Galavanting to Gullivan

Jan 11

While we were all excited to go to White Horse Key, many of us were dreading the paddle. We had endured around 8 or 10 miles on the Turner River the day before, and were about to go through about 12 more. We got up around 7, had our traditional oatmeal breakfast at 8, and were out of Trails Lake by 9:15. We arrived at the Collier-Seminole State Park around 9:45, and we set out on our kayaks and canoes at 10:30.
The first several miles of our paddle went relatively smoothly; we steered through calm waters, with dense mangrove forests on either side of us. We stopped at a muddy sandbar/oyster bar to have a lunch of muenster cheese sandwiches, hand delivered by Miette, who had stepped into the water, not realizing how deep she would sink into the mud. She decided that, since she was already in the water, she might as well save us the mess and bring us all food herself (like a true Quaker). We finished off our lunch with hot, melty Clif bars, and continued on our paddle.
Around this time, two of our three canoes, steered by Josh, Nathen, Ben, and Hannah, were joined in holy matrimony. They became one being, a single vessel, by holding a tarp up to the wind and making the best damn sail boat any of us had ever seen. While many of us were doubtful, the wind filled their sails (tarp, rather), and they zoomed away, taking the lead of our pack of boats with very little effort, while we watched with excitement and chagrin.
As we left the river and entered the bay, we were surprised by a majestic pod of dolphins, either 2 or 3 of them. They were hunting fish, and breached the surface in the process, giving us a beautiful show. However, as we waved fair well to the dolphins and steered further into the bay, the waters and strong winds became increasingly perilous. Our vessels were being thrown around by the choppy waves like a shoe in a washing machine; constantly rocking back and forth, being turned off course, and filling with salty, salty water.
Against all odds, 13 soggy Earlhamites arrived at an island, although not the one we intended to camp at. We ended our paddle at Gullivan Key, the island immediately north of White Horse Key. We pulled our boats up onto the shore, set up our tents, and Chris made gourmet quesadillas as the sun set beyond the waves. We ate dinner and sat around a beach campfire, and went to sleep shortly after.

Jan 12

We woke to the sound of gentle waves crashing against the sand. While we ate our breakfast of champions (oatmeal, obviously), Chris deemed that it would be a free day to do what we wanted. We all explored in one way or another; while some of us set out to paddle the bay in kayaks, others stayed behind and walked the circumference of the island, looking in the tidal pools at sea shells and marine life. We saw hermit and horse shoe crabs, comb jellies, mollusks and snails, a giant sting ray, ospreys, reddish egrets, brown and American white pelicans, sanderlings, american oyster catchers, ruddy turnstones, anemones, and a fisherman who sold us mullet (the fish, not the haircut) for about a dollar a pound.
After buying about 16 pounds of fish, Chris cooked it up for our lunch (as well as dinner, since there was so much left over), and many of us either ate it on its own, or on bagel sandwiches. Shortly following lunch, most of us got back in the water to keep exploring the tidal pools, but some of us stayed behind and took naps on the sand or in hammocks. As the sun was going down, we finished off our fish in an early dinner, with Nathan "Fish Champ" Brophy leading us to victory, by eating approximately 3 or 4 fish fillets (about 2 fishes worth). We made smores around a campfire, and turned in for the night around 9 or 10.

Jan 13

While we had planned to set for another early morning (estimated leaving time was 8 am), we woke up to rain on our tents and hammocks around 7 am. We ate dry bagels for a quick breakfast, deconstructed camp in the rain, and surprisingly only had about a 30 minute delay, getting back on the water by 8:30.

The water in the bay as we were leaving the island was very calm, much different from two days prior. We paddled through the bay back into the mangroves with much more ease than before, and much less water in our boats. We continued through the beautiful mangroves, where the water stayed pretty calm and still. We made it back into the Collier-Seminole State Park around 12:30, and promptly drove to Pollo Tropical, for a much needed and very delicious lunch.
Following lunch, we retreated to Trails Lake, where we reconstructed camp and took the rest of the afternoon for ourselves. Most of us showered and changed clothes, and did laundry (since we were covered in a layer of salt and sand). We opted for hot dogs and veggie dogs for dinner, eaten around yet another campfire. We finished eating, hung out around the fire to avoid the mosquitos as much as possible, and went to bed around 10.

  • Sophia Gilkey and Nathan Brophy, first years
Posted on January 17, 2022 11:12 PM by crsmithant crsmithant


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