Florida Airboats Exceed Expectations
By Mike Taylor, Florida Regional Group
Last April 9, I received an email from Paul Kaminsky informing the Florida Regional Group’s List Serve of a free offer. Crazy Fish Airboat Tours owner/operator Josh Schrutt was offering free passage for blinded veterans!
Six months later, on October 26, I rode on an airboat for the first time. The opportunity exceeded all of my expectations. I had no idea how much fun the tour would be and the many surprises we would experience. Sitting in the middle of the front seat, I received less spray than my seatmates on either side. A Northeaster had the waters at the mouth of the St. Johns River and the Intracoastal Waterway rougher than normal. Although the 24-foot airboat went over the wave crest with ease, we came down in the troughs with a bang.
Mike Taylor, front row and center, embarked with family and friends on an airboat joyride October 26, 2016. The ride was more exciting and enjoyable than anything he had imagined.
Captain Josh’s custom-made aluminum airboat is propelled by a six-foot, four-blade fiberglass propeller. The propeller is turned by a supercharged, 600-horsepower Corvette engine, which pushes the craft with as many as 18 passengers at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. Perhaps only with an airboat is it possible to jump over mud banks with speed and land back in the water on the other side.
I don’t believe I have ever experienced turns in any other watercraft that can match those that occur on an airboat. It is truly a wild ride!
The Crazy Fish Airboat Tour has many points of interest and offers a number of surprises. We started our expedition by going out to the mouth of the St. Johns River between the jetties where the flow empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Next we passed by the Mayport Navy Base, where 21 ships, including Fast Deployment Vessels and Destroyers, are docked.
A commercial shipyard was a beehive of activity with a 600-foot ship pulled into the dry dock while getting its hull painted. We went up Shad’s Creek where homes are located on both sides of the water. Another point of interest was Huguenot Park, where low tides expose oyster beds. We were also able to pass by the Mayport Shrimpers who had returned to their docks with the day’s catch.
The airboat tour is an experience that I hope to repeat. We had plenty to talk about when we got back to the dock.
If blinded veterans live in or visit the Jacksonville, Florida area, Captain Josh encourages them to call him and reserve a seat at 904-334-8408. He can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information, including a link to a video, is also available at www.crazyfishjax.com. With the convention in Jacksonville now on the horizon, please don’t rule out a late summer experience with Crazy Fish Airboat Tours!