Thursday, March 09, 2006

Day6: Arrived at CP3 in Flamingo, FL

... as reported by "DancesWithSandyBottom"

At about 4:40 PM today, Thursday, March 9, SandyBottom reached Checkpoint 3 at Flamingo. She is now resting in Flamingo 37 miles from Key Largo "until the earth feels solid again".

This was Day6 of the Everglades Challenge (EC) for SandyBottom. The EC is Stage1 of the Ultimate Florida Challenge (UFC).

On Day5 and Day6 SandyBottom covered all of the 65 miles of the 'outside' route between CP2 and CP3 in Everglades National Park (ENP). Those who choose to take the 'inside' route through the Wilderness Waterway of the ENP travel close to 100 miles from CP2 to CP3 --and even more bonus miles if they become lost. The three kayakers took the outside route and covered 33 uphill (into the wind) miles on Day5 and 18 intense miles (into heavy wind and waves) on Day6.

SandyBottom traveled with AlaskanSeahorse (ASH) and ThereAndBackAgain (TABA) on Day5 and Day6. Day6 resembled leap-frog with each of the three occasionally pausing and then catching up. The WaterTribe posts say that speedy ASH realized the importance of stopping to smell the roses, or admire the shells, in such an amazing place. On the final approch to CP3 TABA sped ahead while SB took it slowly and ASH came from way back to pass SB and accompany TABA the last mile or so.

A brisk southeast wind was in their faces both days and wave heights in the Gulf (~yesterday) as well as inland on huge Whitewater Lake (~today) were running at 2'. Fast tidal flows on Shark River which links the Gulf and Whitewater Lake alternate in direction with the local tide changes. Fortunately, the paddlers arrived at Shark River at a favorable time and were not delated by tidal forces.

The 100-mile route from CP2 to CP3.

Wednesday night the three paddlers stopped at a chickee in Oyster Bay to camp overnight from 10:00pm Wednesday to 8:30am Thursday. Here is another view of Oyster Bay and gigantic Whitewater Bay.

Winds are continuing to blow from CP4 toward CP3 at 15-20 knots. The forecast calls for continuting steady 15-20 knot winds out of the southeast and small craft advisory conditions for several more days.

The dilemma is that it is unreasonable and painful to contemplate paddling 37 miles into heavy winds over water that is one foot deep, is confused by three-foot wind waves and offers not places to stop and rest. A break in the wind pattern would be nice.

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