The Gull Reef Club

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9/17/2019 · 2:03 am· Trouble · Good Bye Blue Sky
sometimes waiting and watching is all you can do. The weather has been oscillating quite a bit this... | Read More

9/1/2019 · 1:30 pm· Jaime · Good Bye Blue Sky
It's summer. We don't adventure much in the summer. It's too hot & buggy. We hibernate and wait... | Read More

9/1/2019 · 2:25 am· Trouble · Good Bye Blue Sky
So how goes the summer of adventure? Inquiring minds want to know.... | Read More

6/6/2018 · 12:46 am· Michael (Net2007) · My friend, my friend, (s)he’s got a knife
I've often felt this way, it's strange and divisive times in many ways. As far as this goes, I... | Read More

7/12/2017 · 4:22 pm· Trouble · Half of Us Are Wrong or in the Alternative, Half of Us Are Right
I've been following the saga and cataloging links of interest that contain more than mere rhetoric.... | Read More


Officially Southern

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:17 pm

Yeah, it’s been way too long since I’ve blogged. Just here to report that we are officially southerners now – yesterday, we purchased a truck.


Dorian in Savannah

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:17 pm

Unlike the destruction that Dorian laid on the Bahamas, Savannah made it through unscathed. We ended up having an exceptionally long Labor Day weekend. As with the last two hurricanes that had mandatory evacuation orders, Matthew and Irma, we opted to stay. We are quite equipped to handle most storms. This time around we even got a generator, but of course, didn’t have to use it. We never lost power or internet. It was less of a storm that either Matthew or Irma. Really, it was less of a storm than the one that hit us in May.

Most memorable take-aways from Dorian:
-People seem nicer and more patient. Or maybe I am. Maybe both.
-We got a chance to visit with neighbors we don’t see much.
-Off work from Saturday, August 31 through Thursday, September 5 (building was closed).
-Had dinner on the front porch the night Dorian came through, Wednesday, September 4.
-Porn in the storm. Does this need a little explanation? Yeah, probably. Mike and I were sitting on the front porch for much of the actual storm. It never really rained hard, but it was steady most of the day. During the later part of the afternoon, some guy rides up on an old bike and offers to sell us cds or movies. Mike lets him know we’re not interested. He then offers us xxx rated movies. Again not interested, but wished him luck in his rain-drenched sales endeavors. Only in Savannah.

That’s really about it. There are a few more storms out in the Atlantic. The hurricane season is by no means over. We’ll keep watching…and in the meantime, eating all the snacks we bought.


Good Bye Blue Sky

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:18 pm

Savannah is getting tropical again, and yesterday we were plunged head-on into it. We pretty much have two seasons here – tropical and not tropical. Our seasons are not defined by temperature like places up north (i.e., it’s usually either warm or hot here), it’s defined by whether we will be subject to pop up thunderstorms or not.

Yesterday started as a gorgeous day – bright and sunny, mid 80s, low breeze, only 30% chance of storms for the afternoon. Looked like a great forecast for boating and fishing. We haven’t been on the boat since January and we really wanted to get out. Mike has done a ton of work to/for the boat in the off-time and we were looking forward to trying it all out. He even got us some mudminnows so we’d have good, live bait.

Our day was mostly spent fishing out the low tide on the tributaries around the St. Augustine Creek (the one between the Wilmington & Bull Rivers; apparently, there are two – no, Savannah, not confusing at all). As usual, I didn’t catch anything but had my bait stolen a ton. Mike was hitting a lot, but not much in the way of keepers. The wildlife was abundant – birds of all sorts all around and more turtles than I’ve ever seen on any local creeks. Lovely is the perfect word for this part of the day.

As the afternoon wore on, we noticed dark clouds building to our north, but they appeared to be heading toward the western mainland and wouldn’t touch us. We continued down our little tributary and continued to fish it as the tide went out. As the water level lowered, clouds began to build. In the north and the west, we could see that it was raining, but it was still sunny over us. Not wanting to be stuck in a small creek during a negative low tide, we opted to head west to more familiar waters, and yes, toward the darker clouds. It was a nice ride back, but as the St. Augustine merged with the Wilmington, we were plunged into much, much colder temps. I’m not sure what the air temperature was but I noticed the water temp had dropped from 81 to 75. Woah.

It still wasn’t raining, though. In fact, it really wasn’t windy – at least no low-level winds. Clearly the clouds were screaming by at a quick speed, but they weren’t dropping any rain until they moved past. We headed back down the Wilmington thinking we’d fish one of its feeder creeks as the tide turned. We are familiar with these waters and knew we could safely be there even in a negative low tide. We fished one part of the creek a bit without much luck and then moved along, trying to gauge that the tide had turned and how much of it had come back up. As we moved along, it started to drizzle. We have waited out light rains before and hoped we could here, but before we could make that call, the bottom dropped out and it began to pour. It was cartoonish how hard the rain fell.

We headed toward the bridge hoping to seek shelter underneath. This was not to be. A new bridge is being constructed next to the hold one and its supports were blocking our path. We were still in the downpour and had to get out. Obviously, our best, and really only, bet was to try to make it back to the boat ramp and go home. Getting to the ramp would not be an easy task. The ramp we use is usually not accessible during low tide. It was nearly 90 minutes past low tide so we headed in hoping not to get stuck. The water was churning, but because the winds remained surprisingly low there wasn’t much surge. After what felt like a wet eternity, we made it to the basin where the ramp is located. There was water, we might make it. The depth finder kept plunging, 3 feet, 2 feet, 1.6…and then just dashes. We kicked up some mud, but were still going. Mike put us in shallow water mode and somehow rode on in all the way to the ramp.

I can’t give enough credit to Mike here for his exceptional navigation through this. Even more to him because he had the foresight last year to go to the ramp during a super negative low tide, on a much sunnier day, to observe where the water runs. We learned there isn’t much, but there is a tiny channel that runs from the ramp, out the basin and into the River. This knowledge saved us from getting stuck in the muddy basin, during the pouring rain, only a few hundred feet from the ramp. We followed where we knew the channel to be, despite not being able to see very far and having to go slow. We made it.

It continued to pour for another 15-20 minutes. Mike let me shelter in the car while he waited with the boat, bailing water. Grateful isn’t even close to how I feel, but I don’t have a better word. The rain eventually slowed and we were able to retrieve the boat from the water. Almost everything was wet, but the boat wasn’t stuck or sunk, so it’s a victory. We made the slow, steamy ride home, and were rewarded with a fresh fish dinner. We later learned that a tornado had come through about two and a half miles south of where we were. Some reports of waterspouts too. Never did hear any warning sirens – because they were down for maintenance (!!!).

Just another reminder that the sea doesn’t care. You may start out with a beautiful day but it can turn on you in a moment, without any notice. All you can do is hope your emergency plans are executable and then execute.

I can’t wait to get back on the water again.


Duty Called But Duty Didn’t Need Me

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:20 pm

I reported for jury duty this morning promptly at 8:30a. After sitting in the jury room until about 9a, I, along with about 10 other jurors, were called to a back room. If I was like most citizens, this probably would have freaked me out, thinking I did something wrong. Having done this before, and being comfortable navigating courthouses, I knew I was about to be released early. Indeed, I was correct. Apparently we’re all good citizens here in this county, and just about everyone who was called actually showed up. There were more jurors than needed. Those of us called to the back room were on the high end of numbers, and therefore excused.

Oh well, maybe another day…many years from now, preferably.


Duty Calls

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:00 pm

For the 4th time in my 17+ years of living here, I’ve again been chosen to join the Justice Squadron…at the Municipal Fortress of Vengeance. If my records are correct, I’ve been summonsed to jury duty a total of four times, including this one. Three of the four times were in April (2005 and 2016), the other in February (2014). I’ve never made it past voir dire. I suspect I’m not a very desirable juror. If anything of note happens, I’ll share. Justice for all.


The Gull Reef Club – 15 Years

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:17 pm

If a blog post is made on the internet, but no one is around to read it, does it still make a sound?

15 years of blogging. My, how times have changed. What started as a livejournal (then known as ADJaime), evolved to this little corner of the web known as The Gull Reef Club. It certainly has been an evolution.

I started blogging because I wanted a way to keep up with a few online friends I had made. I ended up liking the journaling aspect of blogging and kept going. 15 years later and I’m still here. This is despite that fact that blogging is more or less dead. The internet that I knew from 15 years ago is also pretty much dead. People don’t read much online anymore. They just look at/post pictures and comment in emojis. People don’t even go to websites much anymore and prefer to surrender their personal information to play in the walled gardens we call apps. I really don’t get it, but it’s because I don’t want to. The world is passing me and this blog by. Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

One thing I’ve learned in these fifteen years is that I’m ok with being a relic. This blog will go on simply because I like to do it. I like sharing my random thoughts with whomever still may be out there reading it. If there ever comes a day where I am sick of it, I will stop. Whether it makes a sound, I don’t think I will ever know.


Okefenokee – Our Paddle Adventures Map

Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:46 pm

Since we started paddling in the Okefenokee, we have covered nearly 100 miles and many of the trails. Mike has painstakingly prepared a map showing the trails we have paddled so far. Check it out: Okefenokee Travel Map.

We have paddled every colored line you see and have stayed at every platform that is marked. It is missing our March 2018 paddle from Stephen C. Foster to Billy’s Island, up to Minnie’s Lake, and back to SCF. I’m sure we will recreate it sometime relatively soon. We also intend to add some photos to each way point so you can see what each stop is like.

The map is especially cool because Mike matched the official color codes for the trails from the Refuge to the trails on our map. This is one of the official maps: Okefenokee NWR Map.

Compare the official map to ours and you will see we have covered a lot. We’re not done yet. We will paddle everything eventually and love every hard-working minute doing it.


Paddling Adventures, 32+ More Miles

Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:15 am

We recently returned from our longest paddle adventure to the Okefenokee. 32+ miles paddles. 54 hours without touching land. We launched at Kingfisher Landing and paddled 12+ miles to Maul Hammock. The next day we paddled to Big Water. After that, we paddled out to Stephen C. Foster State Park for our exit, and were shuttled back to our base camp on the east side of the Swamp. I’ll try to post pics, but we didn’t get many. Truly an amazing adventure.


Time Change – Let’s Compromise

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:59 pm

Since we Americans continually, collectively complain about the semi-annual time change, and since we can’t rely on Congress* to do anything useful (about it or anything at all), I have a suggestion for compromise.

Assuming we don’t stop this insanity at some point (which we really should), we should start the time change 24 hours earlier than we currently do. This would allow us to spring ahead or fall back on Friday night (technically Saturday at 2a) and give us a whole weekend to get used to it. As it is now, we only get one Sunday evening to get used to it then it’s suck-it-up-for Monday! I would wager that we would all be more productive if we had a wee bit of extra time to adjust.

Of course, this is an antiquated system and needs to be relegated to the history books, but if we are going to cling to it, we might as well try to make as best as we can.

*I recognize that many states have taken the burden on themselves of establishing whether they will adhere to a time change, but that is because these states have been failed by our Congress, who truly is the proper authority to establish this.


Dun Hun of Dinermania

Filed under: — Jaime @ 7:55 pm

We were watching the New Year’s Day episode of Jeopardy during dinner tonight. The following answer was posed:

“At its peak in the 5th century, this Hun’s empire stretched from the Rhine & Danube Rivers to the Caspian Sea”

Both Mike and I say outloud, ‘Atilla”, which of course, was the correct response. I sarcastically retort, “Like there are any other Huns.” Mike turns to me, and with a serious expression, says, “Dun.” I ask, “Dun Hun?” “No, I’m still eating,” he replies.

I about died.

Really. I inhaled tortilla bits from my taquitos, and coughed and laughed and cried all at once. Best joke of 2019 so far and I walked right into it.


Difference of One Year

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:47 pm

From our backyard weather sensor, January 2, 2018 v. 2019

I am liking 2019 much, much better so far.


Coming Back To Life

Filed under: — Jaime @ 12:29 pm

We made it back from yet another adventure into the Okefenokee Swamp. We kept it short and sweet this time. Our first night was in a cabin at Okefenokee Pastimes. Next night, the 27th, we had a permit to stay on the Monkey Lake platform. After that, it was back to Pastimes for another night in a cabin and then home. Altogether it was about 15 miles of paddling. Pretty easy. The weather was nearly perfect. Temps were +20-25 degrees above average, so mid 70s/day and upper 50s/night. The rains held off until we were back from our paddle and taking our showers at base camp. It was a perfect little getaway nestled between Christmas and the New Year. I hope to share more, but for now, I plan on sending 2018 away and ringing in 2019. Happy New Year.



Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:39 pm

We interrupt this Paddlethon to report the capture of a convicted felon.

My first one:

Yes, it was delicious.


Paddlethon, Starting the Journey

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:06 pm

As you may have guessed by now, we took a paddling adventure last week into the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. For this journey, we entered on the east side near Folkston, GA. For the uninitiated, there are three public entrances to the the Refuge, one on the west (Stephen C. Foster State Park), and two on the east (Kingfisher Landing and Suwanee Canal Recreation Area). There are NO roads that go through the 350,000+ acres of the Refuge Wilderness Area. None. There are 120 miles of water trails, mostly for canoes and kayaks only, but some allow under 10 hp motors. We paddled 26.2 of those trails in our kayaks.

The first stop was Okefenokee Pastimes, which served as our base camp. It is a privately owned campground just outside the Refuge boundaries. This was our first time staying there under the new ownership. We were really impressed with the improvements that have been done. We stayed there our first night in order to be close to the Suwanee Canal entrance.

We arrived early enough in the day that we were able to sign up for a sunset cruise with the fine folks at Okefenokee Adventures, the official concessionaire of the Refuge. It was truly fortunate that we took this cruise. Our guide, Steve, was marvelous. Welcoming and well-informed. Not only did we learn a lot, it was the only chance we had to take pictures while moving on the water. Paddling time was spent paddling, not taking pictures. We got some great ones on the cruise.

We were up before the sunrise on Tuesday morning. We packed up camp at Pastimes and headed into the Refuge via the Suwanee Canal entrance. There we checked in with Okefenokee Adventures. We checked in that we were permitted for two overnight stays in the Refuge – the first night on the Round Top Platform and the second on Canal Run.

It was a beautiful day to start our journey, although a bit hot. We launched about an hour after sunrise, and began our way down the orange trail aiming toward the Round Top platform.

Stay tuned for the rest of the journey.


Paddlethon, The Photos

Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:19 am

The moment we’ve all been waiting for – the photo album! The album includes a map of the trails we paddled and of our sunset boat tour. Enjoy. Okefenokee, October 2018.


Paddlethon, The Videos

Filed under: — Jaime @ 11:07 pm

I am still writing a narrative of our paddle and will post a link to the photo album. In the meantime, enjoy some videos that Mike has been ambitious enough to put together.

The first is a time lapse of the sunset of October 2, 2018 at the Round Top Shelter Platform. The sunset wasn’t spectacular but it was our sunset. Round Top Sunset

The other is of the resident gator of Canal Run bellowing in the morning.
Canal Run Gator Bellow

The second video doesn’t really capture the deep bass-ey vibrations of the bellow nor how well she got it to echo off the outhouse wall. It was amazing to hear in person.



Filed under: — Jaime @ 12:57 pm

We made it back from a few days of kayaking into the heart of the Okefenokee Swamp. A literal marathon of paddling – 26.2 miles. An amazing adventure. More to come, stay tuned.


Requiescat in Pace, Reflections of 9/11/01

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:17 pm

In looking back at my writings here at the Gull Reef Club, I realize I have never shared my experiences on 9/11/01. I wrote this up a long time ago and have posted it elsewhere. Today is a good day to reflect on this, and share what I went through on that day. Please share your experience if you are so compelled; I’d really like to read it.

My morning, 9/11/2001:
It was a typical workday. I began the morning rituals around 8:45 am. First, I turn on the TV to CNN. Next, I feed the cats. Third, I prepare the coffee.

Mike was either in the shower or working on getting there. As I was preparing the coffee, the anchors interrupted with a “this just in” reporting “something” had hit the World Trade Center, most likely a plane. I watched the speculators continue for a minute and then yelled to Mike that a plane may have hit the World Trade Center. The anchors slipped into presumption mode and seemed to be coming to a conclusion that it was most likely an accident.

I resumed the morning ritual but with an ear tuned to the TV (it was an open kitchen/living room) and Mike went out to have a smoke. I began washing the coffee cups. I heard the anchors become very excited and say something about seeing a second plane. I turned to look at the TV just in time to fully witness the second plane fly into the building.

I became really weak. I knew this wasn’t an accident. I called to Mike but I couldn’t quite find the words, so I ran to the door to tell him what happened. We both returned to the living room and watched in disbelief for awhile. When we heard there were other hijacked planes, I said to Mike, “We’re being attacked.” And while the reporters on the TV would not confirm the same thing, Mike did to me, “I know. This was no coincidence, not an accident.”

The day was spent in front of various TVs, radios and computers, telephone calls made, the ‘I love yous’ and ‘are you safes’ exchanged. And as the day wore on and day gave way to night, the doubt settled in. The questions started coming like a flood. I have never in my life experienced such uncertainty and fear.

It changed everything.


Monday Metaphor

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:25 pm

About a week ago, we noticed a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar had cocooned on our front porch. We have been on butterfly watch since then.

Monday morning brought us this:

May your Monday be as productive!


Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:04 pm

This morning, I read of the tragic drowning death of goalie Ray Emery in Lake Ontario. Such sad news about a classy guy.

Water safety is nothing to shrug off. If you plan on being on or near the water, please take the time to learn basic safety and response skills. The sea is unforgiving.

For the past few years, GCaptain has run this public domain article about drowning, Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning. I implore you to read it, share it.

Be safe and have fun out there.

The Gull Reef Club