The Airboat Adventure
Complete With Pictures
The Everglades. Lincoln Vail. Crime fighter. Protector of the Glades. Hero.
But what I remember most about the television series was Lincoln Vail’s patrol vehicle: An Airboat.
The show aired in the 1960’s. I remember thinking how much fun it would be to drive an airboat. Or at least ride in one like Ron Howard’s little brother, Clint, did a few years later in the opening shots of Gentle Ben.
Gliding atop the water with the wind blowing your hair looked like the best water ride ever. But I never did it.
Until this past week, that is.
Airboats are prevalent on our lake. It’s a big lake so it isn’t like they overrun us, but often, on the weekends, we hear them buzzing by, skirting our cove and gliding over the tall grassy areas.
Lou, my sister-in-law, is always ready for an adventure. So when her niece came to town, they decided to put an airboat ride on the calendar and invited me to join them. We made our reservations with a man at The Cove for a Monday.
(Yes, you may remember The Cove restaurant from my post in June I called “The Cool Kids.” If not, you can CLICK HERE to read it.)
There were seven passengers and our captain/tour guide, Derek. There were very few instructions. No lifejackets. No spiel about water safety. Everyone boarded, ready for the adventure.
We donned the noise reduction earphones and were soon on our way. Derek steered the boat out of the cove on onto our lake. Well, sort of. We didn’t need to hit the deep water. We skimmed across the grassy area of the cove and darted into channels carved in the shallow shelf of the lake. Channels carved by airboats.
It was a hot day, so the wind was wonderful. I was anxious to take pictures. There were numerous birds, huge stands of cypress trees, and tons of lily pads blooming. We twisted and turned through the water and grass. I was completely turned around when Lou asked if we were still on our lake. I shrugged an “I don’t know,” but Derek confirmed it was indeed our lake. Soon we were flying by our own little cove. I recognized the houses and trees Mike and I know as our neighborhood.
It was exhilarating.
We slowed down to cross into another lake via a “no wake” zone. This lake, smaller and much more shallow than Lake Henderson was riddled with channels ideal for airboats. Eventually, we came to a stop in a space shaded by huge trees. It was an opportunity to take pictures, ask questions, and rest.
After passing under the bridge once more we were soon speeding along yet another route. This route led us back to our dock at The Cove. We slowed as we pulled up to the water’s edge.
The airboat ride was over.
Still, Mike and I wake up each morning to a cool breeze off the lake. We watch the birds and fish around the dock. The sun reflects off the surface of the water as if it were a watery field salted with diamonds.
The airboat adventure may be over but the lake adventure lives on.
And one last picture...what do you think might be there in the water? A correct guess gets kudos from me!