Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Day4: Through CP2, Gateway into Everglades

... as reported by "DancesWithSandyBottom"

Tuesday 3-7-2006 SandyBottom launched from Sea Oat Island at 6:00 am and paddled the ~32 miles to reach Checkpoint 2 on Chokoloskee Island by 3:50 pm. SandyBottom, ThereAndBackAgain and AlaskanSeaHorse all arrived at CP2 the same time.

The last ten miles in the Gulf before CP2 featured 15 knot North (at their backs) winds, 3-foot seas and a small craft advisory. The wind was from a favorable direction but the rough seas were not entirely fun for ThereAndBackAgain who controls the setting of his rudder with his hands which interrupts his paddling.

Meanwhile, down in Key Largo, some of the sailors had raced to the finish line overnight

Chokoloskee Island and adjacent Everglades City are a gateway to the Everglades National Park. From this point the challengers either follow an 'outside' coastal route in the Gulf for a while or follow an 'inside' passage through the interior of the Everglades.

Arriving at 3:50 pm leaves the challenger with some daylight hours remaining for a another dozen more miles --after obtaining a camping permit and resupplying, recharging and refreshing as needed. However, after clocking in, SandyBottom, et al., found that the ranger station there in Everglades City was not issuing the preferred 'outside' coastal camping permits due to the small craft advisory.

The options then, were either to launch at 6:00 pm and make a few miles progress into the 'inside' passage before camping, or to wait for the opportunity to start the 'outside' route early Wednesday morning. The inside route adds about 30 miles to the trip to CP3, so SandyBottom decided to wait for daylight to start paddling the 'outside' route on the open Gulf coastal waters. Can't be out there in the dark during a small craft advisory. Sandybottom, AlaskanSeahorse and ThereAndBackAgain intend to temporarily team up for at least the windy trip to CP3 at Flamingo, FL. Roughly speaking the first half of the trip from CP2 to CP3 will be in the open Gulf waters and the second half will be across an interior lake (Whitewater Lake) in the Everglades that is about 6 miles wide and 12 miles long --very roughly.

The weather forecasts indicate that the closer SandyBottom gets to Key Largo the more the wind direction will shift around to the unfavorable direction --in her face. Today the winds were North shifting to Northeast, tomorrow (Wednesday) Northeast becoming East, Thursday shifting from East to Southeast. If this forecast holds true, the long crossing of the very shallow Florida Bay from CP3 to Key Largo will be a difficult passage. But for now, the focus is on getting to CP3.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Dawn! I'm checking on you daily - great job so far!! Hope those heads winds turn into tail winds for you. All your friends here at the CC are cheering for you, and some of your enemies are, too. I'm joking, but you knew that already. Keep on keepin' on, girlfriend.