August 31

I got a call last night from the Trail Angel from Panama City Beach to confirm that I would be arriving today.  I said that was the plan and he told me he would be following my tracker and meet me at the bridge.  I paddled back out into the bay and entered the intracostal waterway also known as “the ditch”.  It’s just a canal that cuts through the land connecting bays.  Its about 30 yards wide and about 20 miles long.  It is great to paddle through and feels like a river except no current.  The tides can play a factor sometimes but mostly it is just flat water.  Well, except when a boat comes through.  If they don’t slow down then the wake will bounce off one side and kick back.  As nerve racking as it can be to see a big boat coming down the channel, I think I scare them more than they scare me.  They have no idea how I got 10 miles deep in the ditch.  I kept an eye on the radar and a storm was looking like it was gonna hold off but only time would tell.  I exited the ditch and saw the bridge.  It started misting and I figured that it was just my luck that when I could see the take out it would start raining.  It didn’t.  When I got closer to the bridge, sure enough there were two gentleman standing there waving at me.  I pulled up and met my new best friends.  We talked for a bit and felt each other out.  We both felt comfortable with each other and decided to load up and go get something to eat.  We pulled the boat out by a restaurant named B.F.E. (Best Food Ever) and went across street to a restaurant called Boondocks.  I got a good kick out of that.  They treated me to lunch and good conversation.  We finished up and said goodbye to one of the guys.  The original Angel who called me and I headed to his house with my boat.  While we were in the car he started saying things that caught my attention.  I found out that he was retired military.  He specialized in addiction counseling.  It all made sense now as to why what he was saying caught my attention.  We got to his house and I got a shower and put on my clean clothes.  We then went out to eat dinner with the other Panama City Angels.  He was still full from lunch but of course I could still eat and got a full meal.  It was nice getting to see what close friends these people were because of water.  We discussed my plans for tomorrow and decided that I would paddle my boat empty 15 miles from where I left off to one of the angels' house.  It seemed like a good plan to me.