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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:43 am
Posts: 110
Location: Lakeland and Anna Maria Island, FL
Keep up posting those trip reports, Keith. I may just have to buy an AI. Thanks for sharing. Wish I could join you on the Mar 5 trip but I just cannot do so.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:55 pm 
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Location: Kailua 96734
Wow - what a great trip and super weather. No wonder everyone was still smiling.

With the woman along, ya'll really had this down to a science. Even the right wine glasses... :lol:

Keith - those are awesome shots of all those birds hanging around!! Now I think I understand why you folks wear those funny hats. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:07 am 
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Location: Clearwater, Fl
As usual, excellent pictures and a great trip report Keith. I only wish I could have been there with you all to experience it. Hopefully I'll run into you in the Everglades in a few weeks.

Glad Terry is starting to see the light and considering an AI.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:41 am 
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Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Keith,

looks like it was a great trip. I can see how the beach changes. Last year I tried to camp in the same area in the middle of the night. I recognize some of the trees in the back. At that time the beach was narrow to the grass and had a sharp drop off. One animal you forgot on your report. How were the insects???

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DogsLife
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http://dogslifeadventures.blogspot.com/


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:25 pm 
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Just registered to thank Chekika for showing me his boat at the ramp at Flamingo/Everglades. Hard to believe he managed to fit all that in a kayak. Little did I know he had so many leagues under his paddle :P
That was yesterday afternoon, safe travels and thanks again.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:27 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Posts: 1902
Location: South Florida
Hi 2587805527. Nice to meet you. Not all of that gear went in the hull--some was put on the hakas. Also, it was cold but going to get warm by the end of my trip, so I had to take clothes for all occasions. I took too much food, too much water (4 days of cool weather requires less water.) You would think I could get it right after 20 yrs of this.

I hope you continue to check in on the forum. Maybe you will get yourself an AI. If so, be sure to get in touch, and we'll do some sailing.

If you want to change your forum name, I've got a few suggestions. (1) "Billy Bowlegs" An Indian chief during the Florida Indian wars. (2) "Chevelier" He was a Frenchman who live around Chokoloskee for many years. I have others.

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: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:33 am 
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Location: South Florida
Flamingo to Chokoloskee: A trip of firsts

I was excited to do this 7-day trip. You might say, “But you’ve done this trip 16 times.” Yes, you’re right, but this one is different. You respond, “Different! What can be different after doing a trip 16 times in the last 17 years?” Well ….

For one, this was the first time I did the trip solo. In addition, I was trying out—testing—a number of things, not least of those being me. With each trip, it seems I’m another year older. Therefore, this trip was a test to see how I would do—solo.

Secondly, this was the first time that I would be using hakas. How would they work?

Third, and haka related, I would not bring my regular table. Instead, I would try out my haka table. Would my haka table work? Alternatively, would I throw it on my big pile of bad ideas?

Fourth, I ditched my usual sunshade tarp and its four large circus tent stakes. Rather, I tried a large beach umbrella and a post-hole sand stake to combat the brutal Everglades’ sun.

Fifth, I’ve got a new inflation system for my air mattress. For years, I’ve carried a bulky Coleman 4-D battery-powered pump to inflate Nancy’s and my mattresses. It worked fine, but there was that little worry--it might quit. So, I’m testing this new system which weighs an ounce.

Sixth, and one of the biggest tests, was my new front hatch seal. It’s a radical design. On a recent trip, my boat took on 1-2 gal of water/day via the front hatch seal—everything up front was wet. Frankly, I was quite confident my new seal would work and couldn’t wait to test it on this trip. Basically, I was expecting a dry boat.

This was enough anticipation and excitement for this solo trip to keep me awake. Here’s my report.

This is the Google Earth image of coastal Everglades National Park. It is a wilderness area. On the image, the red underlines are my intended camps, and the red dots are actual camps.

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At the launch, there was another first: my son, Scott, and his wife, Marilyn, were at the launch in Flamingo. Marilyn took this picture with her iPhone. Scott & Marilyn have always shuttled my car over to the end, but this was the first time they were at the start with me.

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It’s going to be cold out front in FL Bay. A front is coming through. Winds predicted to be 10-20 mph out of the North with gusts to 28 mph.

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It was cold on the water. The winds would drop down, but they would roar back with a vengeance. As I rounded East Cape Sable, they were on my nose, straight out of the northwest. Therefore, I decided to quit early and pulled up on ECS. This is my camp site. It is south facing and sheltered from the wind.
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This is the site after I have spruced it up a bit. Right away, you can see my haka table and my beach umbrella. They worked great throughout the trip.
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On Day 2, I planned on making 20 miles to Scorpion Beach at Graveyard. Generally, I will be on a nice reach with winds of 15-18 mph. I’m expecting another difficult day sailing (dds) with strong winds.

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It was.

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Scorpion Beach on Ponce de Leon Bay. The explorer Juan Ponce de Leon learned the hard way that the Everglades could be hostile territory. In 1521 he was wounded by an Indian arrow in this area and later died from the wound—thought to be due to a poison-tipped arrow. Can you imagine that in 1521, almost 500 yrs ago, there were Spanish explorers here? (Try to ignore the net some clueless fisherman left on the beach.) The winds dropped immediately after reaching Scorpion.

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On Day 3, as I left Scorpion Beach, I was immediately in strong winds. I partially furled the sail.

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I was still doing 6 mph

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And, burying the bow

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After a few more miles, I come across a boat that didn’t make it. It is 35 miles to the nearest marina.

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Still a dds

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But, as the day wore on, the wind began to drop. It was time to troll for fish using my new haka-mounted RailBlaza rod holder. This is a Blue Runner—a very strong fighting fish.

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A Sea Trout. I caught a lot of fish on this trip. All were carefully released.

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Hog Key at the end of Day 3

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Camp on Hog Key—late afternoon

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Here is a picture of my mattress inflation system. The yellow bag is full of air. It is the Exped Schnozzel Pump Bag. The appendage attaches to the Exped air mattress, and then you simply apply pressure to the bag and force the air into the mattress. It takes less than 2 bags of air. They are available from REI. http://www.rei.com/product/829645/exped-schnozzel-pumpbag

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I haven’t seen anyone to speak to during the trip. I don’t talk to myself, but I am thinking of ways to entertain myself. Here is a self-picture using my haka for the camera base—boy, are these hakas useful.

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Sunset off Hog Key

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People! Not close enough to talk, but we did wave.

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It’s Day 4—my day to rest and fish. Fishing turned out great. Here I have a large, 19” trout. First fish of the day.

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Another shameless self-portrait. This is what I look like out fishing. I have to give the weather service a lot of credit for their long-range forecast during this trip. They were spot on every day. After 3 days of strong winds, they had predicted winds of 7 mph today, my fishing day. They hit it right on the nose.

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A small Ladyfish

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A small Gafftop Sail—A Gafftop has to be the most slimy, most smelly fish in Florida waters. In addition, be very careful of those spines. A jab from one of those instantly numbs the whole area around the injury.

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Biggest trout of the day, #11 of 13, about 22-23”

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As I returned from fishing, 3 canoeists rounded the corner and camped on the NW side of Hog.

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More people! A guide and client fishing skinny waters off the end of my beach.

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Almost sundown and another visitor

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Day 5 and the canoeists are out early and under sail. I launched about 45 min later but easily passed them. They were too far inland so we didn’t have a chance to talk.

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Steady, relaxing winds today. How to entertain myself for the 13 mile trip over to Pavilion Key? Put my legs here.

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Then, put them like this. Wait, I see a bald eagle landing on that island ahead. I’m about 2 miles from Pavilion.

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The eagles have a nest on this shoreline, but I didn’t want to get too close.

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Here is a blowup.

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My tent on Pavilion Key with door open. Generally, you can’t leave the door open because of bugs, but this late afternoon Pavilion has a strong breeze. Bugs are nil. By the way, I will close the door and put the fly on before sundown. If I don’t do that, I will be drenched by morning from the very, very heavy dew.

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Sundown on Pavilion

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Morning of the 6th day, and I got a good look at the sailboat anchored off shore. A similar boat passed off East Cape Sable last year, but this boat is different. There is a couple on board, and it looks to be an idyllic life—cruise the world without a care.

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This was scheduled to be a day off, another day to fish. It was not to be. I woke with a GI problem (aka diarrhea) and decided it would be prudent to bag the fishing day and head in and home. If I hurried, I could make favorable tidal currents through the passes to Chokoloskee. Before I left Pavilion, I got a picture of my Roids seal (that is the name given elsewhere to my DIY split pipe insulation seal for the front hatch.) This seal was a 100% success. The front hatch area was absolutely dry during the trip. There was only a quart of water in the stern on each dds of this trip and less on the milder sailing days.

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Again, I had steady moderate winds as I made the 9-mile trip to Chokoloskee. This is Rabbit Key.

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Chokoloskee!

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Landing in Chokoloskee

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No sooner did I land, when an old friend, Ray Prosser and his granddaughter, came in. They had just paddled the 9-mile Turner River Trail. When I was still paddling regularly, that trip was also an annual. Ray is one of the strongest paddlers around. His granddaughter must be pretty good too. After not talking face to face to anyone for a week, it was nice to chat with Ray.

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To sum it up: The weather predictions were spot on, so I knew what to expect every day. I never turned on my VHF radio. My boat performed flawlessly. The hakas and Roids seal worked great—2 biggies. My umbrella provided needed shade each day. Everything else I tested was positive, except for me and my little GI problem—my first such problem in 17 of these trips. I hope it’s not a sign of aging. Will I do the trip again next year? I’m already looking forward to it.



Keith

_________________
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 Apr 22, 2013 4:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:06 am 
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Posts: 1529
Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Absolutely brilliant words and pix Keith! I wish I had the geography (and the skills) to enable similar expeditions in my neck of the woods.

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


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:33 am 
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Posts: 1047
Location: Ontario, Canada
Awesome trip! Thanks for the story and pictures!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:22 pm 
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Posts: 2036
Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
Best trip report yet Keith...very inspiring! 8)
Good to see your seal mod works well.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:30 am
Posts: 270
Location: Clearwater, Fl
Nice report Keith. Those hakas, that exact umbrella, and the haka table sure looks familiar. :lol:

See you tomorrow in Ft. Desoto and hope to at least see you on Pavilion next week. You really are an inspiration and are my Everglades camping mentor.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:43 am
Posts: 110
Location: Lakeland and Anna Maria Island, FL
Another great trip Thanks for taking the time to share it. You really are an inspiration.

Keith: I should be at Fort D. tomorrow around 1:30 or so and will bring you some Immodium. Don't leave home without it.

CaptnChaos: I'm hoping to take a look at any upgrades you've made to your AI since the camping trip, including that big thing on your bow.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 2:31 pm
Posts: 2742
Location: Kailua 96734
Absolutely top-notch report. It's no wonder this thread rivals the one on Hakas.

I'd love to hear more about how you managed water and rations for a whole week. And navigation. You must really know your stuff.

>>I haven’t seen anyone to speak to during the trip. I don’t talk to myself, but I am thinking of ways to entertain myself. Here is a self-picture using my haka for the camera base—boy, are these hakas useful.<<

Haka basically means "a place to put stuff" including your bum. Fer sure, I would convert one of those hakas to a low bench seat (with floatation pillow) to compliment the table. (What I crave most while camping is a good seat).

Plus, I hear that you can actually sit on them while sailing too. ;-) I'm still waiting for a shot of that.

I think you would be pleased with the view and the difference it can make with nose diving.

Congrats on a great trip - made possible through great planning.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:55 pm
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Location: Virginia - USA
Great report and wonderful pictures! Bob

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2013 Oasis w/ Sail
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:46 pm 
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Posts: 1593
Location: Lake Macquarie NSW AUSTRALIA
Always enjoy these trip reports Keith. They still remain the benchmark.

I think one of the interesting things to come out of your report is the accuracy of the weather forecasts. I don’t know what it is like in your neck of the woods but down this way the forecasts are becoming less and less accurate. I don’t want to start a ‘Global Warming / Climate Change debate here, but this is just a fact. I have just returned from a trip down into the southern ocean where the weather predictions were nowhere near the actual. ie: 7 knot Northerlies predicted but 9 hours later, 25 knot Southerlies hit. It took some of the enjoyment out of the trip mainly because I was constantly looking over my shoulder trying to predict what was happening with the weather.

P.S. I see you had no problems keeping well fed. :wink:

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


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