I’ve decided to start writing about my notable outdoor excursions on this blog, and posting some of my (and my girlfriend’s) photography work when we bring our camera along!
This past weekend we camped at St. George Island, and ended up combining both my first “beach camping” experience and maiden voyage of our inflatable kayak. I can’t say whether or not this was a smart decision in retrospect, but we made it there and back without any issues (aside from a lot of bug bites, but more on that later).
The morning of, we packed all of our belongings into dry bags, stocked up on about 3L of water, and headed for the coast armed the holy trinity of kombucha, smoothies, and goldfish. Upon arrival, we checked in at the ranger station, chatted for a moment, and then made our way to the boat ramp. After getting the kayak inflated (which I had done previously!) we loaded up the gear and moved for the water.
Unfortunately, we forgot to attach the small plastic fin for the bottom, which later ended up with us spinning side-to-side, compensating from wind blowing across the channel. However, after what felt like a couple of go-arounds on the teacups at Disney, we finally pulled ashore on the other side of the channel. Fortunately for us, our campsite was right on the beach, so we didn’t have to take our gear much further. We got the tent set up, our bedrolls unfurled, and put on our swimsuits for a nice refreshing dip in the ocean!
However, as we lay in the lukewarm water of the channel, we suddenly realized: we weren’t alone. Amidst our hurried efforts to quickly dive in, we hadn’t noticed a sizable amount of Florida’s “biting flies” skimming the water around us. They are slightly larger than a house fly, and somehow find a way to be even more annoying than those. As we tried to share a peaceful swim, we suddenly found ourselves playing whack-a-mole underwater: and we were the moles! However, they eventually left us alone, and we dried off and started to make dinner.
Luckily enough, a fellow camper had stowed some bug spray, and was gracious enough to let us use it, so dinner went off without a hitch (although mosquitos and no-see-ums still managed to get us). However, after a nice meal of rice and Indian bombay potatoes, we settled into the tent as the sun set for a humid but windy evening.
The wind reached about 20mph at some times of the night, with some short but heavy rain as well. The tent held well enough, and we awoke in the morning somewhat well-rested. After an early morning call to kayak back ASAP (as rain was eminent), we made it back to the other side (with the rudder this time!) and headed to Apalachicola for a cup of coffee. We will have to try this again in winter when the bugs aren’t out, but an amazing view and campsite nonetheless!