Groundhog Day on the Redneck Riviera
5th July 2009
The last couple of weeks have been a disaster. On the morning that I loaded my last blog onto the internet we drove from Panama City to Destin (about 50 miles) and blew a check valve on the exhaust vacuum line. It should not have been a show stopper in the scheme of things but once the hot air started backing up, a junction exploded and the escaping gas welded my throttle cable in ‘accelerate’. Once the initial excitement of not being able to slow down had gone through all the subsequent stages of concern, fear, desperation, drastic clutch squealing activity and eventual calm retrospective contemplation, we got a tow to a garage and considered our very short list of options. As Murphy’s Law would have it; it was 5.30 on a Friday night.
The mechanic said that because it was a VW he needed to talk to the dealer which was closed until Monday so we rented a car and hung out in a broken down hotel for the weekend.
I should point out that I am a very driven person. I will go to insane lengths to make sharky things happen and when forced to sit around and let events play themselves out I quickly go stir crazy.
Monday dawned and at 8am we were back at the garage listening to the bad news. The parts needed to be flown in from LA and would take a week. Not good. Not good at all. Didn’t these people realize that we were on a mission?
We bought a $30 Walmart tent and booked into a local campground. The plan was to ignore this setback, swallow the cost of the rental car and repairs to the van and spend the week snorkeling with rays off the local beaches. It didn’t sound too bad. We could campground hop along the gulf and zip back the following Monday to pick up the camper and head north. What we didn’t anticipate was the green goo which hits the northern beaches around this time each year rendering visibility non existent.
Every beach that we approached looked like it was covered in lime flavored Gatorade. It has been a grim week.
We spent the 4th of July frying on a muggy beach east of Port St Joe, getting nailed by sand flies and hoping that the rough surf would abate long enough for us to snorkel out beyond the algae covered shoreline but it was not to be.
At least we would get our van back on Monday and then be able to go out with Eric Hoffmayer over in Mississippi who promised to try to find us some finetooth sharks. But in true groundhog day form, this morning we awoke to another day of green goo, high surf, an email from the garage stating that the parts wouldn’t be there until at least Wednesday and a phone call from Eric saying that a storm front was moving in and the sampling trip was being rescheduled. Time to sit in the campground and suck back another Landshark Lager and shake my head at the shark gods….
Just now, as I was writing this tale of woe, Claire strolled into camp with a smile on her face. She has been talking to the couple three sites down in the big RV. It turns out that they are catch and release shark fishermen and they’re going out tonight looking for threshers. Sounds like adventure has finally struck again.
For the sharks,