
I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your article because most articles are out to demonize alligators and turn them into man-eating machines. Stories like yours and mine negate that theory, so I wanted to share my experiences with you.
Again, I have no way of knowing of how old this page is or if this will reach you, but I wanted to send this anyway.
Thank you for speaking the truth about these incredible animals.
Thanks so much for your very kind words. Growing up in Florida has been a fun filled life, with the danger of "some" of the cool animals here. My parents taught me about the animals that I would encounter along the way. They also wanted me to learn to love and respect nature. The # 1 thing they wanted me to learn, is that we are not that much different than our wild friends and we can learn a lot from them by just getting close and watching. I remember "most", my Mom telling me that the "Great Breath Maker" put the "Smart" animal friends on earth first and then put the dumbest animal on earth last. She added that he gave the dumb animal intelligence, so we could learn from the animals that have been on earth for thousands of years. I grew up in South Florida and moved into the everglades when I was about 9 years old. At a very young age, I listen to the crazy stories of alligators and snakes. I found myself wondering where they saw all of this and realized, very fast, that these people were just trying to be the "cool" story teller. I write my web column to teach people the truth. You said that you were not sure when I wrote the story that you read. I have over 100 stories about the everglades and the animals that live there. If you go to my web site and click into "Stories of an airboat Guide" then scroll down to the bottom of the story that I have posted, you will see "Gatormans past stories" There you can go, year by year and month by month and read whatever story that catches your curiosity. Some of my stories will sound a lot like yours. Again Thanks so much!!!
P.S. may I share your awesome email on my face book page and my face book company page?
You can find my web column at www.aaof.us.
aaof.us Conservation and Protection of the Everglades with all the fun things to do outdoors!
A day with peter Altof https://youtu.be/xU_Z-v3jZXs
in Miami/ USA
I'm posting this story because of the everglades Greenway Project. It's just a cool word that means a new road across the everglades, that will cost tax payers $700,000 dollers for every 3 miles and the Greenway will be 80 miles long.
By: Glenn Wilsey, Sr.
In my story last month I explained that the Kissimmee River is oxymoronic. This month I am going to try to explain why The Everglades (as the Army Corps of Engineers envisions it) is also an oxymoron.
If you’ve been following my stories for the last two years you already know that The Everglades is a long and wide river that flows from the north to the south. The water moves from the north to the south, at the very slow rate of about 1 to 2 miles every 24 hours. Before The Army Corps of Engineers came along the glades were doing just fine. The water levels reach their high point of the year in January and their lowest point in May. To add to the high and low part of the year, we also have El Nino to adding to our water tables. When El Nino hits South Florida hard, the higher than normal water levels would flood the coastal areas and the people that moved to South Florida would complain. The Army Corps of Engineers stepped in and tried to stop any flooding in the future by creating canals and levees to redirect the natural direction of the water flow. Well folks, they did a great job. The folks in the cities on the coast are high and dry. Unfortunately, it was a bad thing for The Everglades. The Army Corps of Engineers dug their canals and built their levees, keeping the water from the river of grass from flowing into the suburbs on the East Coast. Building levees in the glades blocked off the water flow and dammed up the river of grass. They dammed up large areas of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties calling these dammed up areas water conservation areas. We all know water conservation is supposed to be a good thing, so no one asked questions.
Well, a water conservation area is a reservoir! Is The Everglades, a river or a reservoir? The Army Corps of Engineers has made it both. The only natural part of the glades that is left is the area south of The Tamiami Trail. All of the areas north of the trail are water conservation areas. This covers a large area of land. At Tamiami Trail the river is about 25 miles wide. North of Alligator Alley (I-75) the river is about 50 miles wide. The river has been split down the middle. From the center of the river to the west is, water conservation area 3-A (reservoir 3-A) and it spans from Tamiami Trail north to the sugar plantations of Palm Beach County with no obstructions. On its eastern edge, The Everglades is sectioned off into four reservoirs. These reservoirs are named 3-B, 2-A, 2-B and The Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (Loxahatchee reservoir).
The next venture for The Army Corps of Engineers and their scientists is an attempt to correct their mistakes of the past by building a ten mile long bridge from the eastern edge of the glades, over Tamiami Trail to the west. Then knock out some of the levees to the north and take out Tamiami Trail to let the water flow (as they say) naturally. Something is terribly wrong with this idea. The trail was completed in the late 30s and the water has never even come close to flowing over the road and now the corps of engineers says that the road is blocking the water flow. This is a lie. The problem is, the road is in the way of their money making plan, the bridge.
We know that there is something wrong with their plan because, the river of grass is 25 miles wide and the bridge will only be 10 miles long. If they wanted to return the water to its natural flow, the bridge would have to be 25 miles long. The army corps of miss-engineers has already said they want to raise the water levels in the east everglades to 4 to 6 feet and this will mean the death of The Everglades.
If the water level were raised to 4 feet or more, the animals would have to leave the area because they walk and forage for food and cannot eat and swim at the same time. All of the plant life would also die because they can not live under water. The Everglades re-creates itself annually by processing fertilizers and minerals during the dry season. This is accomplished through the natural processes of fire and decomposition of plants and animals including fish that die when the water levels drop during the dry season creating the rich sediment that feeds the plant life that returns every year during the rainy season. With water levels kept at 4 feet or more all the time, the glades cannot re-create itself. It will become the equivalent of a lake 4 feet deep. High water will result in the death of Everglades National Park and of The Florida Bay as well as our reefs in the Atlantic Ocean and The Gulf of Mexico. All of which rely on the nutrient rich sediment which can only be created by a natural dry and wet season cycle Because The Everglades is a river that flows southward, everything south of us will starve to death without the ability to create fertilizers or minerals.
The Everglades is not all that complex; we just have too many scientists trying to fill their bank accounts with federal tax money.
The Everglades is drowning in her own tears! We the people will not hear the truth until it is too late to do anything to stop The Army Corps of Engineers and their scientists from killing our river of grass, The Everglades!
Well, I hope you understand The Everglades’ oxymoronic situation a little bit better. It is so hard to explain the glades in one short sentence. That’s why I have to write about it.
THANKS so much for visiting our award winning web site this month and I hope to see you next month!
If you are a student or a teacher who thinks my stories or any part of them might help you with any school projects, send me an e-mail explaining how you want to use the stories and I will send you written permission to use them. The only payment I want is for you to e-mail me and tell me what grade or award you received or how your students used and hopefully enjoyed the stories.
THANK YOU !!!!!!
Mr. Glenn W. Wilsey Sr. "GATORMAN"
*This story or any part of it can not be used or reproduced with out written permission of the author!
Stories of a Airboat Guide
History and the Etiquette of the Adventure
By: Glenn Wilsey, Sr.
In my last story I made reviewed the rules of engagement when it comes to interacting with manatees. Now, I would like to give some history about manatees. Later, I will discuss some additional points on interacting with the manatees.
Manatees have always been a food source for humans.15,000 years ago native Americans also inhabited the southern parts of North America. They hunted the animals of the area and made use of every part of the animal, including the skin, meat, bones and teeth. 400 years ago. The human population was not large enough to overtake the amount of animals in the ecosystem.
In one of my past stories (www.aaof.us/tour11.htm) I talked about the population explosion after the tribes of North America introduced corn to the rest of the world. When corn was sent to Europe and was fed to the animals, the animals grew bigger and faster. More food made the population of Europe explode. As the population of Europe grew, space for humans grew small. North America seems to be the place to come and prosper.
The Europeans were careless and would kill an animal just for the meat or hide of an animal, discarding anything left over. The American bison was the best example of that. There were times when thousands of bison were found dead on the prairie and the only thing taken was hide, hooves or horns.
In the 1400-1500s, there were forty to sixty million mid-western bison. In the late 1800s, the U.S. Government wanted to wipe out the bison, saying that if the bison were gone, the Native Americans would be forced to live on reservations.
Work on the first transcontinental railroad began after President Abraham Lincoln approved the Pacific Railway Act of 1862, a landmark law that authorized the federal government to financially back the construction of a transcontinental railroad. The people who worked on building the railroad were fed bison as the animal was a good food source, and there were plenty of them. The train rides across the west were long and boring. Sometimes the people would shoot the bison they passed along the way for fun.
The bison would have been the perfect animal to farm for food. Humans killed off the bison population and in the next fifty to sixty years the human population grew fast. With help from the American Bison Society and ranchers, the American bison is no longer an endangered species.
The Great Depression occurred and was an economic slump in North America, Europe, and other industrialized areas of the world that began in 1929 and lasted until about 1939. It was the longest and most severe depression ever experienced by the industrialized western world. People needed to eat and the manatees were an easy target. By the time World War II ended, the manatees were on the brink of extinction. The manatee count was less than six-hundred. In 1950 there was an official count and there were less than six-hundred manatees in the U.S. After the war, it was thought that the Manatee population would grow by leaps and bounds. For the next twenty-five years, the birth rate was great, but the survival rate was not. The reason? Speedboats. Manatees were being hit at high speeds, causing blunt force trauma that caused internal injuries, and obtaining deep flesh wounds from the propellers.
In 1972, laws under the Marine Protection Act were put into place to protect the manatees. Jacque Cousteau, the author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water, was one of the leaders that helped pass the laws that saved the manatee from extinction.
The No.1 rule that saved the manatee was the placement of manatee zones. A large square sign stating "MANATEE ZONE" depicts the beginning of a zone. The sign indicates how fast you can continue; idle, slow or no wake. These signs are placed where the water in the channel is shallow, where the channel is narrow or where manatees congregate in the winter months.
It has been proven that the Marine Protection Act is what saved the manatee. By World War II the manatee population was around six-hundred. Twenty-five years later in there were less than seven-hundred manatees and the protection laws were enacted. Now, forty-five years later, there are over six-thousand manatees. There is event talk about taking them off the endangered species list. This proves that when humans act responsible, species can be saved.
Citrus County, Florida is the only place that humans are given the privilege of interacting with wild manatees. With this privilege comes a lot of responsibility and many rules as well.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I refuse to believe that our Maker
(The great breath-maker) doesn’t see the human animal any different than any other animal that he put on earth. I believe that humans should have the right to hang out with and interact with any animal on earth that wants to hang out with the human animal anytime they want to.
The rules are set by city, state and the federal government. In some cases, they can update the rules. I will follow their rules as they set or update them. There are a lot of different entities out there that think everyone should go by their rules. We all have an opinion on how to interact with manatees. It’s not hard to figure out. If you don’t want it done to you then don’t do it to the manatee. Law enforcement is out there to prosecute those who do not follow the rules.
As a captain with a manatee-adventure company, I see the best in this business and the worst. The only solution that I can offer, is to watch the best and copy what they do. Do the right thing and you can’t go wrong. I let everyone know that I have the authority to send anyone back to the boat and end their tour. I set easy-to-understand rules before we even leave the dock. Thankfully, I have never had to end a tour for anyone. Once in a while I will have to send people back to the ladder on the boat, and talk with them privately and re-view the rules. Once we agree on the rules again, then we go back to interact with the manatee.
There are people in the business that say how do we stop people from, diving on sleeping or eating manatees, or chasing, poking, prodding, grabbing, hovering over or interfering with the direction that the manatee wants to move. The answer is easy - get in the water and be sure all rules are being followed.
As a captain/tour guide, I am not afraid to politely tell the tourists what to do and not do. We as captain/ tour guides can’t expect everyone to remember all of the rules. Everyone is excited to see manatees and it’s easy to make mistakes. Some ask how we control what tourists do when they disappear way back in the springs: again, I say - "get in the water."
If I have to take a chance of getting someone upset by restating the rules or even sending them back to the boat, so be it. I tell everyone that the manatee’s safety is my No. 1 concern and the people are my No. 1 concern. Some say, "how can you have 2 No. 1 concerns?" That’s easy I don’t see any difference between the human animal and any other animal on earth.
I am a very strict tour guide but I’m also very fair. I want the visiting "animals" to have fun and the local animals to have fun.
YES - fun - when I go on vacation I go to have fun. I don’t go to hear someone play scientist or have their political views pushed on me. I find that if people are having fun while learning, they remember so much more. When I have fun with the tourists and teach them at the same time, then I know I have made a difference in their lives.
When it comes to equipment, it is necessary for those that experience the adventure of swimming with the manatees to have a wet suit, fins, mask and snorkel. The wet suit is important for warmth, flotation and it keeps out any mud or floating debris as well. The mask and snorkel is needed for clear vision because if you can’t look in the water and see a manatee, you may kick, poke or bunch a manatee while venturing into the water.
My mantra as a captain: "If you don’t want it done to you, then don’t do it to the wild life."
I finish with this thought: Please go out and have fun with the other animals on our wonderful earth. Learn about them first and make good decisions and be safe at all times.
I want to Thank, my friend Patti Boccassini, of The Harrisburg Magazine for doing the "Edit" on this story. My editor Alan Coral has been standing by his Father’s side in a time of family need.
Patti has been on a manatee tour with me in the past and it is obvious that she can see my love for manatees and feel my passion for wildlife.
Capt. Glenn, Aka - GATORMAN
My stories may not be reused in any way without my permission. If you are a teacher or a student and you need my story or any part of it to help you with a class or a better grade, just e-mail me ([email protected]) and I will gladly give you permission to use the story. Other requests will be considered on a case by case basis.
Here is the Manatee Manors Paddle video for those who come to Crystal River to Kayak on their own. http://youtu.be/EnD9u85nUlQ
Between November and April, Kings Bay is home to the largest aggregation of manatees in a natural environment in the world. To protect manatees from harm, ha...
WHAT IS QUICKSAND?
By: Glenn Wilsey, Sr.
While on an airboat tour, I like to stop the boat out in the middle of nowhere and just talk about the everglades. When I stop the boat for my little impromptu class, I ask everyone to join me for a walk in the glades. While standing in the knee deep water and ankle deep mud, I am often asked "Hey GATORMAN" if we had to walk back, what would our chances of making it back alive be? What they really want to know is; "what would be the biggest threat to our making it back to our car alive, alligators, snakes, bears, panthers or QUICKSAND?" The answer might surprise you.
When asked that question I start out with a story something like this.
"Well folks, if our airboat runs out of gas and we have to walk back you have to be careful; because, if the alligators don’t get you the "QUICKSAND" will. Then I laugh and tell them that I’m just kidding.
There isn’t any quicksand in The Everglades. At least not the way it is portrayed in the movies. Quicksand is basically just a slurry of very soft and very wet sand or mud. It can suck the shoes off your feet and you can really get stuck in it if you’re not careful but as far as drowning in quicksand, not likely.
I know on TV you see someone desperately trying to get out of a swamp. While slogging through the swamp, the person stops to rest and suddenly they start sinking and the more they struggle the more they sink. Before you know it, they’ve sunk all the way to their shoulders. Then their head starts to sink under the muck and they start blowing bubbles and then you see nothing but their fingers wiggling as they disappear under the "quicksand"
only to be rescued in the nick of time by someone with a jungle vine or a tree branch or something to pull them out. Don’t get me wrong, I love those movies because they are cool, but they are not true. Like I said, there is no "quicksand" in The Everglades, the mud does get deep, but that only makes it hard to walk.
Growing up in The Everglades, I was told some of the quicksand stories and thought they were true. Now, I have walked through every part of The Everglades, including the river of grass, the cypress swamps, and the salt-water conversion zone, and so I know better. One day when Gatorman was a boy, (and no, that is not when dinosaurs ruled the Earth) some friends and I were walking back from a small pine forest off of Loop Road and decided to take a shortcut. We walked across an open prairie of grass that led into a cypress strand. The water in the cypress strands tends to be a little deep at times and we were ready for that. However, in one spot, we could feel that the bottom was soft and as we continued forward, it got softer. At one point, we were up to our chests in one foot of water on top of waist deep, soft, sucking mud. The kind that would pull our shoes off if we’d been wearing any. We were all not quite half joking, telling each other to watch out for the quicksand. It was getting a little serious. At one point as I was walking (more like trudging through, using all of my strength for each step) through waist deep mud, I reached a point where I couldn’t feel any bottom and that made me a little nervous. If only we had thought to swim through the mud instead of trying to walk through it. It would have been so much easier. We continued on and before we knew it we were out of the deep stuff and into the knee-deep mud then back into the ankle deep mud and finally back on high and dry ground. When we got back home we told my friend’s Grand Dad about our experience and asked him if he could tell us any stories about people he new that never came back because the quicksand got them. He said he’d never known of anyone ever actually being pulled under and drowning in quicksand. He told us that the quicksand stories were not true and were made up to make the story more interesting.
As kids, My friends and I used to camp on the levee across from a place that has been gone for many years now, Betty and Johnny’s Bar and Grill on The Tamiami Trail, 3 miles east of Krome Avenue. One night, an old man told us to be careful because there was quicksand just off the levee to the north of Betty and Johnny’s. We asked him exactly where the quicksand was supposed to be and he told us. At that time, it was winter (the dry season) and water levels were dropping, exposing mud-flats everywhere. The next day we went looking for the quicksand but all we found was a large area of open mud flats. Could there really be quicksand out there? We were a little afraid, but we were curious too. We wanted to find out more about that area the old man told us about.
My friend Greg and I tied ropes to our waists and had other friends hold on to those ropes to make sure we didn’t get pulled under. We walked into the mud and sank up to our rib cages. We never felt bottom but we never got the feeling that we were being pulled under. We found out, that if we leaned forward and pulled ourselves forward with our hands in the mud, we could float in the mud and it was just like swimming only it took a lot longer to get anywhere. Years later I found out the reason why you and I can’t be pulled all the way under the quicksand. People float. You see, quicksand is about 80% water and people are about 80% water, so we can sink about chest deep in quicksand before we become neutrally buoyant which means you’re just not going to sink any further. You would literally have to force your way under the quicksand to drown in it. People can die in a quicksand hole but most people who die in quicksand die in 3 feet of quicksand or less and not by drowning! People die in quicksand due to exposure, starvation or dehydration after getting stuck. In a wet, shallow, quicksand pit, if you step in the quicksand it can pack around your feet and hold you in one place so that you are stuck and can’t get out without help. If you are stuck in quicksand for a long time you could die from exposure if the weather were too hot or too cold or you might die of starvation or dehydration if you didn’t have food or drinkable water. If you are stuck waist deep in quicksand or "quagmire" (quagmire is deep mud) you could die from constriction. If you are in quicksand or mud at waist deep, the pressure could stop blood flow to your lower extremities and that could kill you.
That’s why most people die from quicksand, not drowning.
So, when you hear someone telling a cool quicksand story, you now know the truth about it. Don’t interrupt the person telling the story to tell them they are wrong because you will mess up the story and some of them are good stories. Just file that story in your brain in the fiction section next to the stories about alligators that attack and eat people.
I hope that I have cleared up some of the mystery and the worry over quicksand for you. Remember, quicksand is really just soft mud and you can float in it and swim out of it if you get stuck.
Thanks so much for coming to read my story. I know a lot of you look forward to Gatorman’s stories and You tell me how disappointed you are when I don’t write a new story for a while. Well, I just wanted to let you all know that while I had some time off I was thinking of some new ideas for stories for this new year and I hope to have another story real soon, so check in next month.
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