Friday 3 August 2012

Rowing down the Suwannee

The Swanee name is so familiar from all those dreadful patronising songs, not to mention the bloody whistle, that I always lazily assumed it was legendary, like the Anduin or the Alph.
But it is real and really amazing. The Suwannee (Stephen Foster spelled the name wrong so it scanned) rises in Georgia and flows through Florida into the Gulf of Mexico, passing through truly remote and unspoiled regions on its way - lots about the river here.
The Suwannee is one of the few true blackwater rivers in the world, so-called because tannins leach in from the decaying mass of fibre in the swamps it flows through, colouring the water.
Another highly unusual physical feature is the springs that line the river. Water sinks into the limestone aquifer that underlies the vast swamp, rising through sink holes to join the river along its length. The springs form natural swimming pools - there's a great explanation here.
Tom Williams rowed down the Suwannee and chronicled his trip on his blog DrunkRowing (he likes a cocktail). It sounds absolutely fabulous.
For a start, huge areas of the river basin are publicly owned, and campsites have been built at about 10 mile intervals along the bank. Cleverly, the sites are accessible only by water, so local vandals can't easily get them. Tom says they are pristine.
"It was just about the best four days of my life," he writes. "Rowing, tequila , cigars, food, and my wonderful wife."
Sounds brilliant. Another raid route I must do one day.
Thanks to Duckworks for the headsup.

1 comment:

Canoe Sailor said...

"Suwannee is one of the few true blackwater rivers in the world"? That's odd I thought that the majority of rivers were blackwater. Don't most rivers start in or pass though a cypress swamp?