|A Must Vehicle For Everglades Treasure Hunting|
It was late in the afternoon, and we planned to camp on the hardwood hammock, as there was a cleared area high and dry where we would be using our machines. This was also where we had supposed the Seminole village would have been in the 1840's. We skimmed in, propeller roaring, and beached the air-boat. We were carefully watching for ornery little poisonous water moccasins, and peeping-tom alligators, as we dragged our camping gear up onto the dry, and set up our tents, laid out the campfire ring, and eagerly pulled out our detectors.
An interesting afternoon ensued in the few hours before dark, as we dug water-filled holes (if the holes were NOT filled with water, they would be) aplenty around the hammock, finding lead weights, spent bullet casings, and...you guessed it...pop-tabs! Larry's Garrett Groundhog burped as the batteries died, and Ed and I helped wrestle the machine apart (in those days, you practically had to disassemble the machine to replace the batteries, pulling the entire top panel off the machine, then fish thru brightly-colored tangles of wires to get to the battery holder)
Darkness enveloped our little hammock, and we finally lit the campfire inside the small ring of limestone coral rocks. We had a can of McCormick beef stew bubbling over the fire in no time, and we were so hungry by then we almost got 3rd degree burns in our mouths gulping it down by the cupful. The sounds in the everglades in the dead of night are hard to describe, mostly the grunting of alligators, occasional splashiness in the water as fish outrun larger fish, and a slight hum of insects. What woke me up was the sudden absence of these sounds, and as I pushed my way out of the tent I saw Larry standing by the air-boat, and suddenly noticed an eerie purple glow lighting up the entire hammock. Larry was staring up at a bright purple light parked over the saw grass, and I crept over to where he was standing.
|A recreation of what we saw...a poor one, I might add...|
Larry said, "Let's get the ever-loving crap outa here!" jumped into the the air-boat, turned the key, and...nothing. The solenoid on the electric starter didn't even click. At that point, without a sound, the object started to move straight up and accelerated until we couldn't see it anymore. We all jumped, now in the pitch dark, as the starter suddenly whined and spun the propeller, then stopped and was silent. "Damn," said Ed. We spent the rest of the night with the campfire roaring and my rifle across my lap, as we drank coffee until the sun finally came up.
We loaded up the gear the next morning. Larry turned the key and the propeller roared to life. We beat it back to the boat-ramp off Rout 27 and never spoke of it again. Larry got killed in a car crash in New York a few years later, and Ed died of cancer a few years after that. If you treasure hunt long enough, in lonely places, you'll see a thing or two yourself.