I sometimes took my paints and easel to take advantage
of the spellbinding peace only a seaplane can offer. I saw
turtles hatching, ospreys diving, and alligators sunning
themselves—seemingly immobile until you got close.
Often I would stop at a marina, fish camp, or restaurant
and get to know the owners, who were thrilled to have a
seaplane parked on their dock or beach. More often than
not I would take them for a quick flight. It’s remarkable
to me that several of these business owners have since
learned to fly and earned their seaplane ratings.
Back in 1997, I noticed the number of seaplanes in Florida
backyards. This was a topic of conversation with two
friends, Gregg Anderson and Fred Morris. I explained
how odd it seemed that there were so many seaplanes
but seemingly few get-togethers and so little exchange of
information. The result of this conversation was that they
were kind enough to volunteer me to get the ball rolling
to organize a splash-in!
Eleven years later, we’re still holding monthly splash-ins. I’ve organized more than 120 of them and am
amazed it is still such a popular event. The group has
changed through the years, but we always have a huge
assortment of planes, from a Kolb on floats to Cessna
150s, 180s, and 206s to Lake amphibians of every variety,
SeaReys, Seabees, and more.
The one thing that drives us all is our love of flying
the waterways. Discussions involve everything from the
merits of a three-blade prop to engine upgrades, vortex
generators, ramp building, local ordinances governing
seaplanes, and the location of the next month’s splash-in! Our group has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to
share, and all are willing to do so.
UPPER: Some parts of Florida seem to have a seaplane in every
driveway. CENTER: The author with her float-equipped Cessna.
BELOW: A vareity of seaplanes congregate for a splash-in.