February deep freeze

Andre Cloutier

Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.
Fitz's Florida 'gator odyssey

Winter is back, highs of -7c, lows at nite of -20.:eek: What else to do but make lots of sawdust in the carhole and more toy (and kid) storage!


  • P1160002.jpg
    159 KB · Views: 470
  • P1160047.jpg
    168.6 KB · Views: 457
  • P1160048.jpg
    179.2 KB · Views: 464
Last edited:

We are visiting in South Florida. I should have brought the red woolen long johns!! We were scoping out the paddling in Everglades City for a future Norumbega Chapter outing when we came across this critter (attached) frozen solid with perma grin!

It is supposed to warm up right about the time we get home. :mad:


  • DSC_0062 (2).jpg
    DSC_0062 (2).jpg
    266.6 KB · Views: 437
Hey Fitz, you went the wrong way! We've been visiting up here in Ely for the last several weeks. The water is still a little hard for canoeing, but the weather has been fantastic for xc skiing, dogsledding and snowshoeing. Even got in a little fishing. Want me to send you some long johns from the JD Mills store here?

Found this relative of your guy down in Whiteside Park.


  • Cool_Critter.jpg
    74.4 KB · Views: 419
Last edited:

Are you up there with Dave and Ferdy?

Now I'm really getting homesick. :)

Take lots of pics, and post them.


stuck down south in MI

Will do. I'm having a bit of a problem getting my pics uploaded. I've got some cool shots of dogsledding and will post the link as soon as I can get them uploaded.
Hey Fitz- all this way, you should have come by for a visit! Spent the weekend with doors wide open, enjoying the breeze working on a new router table cabinet and final stages of a Morris restoration (plus a break to mow the grass). Would have loved for you to come for a visit, talk canoes and woodworking.


Sorry for the unintentional thread hijack there Andre. I thought it was a chance to gripe about the weather.

Nice wannigans!

There, back on track.
no, not at all - notice the smiley face. perhaps Michael can tell us about the land speed and sudden bursts of speed I am sure gators are capable of - way faster than some old canvas canoe if they decide to go for a snack. make mine shoes and a belt, and maybe a hat band please...
this is exactly a gripe about the weather, winter is back but for some reason not the sunshine..besides, i'm one of the worst hijackers and drifters there is.
I'm thinking we might be seeing gators up here on the St. Lawrence soon... (Shhh. don't tell the Save the River folks!). Today we started taking bets as to when the second round of "float the ice fishing shanty down the river" starts...!

Andre - if you hang around Trois-Rivières, you'll find plenty of scrap to keep you in wanigan stock for a while...
Dan, go rent Lake Placid and have a screening for the Save the River crowd.
Okay, I'll bite - before i go see one of my uncles in Trois Riviere, whats the connection..:confused:
Hi Andre,

First let me agree- "nice wannigans"- to keep your thread on topic.

Now to alligators... Did you know that here in south FL, there are both alligators and crocodiles? Way cool! The crocs are very rare, but we've paddled with them in the Everglades ever since River was 1.5 years old. Alligators are everywhere here. I see them every time I'm near any isolated body of water, and often in town. My wife works in a massive corporate building (GE) in the center of town, and often there are 3'-6' gators in the retention pond between the building and the street. On the campus of Florida Tech, we often have a few in the swampy "jungle" (or the Botanical Garden, as our President likes it to be called).

A few years ago a friend and I canoe camped through the Okefenokee Swamp for a week. First day, we were packing up the canoes at a park entrance where other boats were available for rent. A park ranger was helping a young couple get set up in a johnboat with small motor, and we knew they were novices when the guy immediately flooded the engine, got help from the ranger to start it, and then was so nervous that he shot away from the dock with a rope still attached to the dock cleat. Needless to say, they came to a sudden halt with another dead engine! The ranger got them going again (why she didn't call a halt at this point, I don't know), and off the couple went down the large canal exiting the park.

We finished packing our gear, and set off at a nice pace down the way, counting all the gators we saw for the first 10-15 minutes, or until we got tired of counting. Big ones, little ones, smiling ones, snarling ones (well, not really snarling). Lots of gators. As we paddled on, we started hearing unintelligible shouting. Finally, we came out of a dense area into larger water and a fairly long view where we could see two people frantically flailing about in a johnboat. On that open water, we could hear them alternating "HELP!"... "PADDLE!"... "HELP!"... and so on. As we got closer, they finally noticed us, and begged us to hurry over and help them. I climbed on and got the flooded motor started, and only then did the guy (we nicknamed him "PADDLE!") and his girlfriend (we only remember her as "HELP!") warned us with trembling voices that "there's an alligator RIGHT OVER THERE!" We saw the little 5' gator that sent them into a frenzy, and I still don't know how they made it a couple of miles from the dock without seeing all of the others. Bottom line? They made a beeline back to the park entrance, and we later found out that they pitched a tent as close to the park's buildings and security lights as they could, and ate fast food from the nearest town for a week. We saw HELP! and PADDLE! again after take-out, and had a great time talking with them. They turned out to be vacationing from Manhattan, and had never seen wildlife like this before. Well, almost. They did mention raising an Emu from a chick, and then when it got too big for their tiny apartment, they said they set it free on the street below...


Well, since the thread is hopelessly de-railed: The Ranger at Everglades NP indicated the croc population took a big hit this winter due to the cold weather. Apparently, the gators can take the cold a bit better. I think the manatees were also negatively affected. Fishing is also down.

In Maine, we see folks pulled off on the shoulder next to the swamps "Moose Watching". Here the same thing happens for the gators.:D

I haven't done much paddling here, but as Michael can attest I am sure there are endless opportunities to put the handmade wannigan in the wood canvas canoe and have a great trip. There, back on track. :cool:
really nice wanigans!!

Mike Mercier is a photog living near me at Seven Ponds Nature Center in Dryden. He's stopped by and taken pictures of the canoes here before. Anyway, before I get too sidetracked from this hijack--He photographed a big gator in everglades park engaged in a life/death struggle with a Burmese Python. Mike gained international fame for the shots. And some time on Discovery Channel too. Further afield--My Brother is a professional Photo in St Cloud Fla. He would go on the 'gator hunts to photograph the excitement. They would get lots of gators and my Brother would be in the swamp/lake all night long with the good ole boys and the gators. In and out of the boat. He sent a photo of the back of a truck full of Gators. But it was small truck, a Ranger. They would not have fit in the Wanigan.

Oh, the big gator won the battle.
Great pictures, Ferdy. Those snow sculptures are wonderful. The log cabins are gorgeous. I could live there, no problem.