2011-06-18 30 -86
Sat 18 Jun 2011 in 30,-86:
About 200 feet southwest of Channel Marker 47 in Santa Rosa Sound, near the end of the Hurlburt runway
Liberian was too busy on June 18, so he decided to try for it on June 19.
Around 4:30 in the afternoon, Liberian showed up at Liza Jackson Park in Fort Walton Beach with his pickup truck and his 15-foot poke boat. He plugged the coordinates into his GPS unit (two-and-two-thirds miles to the west), carried the boat over to the beach (missing the $2 fee for using the boat ramp, thank you very much), put on his life jacket, and shoved off. The wind was out of the southwest and the current in the Sound was running west-to-east. The Sound was quite choppy from the wind and the wakes from all the power boats which had been out all day. Boats and jet-skis were zooming past the whole time he was out on the water.
About a mile into it, Liberian saw a fin with a curved edge lift briefly out of the water. It was about two inches from front to back and three inches high. He continued to paddle--not paddling meant losing way--but kept watching the area. A minute later a four- or five-foot porpoise lifted three-quarters of the way out of the water about 30 feet off the port bow. Another minute after that, three porpoises came up for air, all in a line right next to each other. They were most graceful.
Another mile on, Liberian saw the terrain on his right change from a hill to lowland and remembered that the map had shown the mouth of a stream nearby. He figured he had another half a mile to go but pulled out his GPS anyway. To his delight, he discovered that he was about 200 feet from the meet-up point. He paddled over to it, cruised through the GPS location a couple of times, and broke out the usual celebratory Gator-Aid.
Coming back was much easier with the wind and the current favorable. Part way back, a forty-foot powerboat zoomed past a few tens of feet to the port. Liberian had just enough time to realize "That thing is going to make a wake!" and turn his bow to face the oncoming wake when it arrived. The three feet of wave height seriously exceeded his one foot of freeboard.
All in all, it was two hours very well spent.
- Water Geohash
- Day Late and a Dollar Short consolation prize ... admittedly a day late.