My camping trip—I crashed
I had to cancel my 4-day camping trip out of Flamingo to MidCape—16 mi away. I mis-judged the winds. From the forecast, I expected winds of 18 mph. Instead, when I launched winds were in the neighborhood of 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph, and they definitely caught me off-guard. They also seemed to have a westerly component—a headwind, which was not totally unexpected, but not what I had hoped.
I was up at 4 am to finish my packing and loading. Down at Flamingo, nobody stopped by as I loaded my boat; but at launch, there were a number of fellows looking, asking questions, and giving advice. One tourist insisted on getting a picture with me—took about 6 tries before another tourist was able to use his iPhone to get the picture—he was very happy. Another fellow, very friendly, said he wanted a picture so he could “give it to the Coast Guard when they are looking for you.” I didn’t get a picture because I forgot to bring my waterproof Nikon 100. I launched totally confident that I would make Cape Sable. After about an hour battling very strong winds and tough chop, I turned back. When I landed a tourist came running up and exclaimed: “You were really traveling fast. Have you ever heard of the WaterTribe?” Here is a 2¼ min video showing the first few minutes after my launch. If you can't see the YouTube below, here is a direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLLwW-brr04
After 15 hrs from start to finish, I was home licking my wounds. I realized that I hadn’t given enough thought to this trip. I still need to cut down weight by (1) taking a minimum amount of water—it was going to be cold, so, I could have gotten by on ¾ gal/day of water—a savings of 8 lbs; (2) no fresh food—my small cooler weighted about 14¼ lbs with frozen water bottles & food. W/o fresh food, I could even pack a bag of food today
for my next trip. Nothing wrong with throwing a couple bananas and 2-3 apples in your boat. I was sloppy about packing my boat. You must keep weight out of the bow. Any heavy bags should be slid in along the gunnels. I took my large, less-airy tent because it was going to be windy and cold, instead of a smaller, lighter tent—cost: 4.5#. All-in-all, I could have cut my weight by over 26#—that is significant. There are other ways to save weight—take 1 rod/reel instead of 2, take less fishing gear, etc., etc. Your bow needs to be packed light to help it ride over chop rather than cut through and dive under waves. All water and Gatorade bottles need to be put in or on the stern. There must be more….