0545 came pretty early this morning. Had to meet Carlton to head out to do a quail call survey. It pretty much consists of sitting on the back of a truck, and listening for quails and counting how many calls you here over an eight minute period. There were quite a few stops that had to be listened at so the whole thing took around 2 hours.
After we got back to the office, Carlton and I hooked up the boat and picked up a guy named Ken. Ken works as law enforcement out here but had been placed on light duty due to a four-wheeler injury. We grabbed the floating computer and left to go do the water flow survey. After arriving at the launch, Ken and I got out and started getting the boat ready. It was full of water from yesterday’s rain so we let it drain for a few minutes. I told Ken, “We’ve gotta make sure to put that plug back in before we launch”. I then hopped back in the truck to put on my hip waders and finish getting ready. We launched the boat and Ken and I started drifting out into the canal as I tried to crank start the motor. I was focusing on the motor and trying to start it, but the stupid fuel tank in the back kept bumping into my leg. It wasn’t until Ken said, “You put the plug in, right?”, that I realized the fuel tank was bumping into me because it was floating in the now sinking jon boat. Unable to get the motor cranked, we paddled as fast as humanly possible back to the bank and hauled the boat as far out of the water as we could. I stuck the plug in and we launched off again with only about a foot of water in the bottom of the boat (we had nothing to bail with and Carlton had taken off around the corner with the trailer). After what seemed like forever sitting in the sun, we finished taking tests with the floating computer and loaded everything back up. I hopped in the jon boat alone this time and started trying to motor to the launch point. It was then that I realized I needed another person to help distribute the weight in the front since all the water rushed to the back of the boat and weighed it down even more. It’s a good thing I don’t weigh any more than I already do. The stern sat so low that the waterline was less than 1 inch from coming over the top of the gunnel to sink me. Luckily the boat held up fine until it was time to load it on the trailer and the stern dipped below the waterline. I was certainly thankful for the hip waders as I jumped from the nearly swamped boat and we hauled it out of the water. We headed for the next area to survey, but thanks to some computer issues, we weren’t able to run the tests.
Came home and crashed on the couch for three hours after work which shot my afternoon fishing plans down. I’m looking forward to when Chelsea comes down and we head into Orlando. I’ve got some things I need to pick up from BassPro while we’re there. Tomorrow consists of another quail survey, bluebird chick banding, and possibly getting a chance to monitor scrub jays. Saw a HUGE eagle this morning, a few ospreys, an armadillo and a staggering 18 deer over the course of the day.