Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Day12: Jupiter Lighthouse to Fort Pierce

... as reported by "DancesWithSandyBottom"

Checkpoint 5 at Sebastian Inlet is about 65 miles north of Jupiter's inlet, lighthouse and Sound. SandyBottom started her day within a mile (to the north) of the lighthouse. Overnight a front had arrived and moved through the area early Wednesday AM. It shifted the wind pattern to an unfavorable direction blowing 15-20 knots head-on.

~~~ The Windy Route North on Day11 ~~~~

SandyBottom had caught up with DrKayak on the way to Jupiter due to a lack of wind for his class3 sail rig. Then, overnight the winds increased, swung around, and blew from the north as a cold front passed overhead.


Near the Lighthouse while waiting for the fierce north wind to abate somewhat, SandyBottom and DrKayak walked a mile to a restaurant near the Jupiter Sound bridge. She sent me these two cellphone pictures.

Mmmm... real food!

All challengers still on the east coast reported today that it was cold, hard, slow going against the wind. Far to the north, SharkChow reached Fort Clinch by paddling 25 hard miles into the north wind. He reported that it was the hardest paddle he had ever done. As the day progresses the winds were forecast to swing around back to the good southeast pattern by tonight.

At 12:45 PM, DrKayak's contact person posted this report from on the WaterTribe website:

"Started out early AM [o'dark thirty] with SandyBottom and had really strong north winds. Pulled back in and went to breakfast, shopped at Walgreens, then took a nap. Winds have died down some so will try to continue North. Plan to paddle straight through to Sebastain Inlet."

At 6:30 PM, SandyBottom called to report that she was passing Saint Lucie Inlet State Park accompanied by DrKayak and that they were still thinking of paddle/sailing non-stop (all night) to reach to CP5 at Sebastian Inlet by about noon on Thursday --if the wind and tides are not too unfavorable. For the previous six hours they had only been able to average 2.3 mph due to the unfavorable tides and north wind. She was hoping that the direction of tidal flow would be more favorable "on the other side" of Saint Lucie Inlet.

Ah... ah... another 65 miles non-stop? Why?! [Insert look of disbelief here.] Surely that will have to depend on having great help from tides and tailwinds.

They paddled to within 28 miles of CP5 and stopped to sleep near the foot of a bridge in the Fort Pierce area at 4am. Total milage at the end of this hard day had amounted to 39 miles.

Meanwhile, perhaps 15 miles ahead, ThereAndBackAgain threw in the towel Wednesday evening. His contact posted this statement, "Between fighting high winds, 100+' yachts, and concrete canyons it just wasn't fun any longer. Dexter will post more later once he's home and rested a bit. He had a great time and a fantastic experience."

Dexter, if you're reading this, we rooted for you the whole way here. Congratulations on going as far as you did. You are one in a million. Anyone in a class1 boat who has completed an EC or gotten this far in the UFC has proven ability to take on any wicked kayaking challenge that Chief might dream up.

The reality of just how long this UFC expedition race is, is mind-bending. Is it too long?

Hey Chief, just for fun, next year how about a nice short sprint from Fort Clinch up the Saint Marys River, across the portage, down the Suwannee River, through Tampa Bay and Everglades City, and finishing in to Key Largo. (You know; just leave out the whole East Coast of Florida.) And when the challengers are reaching Grande Tours, start everyone else from Fort DeSoto on their EC and UM races. That way, everyone could arrive in Key Large together for a big finish and celebration.

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