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Hurricane Stories: Daniels vs. the Surge

Fishing guide Kent Daniels stayed put during the storm—and doesn't regret a thing.

The Daniels clan dates back to the 1800s, says Chokoloskee fishing guide Kent Daniels. His painstakingly plotted family tree shows Creek and Seminole Indians, Indian hunters, and soldiers who fought on both the Confederate and Union sides in the Civil War. So when it comes to a 9-foot storm surge vs. a Daniels or their kin, nobody would bet against them. Case in point: On the evening of Sept. 10, when flood waters started rising, Kent Daniels headed out in his truck to assess the situation.

“I was perfectly safe,” he says. “But around 10 p.m., folks were texting messages like, ‘What are you doing out there? Get inside!’ I said, ‘Leave me alone. I’ve got sweet tea and food, my truck still has AC, and I have storm apps on my phone.’ Then Carlos [Valdez] motors up in his boat to rescue me. I told him I did not need rescuing. Also, I was not getting in any boat with a motor running and tanks of propane floating around. But everybody made such a gol-dang deal out of it that I finally got out of the truck (the water was only chest-deep) and walked to Carlos’ house, slept for a couple of hours and walked home at 2 a.m.”

Related: How Everglades City Survived Hurricane Irma

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