No one was around when I shoved off the dock in my wherry, and I was glad of it: the current from the tannin-stained water of Florida’s Carrabelle River pushed the boat back into the dock before I shipped the second oar. On the second attempt, I narrowly escaped the dock’s ragged, rusty metal corner and luckily got turned into the current with both oars in the water.

Photographs by the author

The boat is packed and ready to go at a ramp on the left bank of the Carrabelle River. It’s February and the marina is largely deserted.

The banks of the river were lined with wooden docks set parallel to the shore, like sidewalks along a street, with boats moored with their sterns to the docks. The small town of Carrabelle, with its low buildings and tree-lined streets, was in full view on my port side. Across the river was the wooded shore of Timber Island.

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