That time we got stuck out on an airboat


It was some time after our first day on vacation when Simon started to get the itch to do something other than just lay on the beach. Okay, cool – I can deal with that. So he starts tossing ideas out there – and I see his eyes light up when he mentions taking an airboat tour on some kind of contraption entitled “the Swamp Thang.”

Oh dear.

But! Who am I to trample on the dreams of a man who have paid copious amounts of money to take his family on a fabulous beach vacation in a perfectly dreamy little town? No! I will ride the airboat! I will enjoy myself in the swamp! So the deed is done – we are booked for the hour-and-a-half long excursion that sets off at sunset. We are promised “a experience your not soon to forget.”  This, my friends, is what is known as … fate?

So since I was SO CRAZY AWESOME to allow the airboat tour amongst the alligators, I suggested demanded asked to have dinner (again) at the ever-delightful George’s. We went right at 5 o’clock, aka blue plate special time w/ the blue hairs – but stupid me, I was all, “OHHH let’s sit on the patio! It’s BEEYOOTIFUL!” And, being ever-so-acquiescent since – ahem swampboat – Simon and Jude and I tromp out to our patio table where we SWELTERED under the hot sun and swatted away flies like it was a pile of rotting meat on the table and not delicious delicately seared fish. Jude was crying, I was harrumphing, Simon was knocking over his iced tea.


So just to recap, things were not going well. And the best part is? We could’ve sat inside if we’d chosen to because WE WERE THE FIRST ONES THERE WHEN THEY OPENED. #oldfarts

So back in the car we get and haul it into Panama City to catch our sunset airboat tour. And admittedly it was lovely! The water was still and beautiful as the sun was setting. It wasn’t too hot; we weren’t beset with bugs. And! We were off in search of alligators and so we got about 30 minutes into the tour when we caught a glimpse of one.



Then. The captain shut off the engine so maybe the alligator would come up out of the water (WHYYYY). After a looong time of sitting, it was time to move on when it was apparent that no alligator would be popping up to see us.

Aaaaaand that’s when the engine on the boat died.



I really don’t know how long we sat there. Long enough that i started to worry about finding/needing a bathroom, wondering what a tow boat really looks like, and also worrying about how much more juice I had left in my iPhone in case we needed to call someone.

The obnoxious kid in the front row started squawking, “Why are we JUST SITTING HERE?”  Then  “I wanna see some GATORS!”  Then “WHYYY CAN’T THE BOAT JUST GOOOOOOO?!”

I thought I might kill him if the captain didn’t first. And then I look over at my kid to see him doing this:



Everyone on the boat started to make friends at this point, sharing bottles of water and bug spray (really?). Then I handed the camera to Jude because, you know, what else was there to do?

waiting-simon waiting


Finally – FINALLY! – after basically dismantling the engine and lots of false starts, the captain got the engine going. At this point I assumed we’d be heading straight back to the dock, getting off, and promptly getting refunded.


Two hours later we finally stumble off the boat after having seen two tiny 6-inch alligators.

Apparently we got the extra long tour.



Ahhhh memories. We laughed pretty hard the whole way back to Rosemary Beach.  It was all too crazy to believe. From beginning to end, a total crazy mishmash of folly.

But seriously. I’m never getting on one of those things ever.

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