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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:13 am 
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Location: Clearwater, Fl
Chekika wrote:
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.

FYI, anyone looking for a GPS, West Marine is running a special on the Garmin76CX @ $149.00. There's a major difference in the screen readability of the 76CX color screen compared to the grayscale GPS76.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:56 pm 
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How does it compare to the Garmin eTrex Legend HCx?

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM"
www.scenefromabove.com.au


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:58 pm 
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Hi Tony,

The following link compares the 76CSx to the Legend HCx. The 76CSx has a compass & barometer/altimeter, otherwise it is the same as the 76Cx. The link: http://www.thegpsstore.com/handheld-gps-consumer-comparison.aspx

The biggest difference won't be in the comparison table at the above link. The 76 has very convenient buttons on its front, above the screen. The Legend has its buttons on the side--not as many buttons, and, much, much less convenient.

Also, the 76 has a screen area almost 50% more than the Legend: 3.3 sq in vs 2.2 sq in. They are about the same resolution.

The battery life for the Legend is longer (25 hr/2 AA batt vs 18 hr/2 AA batt).

The legend is lighter: 5.5 oz vs 7.7 oz.

The 76 floats, I believe. Not sure about the Legend.

They are comparable in price for the West Marine 76Cx and the Legend HCx, but the 76 is a major improvement over the Legend, IMO.

According to the Garmin site, the 76 has been discontinued (the 76 has been superceded by the 78); the Legend is still in production. Garmin is clearly still producing the 76--you can buy the 76Cx on sale at West Marine and the 76CSx at a number of mail order sites.

I'm sitting here watching a bowl game as I type this--hey, it is Christmas eve!

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday and great New Year!

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 Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:48 pm 
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Wow, thanks for the comprehensive answer!

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM"
www.scenefromabove.com.au


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 5:22 pm 
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Well it took a couple afternoons, but I did get through the thread. Very enjoyable read about the Everglades trips, concise but with just enough photos & well written, inspiring! Just starting my research, but already looking forward to a TI this spring.

For what it's worth I have a 9ish year old 76S that still chugs along exactly like the day it was new. Although I haven't used it in a couple years, it got me in and out of some wild and remote places snowmobiling in Alaska. And yea, it floats.

The new Garmin Montana series looks interesting.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:18 am 
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Location: South Florida
Tiger Key Camping Trip, Feb 10-12, 2012; Paddle In (Sail In), Feb 11

I propose an AI/TI camping trip to Tiger Key on Feb 10-12, Friday to Sunday. This camping trip is a beginner trip—Tiger Key is only about 9 mi due west of the Everglades National Park headquarters in Everglades City. We would launch from Park headquarters and leave our cars parked there. Because of the tides, we would need to launch no later than 8:30 AM Friday. We would return to ENP Hqtrs about 3 pm Sunday. For those who want to combine this with a fishing day, we could stay an extra day.

Coincidental with the camping trip is Captain Wright’s Paddle-in (Sail-in) Saturday, Feb 11

Every year, Captain Charles Wright, Everglades Kayak Fishing in Chokoloskee, puts on a “Paddle In” which usually draws over 100 kayak fisherpersons. You can read about it here:
http://www.evergladeskayakfishing.com/ekf-events.htm

Two years ago, 4 AIs and a sea kayaker camped on Tiger Key and then sailed over to the Paddle In, about 3 miles. Anyone is welcome. They serve brats, clam chowder, etc. They ask for a $10 donation, which they use for charitable purposes—however, even that is optional. It is a fun gathering, especially if you combine it with a camping trip. You can read about our camping trip at
http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&start=120
Scroll down until you see Tiger Key, a Paddle-In, Fishing—an Everglades trip.

Capt. Wright does ask for people to RSVP him, so he knows how many people to prepare for. I would take care of RSVPing him, but would need to know how many of us are planning to do the trip.

My plan is to pick up the permit on Thursday, unless one of our group is staying in EC/Chok overnight before the trip—if so, they could get the permit.

Most of you probably do not know that we have a little competition going on with the Aussies about who can gather the most AI/TIs in one spot. Currently, because of our recent trip where we had 8 boats on Pavilion Key, we are tied for the record. Maybe we could beat it with this trip.

Set a record or not, please let me know if you plan to make this trip. It should be another fun one.

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 Feb 08, 2012 9:35 pm 
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Location: South Florida
Chokoloskee to Flamingo, Jan 16-23, 2012
An Inauspicious Beginning: One Sunken AI, One Empty Bottle of Scotch

In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow sails his near sunken ship into port unfazed by his boat’s buoyancy.

Image


That is how I felt as I sailed my largely submerged AI onto the flat in front of Pavilion Key—in full view of my sailing partners who I was supposed to be leading on a weeklong trip.

Yep, I sunk my boat. It was not a cracked hull, not a stingray piercing, or a shark attack, not a croc mistaking it for a Burmese Python. No, none of those. Pure and simple operator error.

I left the middle hatch open—the hatch cover immediately in front of me. I think this is how it happened. It was getting near low tide as we wove our way through the passes from Chokoloskee Bay out to the Gulf of Mexico. I had already run aground because I was not paying close enough attention. At one point I thought, “This is my first time loading this new boat for camping. I need to look inside to see if there is any water.” I opened the hatch and everything was dry. Worrying that I might run too close to shore, I looked up as I closed the hatch. Normally, I would seat the hatch using my fist to act as a mallet. Don’t know if I did that.

Around one corner of the pass was a powerboat high & dry waiting for the tide. At that corner the pass widens to about 300’ across. However, in the middle is a large oyster bar. One can go aground as these boaters found out. Since the tide was still falling, these folks would have a 3-4 hr wait before they would float free. They were likely stuck there an hour already. All powerboaters staying in the channel would wave solemnly as they speed by. Embarrassing. Some of us waved as we clung close to the mangroves in a deep cut. Can you imagine the boaters’ chagrin seeing 8 sail boats move smoothly past them?

Well, back to my own looming “problem.” Unknown to me, I apparently did not get my hatch closed. As we reached the Gulf, winds picked up—about 14-15 mph (23 km). I do remember one gust causing the boat to heel more than usual, but it recovered quickly, and I did not give it more thought. At one point, Marc furled his sail, and I turned back to see if he had a problem. By radio, he said he was just getting a jacket out. Near Little Pavilion Key, I smartly passed my wife, Nancy. We still had a mile to go to our camp on Pavilion Key. Everyone passed on the North side of Little Pavilion except Marc. I was watching him pass to the south. Shortly after, a strong gust almost capsized my boat—that got my attention. I didn’t understand why that happened. I scrambled to furl my sail. At about the same time I noticed that my cockpit was full of water, and my hatch cover was 2” below water. Then, unbelievably, I saw my lunch sandwich in a baggie float out of the hatch. Take a moment and try to imagine what I thought. Well, it was pretty straight forward: “My boat is full of water!” I tried to close the hatch, but it seemed every line and cord in the cockpit was preventing the hatch from closing—not that it made any difference. I finally got the hatch closed, and then assessed my situation. My amas were still floating nicely. My bow, while diving through waves even more than usual, was still above water. Hell, if Capt Jack Sparrow could sail into port with a half sunken ship, so could I. I unfurled my sail about one third and began to pedal.

Nancy sailed by and called over, “You are sinking,” as if she were telling me something new.

By the time I reached the shallow flat off the north shore of Pavilion, people were walking the 300’ toward me. One must have been carrying a pump, because we had two pumps. Charlie Fast began pumping out my front hatch. Marc joined in opposite him. An occasional wave would wash over the hatch opening and reverse the process. I spelled Charlie. I think Tom Reese pitched in. Maybe others. Marc pumped continuously and vigorously. In what seemed fairly short order, most of the water was out.

Jim Quinlan later remarked that, “There was a lot of water in the boat.” Actually, it wasn’t as much as it might have been, because the boat had a lot of gear in it, much in dry bags. They undoubtedly reduced the available volume in the hull and served as some floatation, although most of the “dry bags” leaked to varying degrees, as is typical when submerged. My “land” camera was in a nylon dry bag. It is the last thing I put in the front hatch—it stayed dry. My sleeping bag, not in a dry bag, but in a nylon compression bag, is placed high in the bow—it was dry. Our tent and my sleeping pad, not in dry bags, got wet but dried quickly. My ditty bag with lots of personal items was in an old “dry” bag with a poor seal. That dry bag was in an OR nylon dry bag. Both bags leaked badly and everything got wet. Fortunately, my SealLine Kodak 20 Tapered dry bag with clothes, which I place in the very front of the bow, did not leak. I had dry clothes to change into when we got my refloated boat to shore. It was one of the few times I appreciated Everglades skinny waters.

The bottom line
Capt Chekika, bowed but not broken, would push on and finish the week-long trip. Unfortunately, neither I nor anyone else took pictures. But, take my word, it happened.

Here is the group of hardy AI/TI sailors who reached Pavilion Key that first day. From left to right, Mark Krawatsky, Tom Reese, Rick Parks (head down), Nancy, setting in front of Charlie Fast, Jim Quinlan, and Josh Morgan.
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My flooded hull was not the only problem that day. Mark had a bottle of Scotch in his boat. When he opened his hatch to pack at Smallwood’s Museum in Chokoloskee, he found the bottle cap had come off and its contents spilled into the hull. A bystander remarked that his boat smelled good.


Day 2 is always a fishing day on Pavilion. Here is Marc, enjoying his first day camping out of an AI. He is up early anticipating a spectacular fishing day.
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Rick is a serious fisherman.
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Different ways to fish from an AI
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Rewards of good day fishing. Rick shows off his filleting skills, while Jim, Marc, Tom, and Josh look on admiringly.
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The Beach Manager struts about approvingly.
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Just as sure as Day 2 is a fishing day, it is also a fish fry night. Jim is helping Nancy with the fish fry. Tom Reese with a dish of fish, mashed potatoes, salad, sliced tomatoes.
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We are now distinctly 2 groups: (1) those returning to Chokoloskee, and (2) those heading south to Flamingo, about 60 miles. Those returning to Chokoloskee were relatively inexperienced and a bit anxious about the return. They wanted to get an early start—Charlie exemplified that group. He gives me thumbs up. Jim, having a leisurely breakfast, was typical of the group heading south. It was going to be a slow day. No hurry. Hopefully, the wind will come up as the day wears on.
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Another picture showing the priority differences of the 2 groups.
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They’re off!
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In due time, our group of Nancy, Jim, Josh, Rick, and myself head in the opposite direction. There is no wind. Our destination is Highland Beach (20 mi, 32 km).
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Capt. Chekika—A self-photo for those wondering what I look like.
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Jim seems to be rather enjoying this slow day on the water.
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After several hours of mostly pedaling, we approach Hog Key, our backup destination (13 mi, 23 km). It looks too inviting to pass; although, Rick has reservations. Last year, we stopped at Hog Key and were nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes. Rick insisted that they were actually the “hogs” that Hog Key was named after. I pointed out that “Just because we can spit and roast them, does not make them hogs—they are mosquitoes, Everglades mosquitoes.”
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Hog Key beach camp. Last year, the tide was too high and we had to camp amongst the brush & mangroves—mosquito heaven. Rick, Jim, Nancy, Josh.
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Hog Key sunset
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Preparing to leave Hog Key
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We only have 7 miles (11 km) to Highland Beach. We will be on schedule, because we had planned a layover day on Highland. It will be another slow day without wind. As the following pictures show, being on the water is a good way to spend a “layover” day.

Jim
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Josh
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Rick
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Nancy
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Highland Beach, 1 mi north of our campsite
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At our Highland Beach camp, Josh demonstrates the “Instaflator,” an ingenious device for inflating air mattresses.
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Instaflator YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJLVYfg88TE


Highland Beach camp at sunset
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We had a campfire almost every night, thanks to Josh. Josh is literally a “fireman” in real life. Also, thanks to Josh & Jim. For each fire, they dug a fire pit on the beach, burned the wood to ashes. Each morning, there were no signs of the previous night’s fire. That is the way to treat a wilderness beach.
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Ready to leave Highland
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Today was another short day, about 8 mi to Graveyard. However, Rick and I would fish the mouth of the historically famous Harney River. My namesake, Chief Chekika, was killed in this area in December of 1840 by an American expedition force under the leadership of Lt. Col. William Harney. Later, the river was named after him. It was Harney’s successful raid that showed that it was possible, with the aid of Indian scouts, to track the Seminole Indians to their most secret hideaways in the Everglades.

Rick and I near Shark Point. Around the point is Graveyard camp site and beyond that, Scorpion Beach where we normally camp. At this point we have lost touch with Jim, who went exploring up Harney River. Fortunately, he had the route on his GPS and turned up later.
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Nancy was already there, but, then we received a radio communication saying maybe it would be better to camp at Graveyard proper. Josh said graveyard was great, “mowed grass, table, outhouses.” I’m not so sure about “mowed grass,” but graveyard did have a table and outhouses—2 of them. Like many of the Everglades campsites, Graveyard is really aimed at powerboaters. It was one of our favorite campsites until 2004-2005, when it was effectively destroyed by several hurricanes passing over the area. With so many downed trees on its shoreline, it was not appealing, especially with our space-loving trimaran sail boats.

The shore line of Graveyard.
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But, Josh was there, and he liked it. Nancy was down at Scorpion Beach. Here is a picture from last year.
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Josh was so taken with Graveyard, that he went to Scorpion Beach and helped Nancy move.

Nancy & I squeezed our boats in here.
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The Table: Nancy, Jim, Josh, and Rick
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Sunset from Graveyard
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Josh got this beautiful picture the next morning at sunrise as the tide runs out.
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I got this picture a little later.
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Clearly, Graveyard is not a place you want to arrive at low tide. Under certain conditions, Graveyard is the noseeum capital of the Universe—fortunately, bugs were relatively mild during our visit. Of course, we did have a fire in the evening, thanks to Josh.

As we left Graveyard, the raccoons were already checking out the barrel fire site (probably another reason Josh liked Graveyard—no hole to dig and return to its natural state.) I was in such a rush to get this picture that I did not let the camera focus. Sorry.
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We moved on to Northwest Cape Sable (12 mi, 19 km). Our destination was actually 4 mi further at Middle Cape, but it was another slow day on the water, and Jim, Rick, Nancy, and I were in no hurry. Perhaps the wind would be better tomorrow and we could make it up. However, Josh had to keep to our schedule because he needed to be back at work Monday. He left us and pushed on the Mid Cape. We all wished him well, by VHF radio, on the rest of his trip.


Tracks on Northwest Cape beach.
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Sunset on NW Cape
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On the penultimate day, we pushed on to East Cape Sable (10 mi, 19 km). We stopped about 2 pm. We could have gone on to Flamingo, another 11 mi, but we would have had to tack into a headwind of 13-14 mph (12 kts.) Then, Nancy, Rick & myself would have had to unpack our gear, load it onto my trailer (3 AIs), and drive 60 mi through urban traffic. Jim’s job was only slightly easier, he loaded into his pickup truck, but he had a much longer drive. Compare that to sitting on the beach at East Cape Sable and going in at a reasonable hour the next day. It was a no-brainer.

Camp on East Cape Sable
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Nancy relaxing with her Kindle
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Sunset
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The last preparation
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The last day was still a long day. We were up about 7 am; had breakfast, broke camp, packed boats, and were on the water by 10:30 am as planned. The wind was from the ESE at about 12-14 mph—we would have to tack into the wind the 11 miles back to FLM. It took us 3½ hrs. Nancy and my track on Google Earth image.
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Rick at Flamingo ramp
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All in all, another great trip with special friends. Weather-wise, it would have been a perfect trip for kayakers. Still, in our unhurried fashion, it was another Everglades adventure.

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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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 Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:29 am 
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Thanks again for the report Keith. I really look forward to these every year. Great photos.

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Don't take life too seriously................it ain't permanent.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:19 am 
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Looks like another awesome trip and a good read.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:06 am 
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It was a lot of fun. Thanks for planning these trips Keith.


One of my favorite pictures is one I took at Hogs Key. Josh used his boat, sail and paddle to create a clever shelter from the sun as well as an elaborate clothesline to dry his gear.

Image

And here's a video I made of half the trip (my camera died 4 days into the trip).
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH3trfhRQSs&list=UUbQLLlN2kvCpPxaaLg9YoLQ&index=2&feature=plcp[/youtube]

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:07 am 
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Hi Keith.

It was a fun trip, with great sailing, good friends and delicious food. Thanks for your help preparing me for it.

Have a great time in Tiger Key this weekend. Looking forward to seeing everyone again next month when we return to Pavilion Key.

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2010 Hobie Tandem Island
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:33 pm 
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Man that looks like a blast! Im chomping at the bit to do some overnight trips here, but sadly Im the only person I know around here who has an adventure island. I have many kayaking buddies, but none of them are interested in 20+miles paddling their loaded to the gills fishing kayaks.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:18 pm 
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Regarding carrying water.

Ive never done it with my AI but with my sea kayak I bought 3 of these :

http://www.camelbak.com/Sports-Recreati ... /Main.aspx

They hold a lot of water and sort of mold into whatever shape you put them in (provided you don't over fill them to where they are like a baloon)

Having a water jug shifting sides while edging in a sea kayak will get your attention rather quick, these more or less stay put.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Great video, Capt. Looked like a dry, pleasant trip.

Clever use of the whisker pole there.

And you really did a full demo on the benefits of Haka benches. "Hauling firewood" is definitely one use I had not thought of. :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:51 pm 
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Tiger Key, Feb 10-12, 2012
A “Paddle In” Bust, WaterTribe Icons, and Rudders

Rick Parks car-topped his AI down from the Orlando area. Some people came from as far as New Jersey. All were looking forward to the annual “Paddle In” sponsored by Capt. Charles Wright, who runs a kayak fishing guide and outfitting service in Chokoloskee. Rick was definitely hoping to see some people whom he had dealt with on a south Florida fishing forum.

One of those people was Terri. Terri came to see us on Friday morning as we loaded gear into our boats. Here is a picture of Terri wrestling with a bonnet head shark among the Chokoloskee oyster bars.
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Toby Nipper (Whitecaps)—A long-distance, adventure kayaker. Toby was doing his own camping trip with several other WaterTribe persons.
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The picture below shows my GPS reading of our speed through Indian Key Pass: 4.8 mph (7.7 km/hr) without sail or pedaling. It did have a down side. We no sooner entered the Pass than Rick tangled with a Park channel marker—yeah, he collided with an 8-inch steel piling. I always worry about such a disaster and keep a close lookout for these markers. This particular marker got lost behind Ricks mast, and the next thing he knew the fast current swept him right into the marker—bam! Without looking, I knew what had happened. Yet, again, to the Adventure Island’s credit, there was no damage other than a few scratches and a broken aka brace pin. It took a 5-minute stop to replace the pin, and we were on our way again. Rather amazing.
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Indian Key in the distance
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Rick has entered Gaskin Bay
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For reference later, when we look at our rudders, note how low Rick’s stern is. When you are fully loaded for a camping trip, with a large cooler, and large sailor, the boat is going to ride low.
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Tiger Key spit, and there are campers ahead of us!
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5 Guys, 6 coolers and counting (a total of 9 coolers.) That small tent on far right is a supply tent. And, this is for a 3 day, 2 night trip.
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The people/gear transporters.
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Rick and I tucked our camp in among the mangroves.
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Normally, you like to stay away from the mangroves and mosquitoes; however, Tiger Key has a thin line of mangroves along the west side of the spit. We had a westerly breeze through the trees and minimal mosquitoes. Of course, the mangroves provide shade. It was a perfect spot. My camp.
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Visitors. WaterTribe icons Toby (Whitecaps) and Warren Ritchie (SharkChow). That is Rick on the left. Warren wrote a terrific book entitled Without A Paddle
http://www.amazon.com/Without-Paddle-Racing-Hundred-Florida/dp/B004NSVF40/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1330170997&sr=1-1

It tells the story of his circumnavigation around Florida as part of the 1200-mile WaterTribe “Ultimate Florida” adventure race. This is a grueling race which gave Warren plenty of time to reflect on his recent divorce and his times in Iraq as an embedded reporter. A good read. BTW, Warren won that race in record time which still stands.
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On Day 2, We head over to Indian Key for the Paddle In, but it does not look promising—strong winds and rough conditions for kayak fisherpersons coming out from Everglades City.
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It is a bit bumpy on the Gulf
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Indian Key with a flock of 150 snow pelicans waiting for the festivities to start.
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Festivities on Indian Key, 2 years ago. It was not to be this year.
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Back at Tiger Key, our neighbors have moved their tent closer to the mangroves, but still exposed to the north. During the night, as forecast, the winds would switch to the north and strengthen. Their large tent would blow down at 3 am. About 3:30 am, we heard them chopping their fire wood into serious stakes. They survived with lots of stories to tell when they got home.
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Sunday morning temperatures dropped to 49 deg—cold for south Florida. Our neighbors are packing up.
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While waiting for the tide to come in (and give us a ride through Indian Key Pass), we compared our rudders: Twist-n-Stow vs the Vertical rudder. Clearly, the Vertical rudder is much more robust: 8” wide vs 7” on the T&S. And, the Vertical rudder extends 14.5” below the transom vs only 11” for the T&S. The Vertical rudder extends up and beyond the mid-line—the depth to which our boats are submerged when loaded for camping. The vertical rudder is a smart, major improvement over the T&S.
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The winds which blew down our neighbor’s tent prevailed during our return trip to Everglades City. The forecast:
SUNDAY
NORTH WINDS 19 TO 24 KNOTS BECOMING NORTH NORTHEAST 15 TO
18 KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON. NEARSHORE...SEAS 2 TO 3 FEET. OFFSHORE...
SEAS 6 TO 8 FEET SUBSIDING TO 4 TO 6 FEET IN THE AFTERNOON. DOMINANT PERIOD
4 SECONDS. BAY AND INLAND WATERS A MODERATE CHOP.


Anyone familiar with the passes in the Everglades 10,000 Island area knows that winds will funnel through the passes. In this case, as we exited Gaskin Bay into Indian Key Pass, the north wind was right on our nose as the Google image showing our track back attests. It was a good exercise in tacking.
Image


A fun and very interesting trip!

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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