Wednesday , September 17 2014
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Pirating the backwaters

GOODLAND LIFE 

Natalie Strom 

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Backwater adventure’s CraigCats can travel where most other vessels cannot. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

That’s it. I’m turning in my press pass and heading out to sea. This pirate looks at 30 like she’s ready for a change, and after taking a trip with Goodland-based Backwater Adventure I’m declaring a mutiny on my humdrum life. It’s time for this scallywag to commandeer their vessels and start off on my own excursion.

After all, life is too short to wait. Just ask owner and operator of Backwater Adventure, Lisa Seymour. Three years ago she nearly lost her leg in a motorcycle accident. Rather than outfit Lisa with an-all-too-perfect-for-this-article peg leg, doctors performed multiple surgeries, reconstructing her leg with numerous screws and plates. During her recovery, Lisa had a revelation. Tired of the corporate world, she decided to strike out on her own. Taking a cue from James Dean, Lisa decided it was time to, “dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”

With the assistance of business partner, Doug Black, they found their treasure in the CraigCat vessel. Easy to operate, safe and extremely stable, the CraigCats offer a look at the backwaters of Goodland you just can’t find in any other water adventure. And I should know. After all, I’m not only a spokesperson, I’m also a client.

Unbelievable dolphin views

We set out from Moran’s Barge Marina in Goodland on a warm Sunday afternoon. Heading out from the marina, we immediately went under the Goodland Bridge. Winding around our tiny village, we had the chance to check out our neighbor’s backsides… of their houses, that is. Leaving the no wake zone, we cruised at about 30 miles per hour and headed into the heart of the 10,000 Islands.

Our little clipper glided over the smooth waters that reflected the trees and sky so perfectly that I could barely tell where the water ended and the land began. It’s a good thing Lisa was steering! But she wouldn’t be for long. Once we reached Collier Seminole State Park, about 17 miles from where we started, I decided that I had to get in on the action.

I declared a mutiny and commandeered our clipper in true pirate fashion (minus the eye patch). But Lisa remained calm even as I almost steered us straight into a mile marker sign. Having earned her sea legs over the past year, she’s used to land lubbers like myself who aren’t as familiar with the sea. That’s because those who book with Backwater Adventure actually get to captain their own two-seater CraigCat vessel.

Captain Doug takes off.

There was no time to hang the jib or pout on this adventure. We cruised through mangrove passages too narrow and shallow for regular vessels, giving us a chance to see the beauty of the 10,000 Islands like I had never seen before. As we headed out to more open waters, a mother dolphin and her calf swam alongside us. It was amazing! The CraigCats sit so low in the water that it almost felt like we were swimming with them. What a way to end our afternoon excursion!

Heading back to the marina, I told Lisa that I wanted her job. Unfortunately, she said no. So now I have no choice but to pillage and plunder to get what I want! I would highly suggest booking a tour with Backwater Adventure before one of their little clippers mysteriously disappears, and in an unrelated event, I just happen to go missing too. Visit www.backwateradventure.com to captain your own CraigCat clipper through the 10,000 Islands.

Natalie Strom has lived in Goodland for over two years and has worked in Goodland on and off for more than five years. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is also a former Buzzard Queen of Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland. 


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