NAPLES, Fla.- Traveling hundreds of miles down Florida's Gulf Coast, in a homemade boat? For Captain Nat, his entire voyage from Debary, Fl. to the Ten Thousand Islands will be 680 miles moving at just 3 1/2 miles per hour. Today, he's docked in Naples to take care of some things he lost overboard when he hit rough water.
"It's been created, un-recreated, torn apart, started all over again several times and this is the end product."
Captain Nat has set sail along Floridas Gulf Coast in this homemade boat, The Huckleberry House Boat. Captain Nat says the sole purpose for his journey-- in search of Tom Sawyer.
"That's kind of a metaphor for looking for a simpler way of life," said Captain Nat.
He says he often thinks about all the wonderful things he has heard about the Ten Thousand Islands and this wooden boat will end up taking him 680 miles making that dream a reality.
"I thought it was kind of cool, I see all these pictures of it and hear tales of great fishing, seclusion."
But, getting to Naples from Debary, Fl. hasn't been smooth sailing, his boat has sunk twice, luckily in shallow water.
"I've hit storms, I've hit bad water, this little boat is not designed for big water."
In fact, this boat started off as a 16-foot canoe, so getting to Naples has taken what Captain Nat calls the three P's-- patience, perseverance and persistence. "I would think about what I'm getting ready to do and then I go sit down and smoke my pipe and think about it some more, get up and do something, go smoke my pipe and think about what I did that was wrong."
But, this homemade house boat is catching attention, and drawing people to the ship to hear the captains stories.
"It's nice to see someone living off the land, living free and enjoying their life," said visitor James Redding.
"If I can make someone smile, that makes my day."
Captain Nat will sail away from Naples on Friday morning and says he expects to get to the Ten Thousand Islands on Monday or Tuesday. However, he is on no schedule. He does say he has met the nicest people in Naples. Since he's been here he has been given and offered things such as fishing poles, cold drinks and today, he even had a grouper sandwich made for him.