Saturday, July 05, 2008

Part I, Day 12: 080620

Our last day in Florida, though all of our collecting happened before we entered Alabama. This was a particularly ruralicious day, with much time spent on dirt roads chasing boat ramp signs.

The drought was particularly apparent today, with some rivers clearly at least 3 or 4 meters below normal levels. Flood and high-water markers were ludicrously high above actual water levels. A polite and strongly-accented older gentleman informed me the drought had been ongoing for two years, after he asked what brought us to “God’s country”. I hadn’t realized The Creator was quite so parochial.

The soft, stinking, cloudy, beetle-infested and amphipod-poor mud of “God’s Country”: the Apalachicola River of the Florida Panhandle.

Later, we visited a nearby private boat ramp, named “Cox’s Landing”, apparently after the ex-U.S.-Marine owner of the adjacent property. We’ve seen turtles, usually small ones, at many places on this trip, but this is the first time we’ve accidentally collected any: I swept up some floating algae chunks, and found two small turtles. They seemed a little perplexed by the experience, but swam well when I pulled them out of the sweep.

Cox’s Landing, where we saw no other people, but did meet several reptiles. No alligators, though.

The day ended with us gambling on finding a decent motel in Alabama, driving North from Florida into South-central Alabama. A long drive on minor state highways ended at Andalusia, a remarkably small and map-devoid town.

Tomorrow we need to find a good map for Alabama, and get some samples West of the putative divide (i.e. Chatahoochee).

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