A Shantyboat Story

Here’s an interesting story about a couple and their shantyboat.  An excerpt and link is shared here:

“Jim Harlin had suggested they go for a drive, have lunch in Jesup, and look at the house boats that were for sale.

The State of Georgia basically would have agreed with her assessment, saying that non-navigable structures weren’t boats and shouldn’t be on the river.

She initially didn’t even want to look at them. But then they drove through rolling farm country, followed a clay road to a bluff, arriving at a spot on the river with big cypress trees and about nine more river boat houses.

They walked around the ugliest one.

She remembers sitting down on a horrible chair and looking at it.

She saw what the state saw. A derelict, rectangular, one-room eyesore. A shantyboat. But she also saw something else.

“I want it,” she said.

The next day Jim Harlin bought it.

It became known to many in Jacksonville as Shantyboat. A fixture on the Trout River. A place where for 16 years small groups of people clomped onto the dark green house boat and engaged in what their awaiting coach called a bloodsport: writing.

Then Irma hit.

Shantyboat had made it through hurricanes. In 2004, when a series of storms sunk much sturdier vessels, it had come unmoored from Seafarers Marina but ended up aground near Main Street. It survived another beating last year during Hurricane Matthew.

But when Jim and Lynn showed up at the marina after Irma, they saw the look on the face of the dockmaster and knew. It was gone.

“It was like I lost a part of me,” she says. “I thought, ‘Here I am 72, how can I grieve so much about an inanimate object? But my heart …”….. read the rest here.  More on the boat here.

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