Friday, February 28, 2014

Everglades Challenge 2014: Friday is Inspection Day

The starting line Friday on Tampa Bay.  Mosquito poised to strike.  (Photo by SOS)
The WaterTribe is gathering for the 2014 Everglades Challenge that will start Saturday 7:00am.  Boats and gear were brought to the starting line today (Friday) on the beach at Fort DeSoto park.  Friday is a day of reunion, meeting old and new friends, while making last-minute preparations, loading gear into boats,  and checking in with the race managers. Safety gear inspections must be passed. Attending Chief's captains meeting is mandatory.  
Captains' meeting Friday (Photo by DogsLife)
Friday is also an informal boat show of new and old designs and innovations.  Most notably,  Friday is a day of celebration: just getting to the starting line is at least half the battle.  Even for those arriving with the same boat as last year, a tremendous amount of time and effort has gone into some combination of planning, preparation, innovation and training.  Others arrive with new home-built boats that were many hours in the making.

SandyBottom and KiwiBird like to start their Friday with a hearty breakfast at iHop and with the usual at-the-pancake photo by a friendly waiter using SandyBottom's iPhone. Last year they were accompanied by the crew of the DawnPatrol (DancesWithSandyBottom and SOS). This year the crew of the Mosquito (PopTarp and SOS)  were on hand.   PopTarp (a.k.a John "Jake" Kohl) and SOS are friends from their years of high-performance off-shore "Tybee 500" catamaran racing.    

PopTarp,  KiwiBird, SOS,  SandyBottom

Having completed the long drive to Fort DeSoto is another reason to celebrate. SandyBottom and KiwiBird drove away from Chapel Hill, NC at o'dark thirty on Thursday. SOS drove away Tuesday evening. PopTarp flew to Tampa, but said his arms are not too tired  [ba-DUM-ching]. Thank you, I'm here all week.

KiwiBird and SandyBottom roll out

SOS hauling Mosquito and SUPboards for use at Key Largo

Here are some fine aerial (kite) views of the line-up of boats last year,  March 1, 2013.  To find details about the photographer and to view the entire video version,  go to...

EC 2013

EC 2013

EC 2013
DawnPatrol, overall winner of the 2013 EC (2days and 2minutes),
is the white cat-ketch in the center of this image.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

This One's for You, Dad

Robert Dickie

So sad when the call came that my Dad passed away this morning. He'd been sick a very long time and is now at peace. I love you Daddy, and will think of you often, especially this week while out there paddling, drawing strength remembering you.

Mom and Dad at Pan Am Airlines with Lani, Bobby, and me (with bandaged finger)

Dad fishing with Lani and Bobby.
I would not let them use me for bait.

Dad (second from left) with the entire crew in the Dawn-and-Paul rose garden

(Grand) Mom and Dad at our home in snowy NC
with the future information scientist
and the future boat builder/designer.

Thanks, Dad, for always being there.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

It's That Time of Year Again

I've been busy finishing some last minute preparations for the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge (EC) which begins next Saturday, March 1st.  KiwiBird and I will be driving down to Ft DeSoto early Thursday morning, for what's become an annual trek.  The blog has been sleeping for awhile, it's time to bring it back to life.

I’ve added last year’s teeth awards (shark and alligator) to my heavy WaterTribe necklace.  This will be my 11th EC including 2 Ultimate Florida Challenges (UFC),  I've now finished 10 and with 1 DNF half way due to infected chafing.

The kayak is in the living room getting a few minor modifications while I work out packing scenarios.

I like to alternate using my KrugerDreamcatcher and one of my sea kayaks.  This year I’ll be paddling my new Tiderace Xplore with the Flat EarthKayak Sail.

And I’m fighting a cold with everything I can find.

But I'll be there and ready when Chief yells "Go".

Unfortunately Paul (DancesWithSandyBottom) is unable to take time off from work this year, and will be home as my land contact, and reporting progress. Check back to this blog, the WaterTribe group on Facebook, and on the WaterTribe Forum.

Alan (SOS) will be racing in EC this year with a new partner Jake Kohl, an old friend from his Tybee500 days of cat racing.  Paul will be Alan's contact as well, and posting updates on Alan's Blog, check it out now to see his Class 5 Trimaran Mosquito.

And if your wondering what's it all about.  Just watch the 90 minute video below called "The Challenge" made by Warren Richey author of "Without A Paddle: Racing Twelve Hundred Miles Around Florida by Sea Kayak"; it explains it all.