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Original Issue


The subtropical maze of Florida's Everglades (left) and the chill-steeped waters of Washington's Sammamish River 4,000 miles away (right) have one thing in common: both waterways offer narrow winding courses over shallow streams strewn with obstacles. To run over the trees, marshes, stumps and occasional alligators found in the Everglades, special shallow-draught cruisers, known as air boats, have been created. Air boats, driven by large wooden propellers on the stern, can skim along at 70 mph.

The Sammamish River, near Seattle, is only 13 miles long but it offers northwestern sailors a fine opportunity to test their navigating skill. Every March those who complete the trip from mouth to headwaters of "The Slough" are eligible to join the Bar Pilots Association. The tricky Sammamish is made more difficult by floating timbers and debris which may foul a propeller, stove in a hull. To make things a little more exciting Bar Pilots toss in a few logs of their own. Successful navigators are sworn in on a bent propeller, down a drink of Slough water to seal the rites.

Sammamish River, near Seattle, is choked with boats as would-be navigators hold muster before starting trip upstream.

Derbied Navigator Peggy Batie, a Seattle housewife, heads her canopied runabout up the Sammamish. Canopied boat was dubbed African Queen by other pilots. Peggy's husband Bob went along as a passenger, had to help push the boat off sand bar.