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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:54 am 
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Thanks Keith. That doesn't look excessive at all.
I once went on a trip and got a few miles away from home before realising my sail was back in the garage. Now that could have been a disaster.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:13 pm 
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Location: South Florida
The Storm: AI/TI in 40 knot winds, shark encounter, tethered under a capsized boat

On March 10 this year, a severe storm passed through south Florida. In Miami at a professional golf tournament, 2 TV towers were toppled, some trees uprooted, and branches were broken. It happened during the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge 300-mile adventure race (EC2011) down the west coast of Florida, through the Everglades, and ending in Key Largo. Some competitors were caught on the water. I was returning on my AI from a camping trip to East Cape Sable. In the following, I relate the experience of several people caught in the storm.


My Experience
I could see the storm developing. It is about 11:40 AM. I’ve seen storms develop over the interior of the Everglades, and they often don’t come off shore. I was hoping that was the case.
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Now it is 11:50 AM. At this point, I should have realized this was going to be a serious storm. Chief, below, refers to the “black wall of doom.” That description seems appropriate.
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I focused on the nice skies in front of me.
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That was a mistake. The storm was moving very fast, as everyone who was caught has testified. It was on me a few minutes after taking this nice-skies picture.

The following winds and times are those recorded at a weather buoy 3 miles SW of my position.

At 12:00 PM, the wind was about 6 mph (5 knots) from the W. Within 6 minutes (12:06 PM ) the wind had shifted to the north at 16 mph, with gusts to 29 mph. At 12:12 PM winds were 33 mph with gusts to 39 mph (29, 34 knots.)

Before the storm hit, I’m running downwind on a very broad reach with light winds from slightly south of west and blue skies in front of me; and then, the wind clocks around 90 degrees and is gusting to 29 mph. It happened SO FAST that I was surprised when my rudder made that scary sound, THUNK! It seemed like I was hardly moving, but things must have been happening faster than I realized. Fortunately, the rudder had only kicked up—the rudder pin was not broken. As soon as I regained steerage, the wind forced the boat to round up. I was frantically trying to furl the sail, which I accomplished, but I’m not sure to what degree. I furled it more in a couple minutes. I was sailing close hauled and making progress toward shore, about 1 mi to the northeast.

I was now in control of my boat, and everything was working ok. Of course, I was hoping the rudder pin would not break. At this point, I took pictures. You can see some pictures in my previous picture-story, entitled: Ft De Soto Park to Flamingo to East Cape Sable and back with winds to 40 mph (34 kts). WaterTribe Everglades Challenge, 2011. As near as I can tell, it only took 10 minutes to cover the mile tack to shore, but it seemed agonizingly slow, more like an hour. Here are a couple more pictures.

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Near shore, I was able to run on a broad reach toward Flamingo. Occasionally, very strong gusts would overpower my rudder sending my boat careening toward shore before I could regain control. My track can be seen on this Google image.Image

There were no other sail boats between East Cape Sable and Flamingo. I was 1 mile off shore, moving west to east, as the wind came over my left shoulder. However, there were several WaterTribe competitors north of my position who have reported their experiences. Tyro & PaddleCarver, sailing the original, prototype AI Tandem, were nearing Highland Point, about 30 mi north of me. After they reached Flamingo, they said it “felt like they were in a ‘washing machine.’” Tyro reported winds up to 40 kts. He said it was “exciting and scary.” (More Tyro comments below) This Google image shows our approximate positions when the storm hit each of us. Two other boats were near Tyro & PaddleCarver. CaptJackOtter in his WETA was 1-2 miles in front of T&P, and Chief, in his Kruger Canoe with inflatable amas and Balogh sail, was a few miles behind. This Google image shows our relative positions as the storm front passed over each of us. Except for my position, these positions are approximate.
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Tyro & PaddleCarver’s Original Tandem AI fitted with new amas. PaddleCarver is working on boat at Ft. De Soto Park launch.
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Here are Tyro's comments to me:

With the approaching storm Ed reefed right off and shortly after took all the sail in, probably saved our butts. I saw two waterspouts off to our left moving quickly our way; they passed by in front of us. Shortly after we were in the middle of a waterspout, the water was being picked up around us and we were surrounded in mist, the wind was howling, The stormed passed quickly, we were going downwind at 4 and a half with no sail and just holding on. I just worked at keeping the boat pointed forward enjoying the ride. After the wind died down some, we decided to go through Whitewater Bay.


CaptJackOtter’s WETA at Ft. De Soto Park launch.
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CaptJackOtter’s WETA capsized immediately after the storm struck.

The following exchange between Tyro and CaptJackOtter was posted on the WaterTribe website.

Tyro:
Capt Jack, was that you off of Highland Beach with red sails? If so, we tried to contact you by radio. We were tacking behind a boat with red sails when that front came through, what a ride.

CaptJackOtter:

Tyro,

I ended up in the area of Highland Beach. The red jib was furled when the front hit. I would like to say it passed through, but it was much more than that for me. The boat flipped within 30 seconds. Some gear stored on deck left the building and parking lot. The radio included.

I stay attached to the boat with a safety line. I was under the boat and underwater when I jerked the release. It worked perfectly. I grabbed hold of the boat. It dragged me for a short while until the mast dug into the bottom. That is when the fun started. The boat is being lifted by the waves and wind and slammed back down. I did my best to unstick the mast but could not.

"Miss Sugar" is taking a beating. Her bow is pointing up, almost 70 or 80 degrees. The entire boat is being lifted by wind and waves and slammed back down. I cannot reach any of the halyards to release the sails. The Mylar jib is tearing itself to pieces.

The water is about chest high. I try to dive down to see if I can do anything with the mast. My life jacket does a great job of keeping me near the surface. I try to use my foot to dig out the mast. No Luck.

Next, release the boat from the mast. The waves and wind are still strong, and the boat is lifting and banging like crazy. Have you ever tried to get stainless steel cotter pins off with your bare fingers in a storm while hanging on?

Long story short: detached the boat from mast, pushed the upside trimaran into shore sans mast and sails. I saw you pass by while I was still in the water. I put my thumb out but I think you missed me. No radio. SPOT was attached to my life jacket and worked. Four hours later my land crew arrived with a fishing boat and guide. We towed the boat 26 miles back to Chokoloskee. We recovered the mast. It is carbon fiber. I don't know for sure, but I think it was broken when the powerboat pulled it out of the muck.

It was an adventure. I was doing everything well in regards to having a good trip: good sleep, lots of water, warm, safe, until the storm. I'm glad you guys made it through. When you sailed by, it looked like you were taking a walk in the park.

I guessed that the wind went from about 10 mph to 50+ in about 30 seconds. Some I talked to thought it could have hit 65. What do you think? Also, have you ever seen a more awe inspiring scene? Spielberg could have used it in one of his Sci-Fi flicks.

Again, glad you made it!!

CaptJackOtter



Chief & his Kruger Canoe with Balogh sail and inflatable amas at start of EC2011
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Partial transcript from Chief’s 2 videos. The videos were taken after the main squall line had passed through.

First video: “…hairiest storm I’ve ever been in” “I didn’t even know it was coming…glanced behind me and there was this dark wall of doom approaching…no reef in…I’ve never been more scared in all my life.” “…I’ve never been in conditions like this…it was nasty…the first squall that hit me…that, that was amazing, how fast it hit and how hard it hit…as all this was happening I’ve got a shark coming swimming around my boat investigating…all I see is his tail every now and again swimming around my boat.”

Second video: “I just came through…most terrifying little experience of my life out on the water….A storm hit me real hard, real fast…I barely had 10 seconds notice, and it was on me…my rudder jammed…finally broke free and is working again.”

Chief’s SPOT quit working. He had this comment “…these SPOTs are not reliable, huh, something got to be done about it.”

You can see Chief’s two video’s at
http://www.watertribe.com/Events/ChallengeViewer.aspx?RaceID=EC2011
Pick off Chief’s videos, EC2011 Day 6 Part 1 & Part 2. These describe his experience after the leading edge of “the storm” had passed through. He did not get any video during the violent portion of the storm—too busy keeping track of everything.

Conclusions:

I can only speak from my own experience; but, I was very pleased with my AI’s performance. I do not have tramps, because I worry that strong winds such as experienced during this storm could flip the boat. The boat seemed rock-solid as I tacked the 1 mile to shore in winds reaching gale proportions. Because the fetch was short (1 mile) and the water in this area is not deep (2-10 ft at low tide), the waves were not severe—I’ve been out in lesser winds with larger waves. Probably the other 3 boats mentioned, having a longer fetch, experienced larger waves. The WETA, which capsized immediately after the storm struck, may have been affected by waves, even a waterspout, and the fact that it had tramps and rides somewhat higher than the comparable Hobie Tandem of Tyro and PaddleCarver. Judging from Tyro’s comment, their tandem AI, with the new up/down rudder, handled the storm fine. I assume they had their tramps deployed, although they had totally furled their sail and kept their boat headed downwind. Sounds like a recipe to handle a storm.

Chief, in his videos, said his bow went completely underwater, and he feared capsizing, but, his inflatable amas brought him back up. He had strong praise for his amas.

My SPOT was tethered and in the cockpit mesh pocket during the storm. It is 3-yrs old now, has never been protected like my VHF radio & GPS, and keeps on ticking. Still, a number of WaterTribe competitors had trouble with their SPOT devices.

Keith

Quote:
Because of this thread length, I have made a Table of Contents. This Table is on P. 22, http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&start=315

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"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


Last edited by Chekika on Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:54 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:23 pm 
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Chief's boat is for sale over at the watertribe site if anyone's interested. Kinda pricy compared to an AI of TI though. The bigger tri called the Tridarka Raider is also for sale for about half that.

Dan

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:20 am 
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Keith, I was watching that "wall of doom" from the comfort of my chair on the radar, and wondering which EC participants were caught, and where.

I don't know what has gone wrong in my brain, but I still want to do the EC some day. :shock: :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:26 am 
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Hi Tom,

This was a particularly difficult EC this year. Only 30 out of 70 boats completed the course. Part of that failure rate was probably due to a lot of 1st time entrants. I think the finish rate is pretty low for 1st timers.

When I got my AI almost 4 yrs ago, I had in mind doing the EC. I think it would be a "fun" thing to do, but it clearly takes a lot of commitment, both before the race and during. For 1st timers, I think it is also important to have a partner, so you don't get that "what the hell am I doing this for?" attitude at the end of a long, tough day--a bad feeling if you are alone and discouraged.

Also, I think you really need to scope out the whole trip, i.e., sail and camp the whole course. It would be your "practice," although not doing the 15-18 hr days the EC requires. You would do it at a slower pace. It could almost be enjoyable.

Go for it. I would join you on some practice days.

Keith

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"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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 Post subject: Missouri River
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:54 am 
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Just got back from a 4 day, 3 night trip on my AI. Put in at Glasgow, MO and took out at the Hartsburg Access about 67 miles later. It was awesome! The first day I had a great broad reach wind, but it was a little puffy and shifty. I've never sailed a boat that jibed as easily as this one. I guess that not having a deck sweeping boom helps! Did about 32 miles. Primitive camping each night. Real primitive, like no facilities at all. Just find a spot and pitch your tent.

Second day there wasn't much wind, so I just floated on the 4 mph current. Very restful. The tramps were very handy, I had my jar of peanuts, water, maps, monoculars, GPS, protein bars all within easy reach. The only thing I didn't like about the tramps was that you can't paddle with them. I really like to use a paddle for maneuverability when I'm taking off from shore. Did about 22 miles that day. Found a really nice camp spot and decided to spend the next day there.

Third day spent reading a good book and relaxing in camp.

Fourth day, went about 13 miles to the take out. Wind was right on the nose, but blowing pretty hard so I decided to tack down river. Luckily, there was about a 3-4 mph current so I was still making pretty good headway. Very wet and wild.

I forgot to mention that I did this on my own and it was a lot of fun! Here are a few photos I took http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/580055889yVtHOE


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:46 am 
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Sounds & looks like a good trip, kro. Seems like the next step is to make your way down to the Mississippi (or start there) and head down to the Gulf--about 1000 mi, I would guess. What do you think of that?

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:03 am 
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Ummm, pretty big jump from 65 miles to 1,000! :shock:
Sounds pretty cool though, but maybe work up to it? :)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:32 pm 
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Are you ready! Planned Chokoloskee to Flamingo Trip, Jan 16-22, 2012

This year's 7-day, camping trip along the Gulf coast of the Everglades from Chokoloskee to Flamingo is being set up. The tentative schedule:

Jan 16, 2012 Chokoloskee to Pavilion (9 mi)
Jan 17 Fishing day/relaxing—Pavilion is justifiably referred to as the "Gem of the Everglades." Pavilion is a guaranteed “fish fry night.”
Jan 18 Pavilion Key to Highland Beach (20 mi)
Jan 19 Fishing day/relaxing—fish Broad River or Lostman's River. Alternatively, relax and enjoy Highland Beach. HB is a terrific place to spend some time.
Jan 20 Highland Beach to Graveyard (8 mi)—this stretch of shoreline has some of the best fishing in Florida.
Jan 21 Graveyard to Middle Cape (16 mi)—Catch fish along way.
Jan 22 Middle Cape Sable to Flamingo (15 mi)


I’ve posted several trip reports previously on this thread--the link to last year's trip is http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&start=150

There are 2 ways to participate in this trip. (1) Do the whole, 7-day trip. This is a most relaxing trip and a great way to see coastal everglades. (2) Do the first 3 days of the trip. This part of the trip is simply a 3-day camp trip out of Chokoloskee to Pavilion Key. On the 3rd day, the through-trippers would continue south to Flamingo. The people who can't do that would return to Chokoloskee. A good time would be had by all. Pavilion Key is a great camping destination with a beautiful beach, with good fishing, and lots marine life--even raccoons to entertain you at night.

*********************************************************************************************************************************************
As of Dec 16, 5 AIs (Nancy, Joshua Morgan, Rick Parks, Jim Quinlan, myself) are planning for the full trip. Mark Krawatsky, Maria & Steve Sanders and maybe Tom Reese (all w/ TIs and all near Boynton Beach) are doing the 3-day to Pavilion. Charlie Fast (Tampa) with his TI will do the full trip if he can find time in his work schedule.

I try to help people get their cars/boats to the right place for this trip, so let me know as early as possible if you are interested in participating.
*********************************************************************************************************************************************


If you have any questions, post them here or send an email to me at kwellma at bellsouth dot net.

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


Last edited by Chekika on Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:50 pm 
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Advice for camping out on an AI/TI on our 7-day Chok-FLM trip

1. Rule 1: “Less is more” The experienced backpacker has a sensible mindset for an extended trip. The rest of us must work at reducing our load size to ease the chore of making and breaking camp. Nancy & I carry lots of stuff. We like some luxuries when we camp. Still, we try to carry less. The less stuff you take, the easier & faster your packing. The easier it is to find things. And, the faster your boat will go.

Corollary: lists are helpful here. One of my gear lists is at the bottom of the page, http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&start=150 More of my lists with some discussion are at http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&start=60 Scroll down until you find “AI Camping lists.” You will see in my lists a “Water List.” It is really a spreadsheet which makes it easy to decide the amounts of water/Gatorade/beer to take, and, of course, it totals it as you make adjustments—easy to keep it around 7 gal for a 7-day trip.

Finally, if you have taken the time to make lists, you must check off each item on a list as it is put in your boat or vehicle to be transported to the launch. In other words, use your lists.

2. Rule 2: “Down size, down size, down size” And, then, downsize more. A small tent is good. Keep cooking gear to a minimum. That big sleeping bag can be put into a Granite Gear “compression bag.” (Maybe, if it is going to be warm, you don’t need that big sleeping bag.) Also, your tent can go in a compression bag: http://www.rei.com/product/797346/granite-gear-compressor-sack These bags need to be kept off the bottom of your boat to avoid water.

Sea to Summit has come out with some interesting compression dry bags:
http://www.rei.com/product/730882/sea-to-summit-event-compression-dry-sack

3. Water—the rule is 1 gallon/person/day—7 days, 7 gal. There is not really much to discuss about this. There is absolutely no fresh water along the route. Water filters DO NOT WORK on salt water. You do not need more than 7 gal for a 7 day trip. You can probably get by on 6.5 gal. Still, 7 gal gives you a bit of insurance in case you or someone has an accident and loses some water. That would be serious if you were by yourself, but the group can make it up. We carry most of our water in Dromedary bags (http://www.rei.com/product/733948/msr-dromedary-bag-10-liter). They come in 4, 6, & 10 liter sizes. They are a bit expensive, but they last for 10-20 years. I would not buy the “lite” Dromedary bags—they are less sturdy. Interestingly, raccoons (see below) have never bothered our Dromedary bags—we can leave them out over night. We also carry bottles of Gatorade—these can be placed wherever they fit in your boat. Of course, the Gatorade counts towards your water quotient.

4. Out houses—there are out houses on Pavilion, but that is about it. Graveyard has out houses, but we don’t camp at Graveyard proper, but rather at a place we call Scorpion Beach. Graveyard, 10 years ago, was one of our favorite campsites, but it has just been beat to death by hurricanes in recent years. Now we like Scorpion beach.

Bottom line, only Pavilion has out houses; everywhere else, it is “dig a cat hole.” Be sure to bring tp and trowel.

5. Chair—some of you may think a chair is a luxury. We don’t, at least not at our age. A chair is so nice at the end of a long day. It gets you up to the level of your companions, who will all have chairs. BassPro stores have excellent 3-legged chairs. It is impossible to find a simple 4-legged chair today—they all have these huge arms w/ cup holders, nice but hard to fit on an AI/TI. Now, if you use tramps, you could easily store your chair(s) on them.

6. Tent—this is a very personal choice. You do need to have noseeum netting. If you use an old tent with mosquito netting, it means you will likely be the noseeum entrée the first night on Pavilion. It is nice to have 2 doors which allow you some option avoiding mosquitoes as you get in/out of your tent. Most campsites are sandy beaches. Don’t be caught without 12” plastic tent stakes (Campmor #21768) to fasten critical corners and lines. 6” or 9” plastic stakes can be used at less stressed points. Aluminum, metal tubular, and y stakes will not hold on beaches in strong winds. A tent accessory that Nancy & I use are two simple plastic car mats—one in front of each tent door. This gives you a non-sandy area to place your feet before getting in your tent. The mat(s) can easily be stowed flat in the cargo area at your boat’s stern. Now to tents themselves…. My new personal tent is an “REI Half Dome 2 Plus.” It is 42” high, 38 sq ft floor space, weighs about 4.5 lbs. The tent Nancy & I will share on this trip is a Mountain Hardware Hammerhead 3. It is a 3-season, 2-door tent w/ lots of netting. We have used it down to 22ºF—at this temperature you need good sleeping bags. This tent is 55” high w/ 45 sq ft floor space. It is a bit on the heavy side at about 8 lbs. You can certainly get smaller tents than we use, but we like the “luxury” of a little extra space. Yes, I know, we haven’t downsized as much as possible here.

Tent poles need special care to keep them from coming in contact with saltwater. They will probably work fine for the duration of a week trip, but, subsequent to saltwater contact, they will corrode sitting in the closet and they will not fit together again. Or, if you leave them stored with the connection engaged, you will not be able to get them apart & folded for your next trip.

7. Bug repellent/Head nets—speaking of bugs, be sure to bring a can of DEET bug repellent. It can be in an aerosol can or some hand pump. It should be at least 18% Deet, but 25% is better. Bug suits made of noseeum netting are available. These are useful when it is warm, like in Nov or mid-March. During our Jan trip, the temperatures should be moderate to cool, so a bug suit is not necessary; however, a head net can be useful. Remember, it has to be noseeum mesh. A key requirement, if possible, is to camp in an open, breezy space. Avoid camping near mangroves or vegetation. Bugs are not a problem on the water.

8. Mobile phones—phone service is thin to non-existent in most of the Everglades. Phones with AT&T service work at Pavilion, but you may have to find an active spot. They may work on NW Cape. They work standing at one point on East Cape Sable, if we should stop there. That is about it. They don’t work that well in Chokoloskee; they work fair in Everglades City.

9. GPS—you can’t go wrong with a handheld Garmin. The Garmin GPSMAP 76Cx is on sale at West Marine for $149.99—this is one of the absolute best handheld GPS’s ever made. If you have a Garmin, I can give you a waypoint/route file for the whole trip. Ideally, we would all have a Garmin with the same waypoint/route file. That way, we all end up at the same place every night. If you have something other than a Garmin or no GPS, we can manage that.

If you want a minimal GPS, that would be the Garmin eTrex H—it is still a quality GPS but not in the class of the 76. These units use AA batteries, so they can be used on extended camping trips. While most GPS units claim to be waterproof, don’t trust the claim. Keep your GPS in a dry bag while on the water.

10. Charts—For those people who like to have charts handy, NOAA nautical charts covering ENP and 10,000 islands area are #11430, 11432, 11433, and 11451. NOAA charts are now available for downloading: http://www.nauticalchartsonline.com/n.c/NauticalChartsOnline.html

Pasadena Hotspot, Inc. publishes easy to read “Top Spot” waterproof maps. The Top Spot maps are #N206, N204, and N207. http://www.offshoremapping.com/ProductCart/pc/viewcategories.asp?idCategory=42

There is also a very nice waterproof “Trails Illustrated Topo Map” It is number 243 and covers Everglades National Park. http://www.amazon.com/Everglades-National-Trails-Illustrated-Geographic/dp/1566954096/ref=sr_1_111?ie=UTF8&qid=1323965346&sr=8-111 It is not very good for navigating, but it gives a great overview of the park.

11. VHF radio—a marine radio is both a safety necessity and a way for us to keep in touch on the water. One that is water proof (to 1 meter depth for 30 min), floats, has excellent battery life and lots of features, is the Cobra MR HH425LI VP 15-channel VHF/GMRS 2-Way Marine Radio, $120.52 +shipping at Amazon. I believe the “15-Channel” is part of the GMRS feature. An inexpensive one with fewer features is the Midland Nautico 3VP, $51.76+shipping at Amazon. Nancy & I have used a Uniden Voyager TI for years. It can only be found on Ebay now, but at a great price, usually about $55 for a refurbished unit. You can buy an extra battery so you have a backup for 7 days. VHF radios use a “line-of-sight” system. Your radio must be able to “see” the antenna of the target radio. Because our antennas are only about 3’ above ground level when sailing, these radios are limited to a broadcast distance of about 2 miles. To reduce battery consumption, have your transmit power on 1 watt.

12. SPOT—this is a very useful device. It has certainly saved lives. It costs about $100 and requires a yearly subscription ($100/yr) to activate and use. http://www.findmespot.com/en/ I use mine a couple times each day on a trip (that includes driving trips & international trips.) At the end of the day, when we have reached our destination, I send an “OK” signal. This signal activates an email message, which goes to a dozen or so people I have designated before the trip. SPOT has a GPS, so the message it sends to people also has a link to Google Earth which shows them exactly where you were, when you sent the message. SPOT also has a “Send Help” signal. I’ve never used it, but it goes to a few people selected by you, who will get someone to go to you and fix something or tow you someplace. Finally, SPOT has a “911” button. When this signal is sent, again with GPS coordinates, appropriate authorities in your area are notified that you are in a life-threatening situation and need emergency help.

13. Personal EPIRB—these are devices are similar in purpose to SPOT except they are generally less functional. Their signal is detected by Government satellites. SPOT uses commercial satellites. Some people claim EPIRBs are more reliable than SPOT, and that may be true. You can read about one EPIRB at http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product2_11151_10001_180379_-1____ProductDisplayErrorView

14. Raccoons—Place all food and water in secure hatches by sundown. Weapons are not allowed in ENP; hence, raccoons have no fear of people. They will work tirelessly to steal your food. They bite into unprotected water containers. They swim. They climb trees. Smelly food or trash in your cockpit invites intense raccoon activity during the night. Never have food in your tent. Never feed these shrewd, deceptively friendly-appearing animals. They are dangerous and will get their share of your food and water if you are not vigilant. I don’t like to talk about rats on the islands. These rats are what we called “field mice” when I was a kid in South Dakota. Most islands don’t have a problem, but a couple years ago someone poisoned the raccoons on Pavilion, and the rats flourished. I believe the raccoons have made a comeback, and the rats are back under control. If that is the case, we won’t see any rats. Rats are worse than raccoons. Rats chew more and think less.

15. Campfire policy—some folks must have a campfire after dinner; others feel it despoils the environment. Park Service policy allows campfires only on beach sites, and they must be below the high tide line. The policy doesn’t specify which high tide line. Unfortunately, some people build fires anywhere and leave unsightly ashes and partially burned wood, even broken glass in campfires. If you build a campfire with enlisted help of others, dig a 1-ft deep fire pit in the sand below the previous 24-hr high tide line. Let your fire burn until only ashes remain. Finally, remove all fire vestiges by refilling the hole. The next high tide will return the site to its natural state.

On extended trips, campfires can be used to burn trash. Always sit upwind of campfires to avoid natural toxins and allergens. Some people are allergic to campfire smoke or have respiratory problems. In addition to helping manage trash, campfires keep mosquitoes at bay, if you sit close enough to the fire—on a cold night, that is easy to do. Pavilion Key does not have a lot of handy material for a fire; most other beach sites do.

16. Headlamp—headlamps are much better around camp than a flashlight. You can get inexpensive ones at Wal Mart and Sports Authority. Some of the better ones are water resistant. I keep mine under the brim of my hat if it is raining. I use a Petzl Tikka XP 2 LED. Nancy uses a Petzl Zipka 2 LED.

17. Mattress Pad—Exped Synmat 9 Deluxe Air Pads—these are truly luxurious. http://www.rei.com/product/780369/exped-synmat-9-deluxe-air-pad-with-pump If you are in the market for a sleeping pad, and you want a little luxury, any of the Synmat air mattresses are great—very well made, durable. They are amazingly comfortable. Part of our excuse for such luxury, is that we car camp 3-4 weeks in the Rockies every summer. In addition, we probably do 3 weeks or more AI-camping in SFL, and, as I say, these air pads are just great. In addition, I carry a quart-size air pump. Well, I do have 2 mattresses to pump up! But, alas, downsizing takes a back seat here.

18. Sun Protection—the sun in south Florida is unrelenting and brutal. You must take precautions to avoid sun damage to skin. Lips: Sun screen is an absolute necessity. Lips have no pigment or sun protection. Use 30 SPF lip balm. A multi-day trip is no place to learn that your lips are very sun sensitive and can develop painful cold sores (fever blisters, herpes simplex virus.) If you are prone to cold sores, bring a tube of Abreva® and use at first sign of an outbreak. Face and arms: Sun screen is an absolute necessity for exposed skin. The sun-smart person wears a wide-brimmed hat with a neck cape and long-sleeved, quick-dry, vented shirts. If that is uncomfortable, at least wear a T-shirt and use SPF 30 or higher. Sun screen should be reapplied every 2 hrs. Hands: Paddling gloves ($15-30) help avoid skin cancer. Your hands are exposed for extended hours daily. Put on waterproof SPF 30 or higher sun screen before getting on the water. In addition, use paddling gloves.

I’ve had a grand slam in skin cancer: squamous cell, basal cell, and melanoma. While the first 2 are slow spreading, and usually easily managed if caught early, melanoma is just the opposite—it can spread fast and is very dangerous. It is best to prevent these diseases rather than play catch-up.

19. Fishing—we will sail along some of the best shoreline for inshore fishing in Florida. We have hooked tarpon, redfish, snook, and sea trout. Of course, we have also caught too many catfish and gafftopsail catfish. We regularly catch jacks and, sometimes, Spanish mackerel. There is even the occasional shark. Of course, you could catch all the sharks you want if you put out a chunk of fresh fish. But, the one reliable eating fish is the ubiquitous sea trout. It is a very good eating fish and can be found all along the coast. The sure-fire rig for trout is a Cajun Thunder rattling cork with 2-3’ of 15-20# fluorocarbon leader with a hook attached. For bait, I use Berkeley Gulp! 3’ or 4’ Glow shrimp—a bag or 2 of these will be enough for the whole trip. While the Cajun Thunder cork will work, I prefer the Bayside Paradise Popper Float. Either cork w/ a Gulp! Shrimp is deadly for sea trout and will get us a fish fry dinner 2-3 nights of the trip. Here are some links so you know what I am talking about:
http://www.basspro.com/Precision-Tackle-Cajun-Thunder-Float/product/10215451/235824
http://www.basspro.com/Paradise-Popper-XTreme-Float-8-Popper/product/42936501/230055
http://www.basspro.com/Berkley®-Gulp!®-Saltwater-Shrimp/product/72346/200733 (sorry, this is not recognized as a link, but it works if you cut & paste it.)

One caveat: Fishing opportunities will be variable. On last year’s trip, we only fished one day. It was at Broad River on our layover day at Highland Beach. And, while we caught a disgusting number of Gafftopsail fish, we only caught 2 sea trout. At least, at the end of the day, I realized we were fishing in the wrong spot (we fished all over the mouth of the river.) We should have been fishing right in front of our campsite!

My point is that sailing days can be long and difficult. By the time you break camp, tack into the wind for 4-5 hrs, and set up camp, you are not in the mood for going back out fishing. So, we will play it by ear. Hopefully we will have 2-3 fish fry nights.

20. General information—A permit is required for camping in the backcountry of ENP. The permit costs $10 plus $2/person/night—it is a bargain. Stiff fines are levied against people who do not have a permit. The permit must be obtained in person no more than 24 hrs before the trip begins at either the Flamingo Visitor Center or the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades City. Excellent information about permits and backcountry camping in the Park can be obtained online at http://www.nps.gov/ever/upload/WildernessTripPlanner.pdf

21. Clothes—I’ll discuss this item separately.

Keith

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"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


Last edited by Chekika on Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:03 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:48 pm 
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Thanks for that Keith. Great information. Even the info that was non related to me, due to location, was interesting. Sounds like your raccoons are our possums, but yours sound more destructive. Our possums would possibly be catagorised as 'comical' although I'm sure others would have some 'not so funny' stories.

I totally agree with Rules 1 and 2. For me, possibly the hardest part of the trip is the culling ritual before I leave. I seem to get a bit p'd off when I say 'I should have brought ......!' and then when I get home, I say ' Why did I take ....???'
( possibly also a check list could be added as a rule )

I can also relate to your comments about comfort which is one of the reasons I'm going down the hammock path. Personnal opinion I know, but for me, I can finally get the same nights sleep that I can at home and as a bonus, if it's warm, you don't need to take a bed roll which then ticks your Rule 1 box.

Thanks again mate. With your 1 or 2 years of outdoor activities under your belt :wink: , I always take your comments and suggestions on board.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:17 pm 
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Why not a gps with a touch screen like the oregon 200 for $200? The interface is so much more intuitive than trying to press those tiny bottons and remembering which one does what..

J

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:39 pm 
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More typical price is north of $350. Where did you see them at $200 other than refurb ones?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:01 am 
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There are a number of different models of the Garmin Oregon GPS series ranging in price from $200-$500. The series has been around awhile, but, IMO, it is still not a mature product--it has bugs (maybe the high end models have corrected the bugs, maybe.) It is also difficult to read on the water at times.

The Garmin GPSMAP 76 is a mature product and extremely reliable. If not exposed to saltwater, it will last 6 years or more. At $150, the 76 is a real bargain. For $210 at Amazon, you can get a 76CSx which has a compass & barometer/altimeter. Personally, I never use the compass feature--you have a gps!--but some people can't be without their compass. The altimeter is nice if you are trekking in the Rockies. The barometer may be helpful to see which way the weather is headed--but we use our VHF radios for weather reports.

Keith

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:57 am 
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kayakman7 wrote:
Why not a gps with a touch screen like the Oregon 200 for $200? The interface is so much more intuitive than trying to press those tiny buttons and remembering which one does what..


Kayakman, in my experience, touch screens don't work well in a wet environment. And believe me, our AI trips are definitely a wet environment! Some of the guys leave their GPS in a clear plastic waterproof bag and manage to use the buttons through the soft plastic. That works to protect the GPS, but a touch screen won't work there either.

I use an older Garmin GPSmap 60csx. I have had it for about 4 years and it gets exposed to saltwater regularly. I rinse it thoroughly and dry it every time it gets wet. I also keep the covers and gaskets lightly lubed with silicone grease - the same stuff I use on my AI hatch gaskets. So far I haven't had a corrosion problem.

I use my GPS very often, even when I travel, so using the menus has become sort of second nature for me - like using my cell phone. I certainly agree it can be frustrating in the beginning.

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