The Virgin Voyage of the Goose XL

Mother’s Day 2017!  Beloved of families, and a special delight for females.  And my wife tells me I am not going sailing.  I got home from church after making a gluttonous dent in the victuals presented in appreciation of all the MOTHERS!  I have been called mother-something at various times in my life.  It was a good day in that I appreciate that I have never before eaten absolutely as much watermelon and fruits for breakfast in such abundance.  It rained during mass and the weather report did not look promising.  When I got home the sun was out briefly and I immediately repaired to my garage thinking that I really needed to knock down those fiberglass splinters that always result from a quick-and-dirty epoxy job.  I wiped off the raindrops and hoped for a quick sanding session as soon as it dried.  The neighbors probably had reservation about the maniac waving the electric sander about in the back yard while dressed in his Sunday finery.  I knocked down the fiberglass whiskers in no time having repelenished the sander with 120 grit!  Now let’s see if the sunshine holds up!

After changing into my favorite smelly epoxy outfit I brushed the dust off the hull of the Goose and began slathering on the un-thickened WEST resin, letting it penetrate the inevitable pinholes in the cloth.  Better a good job, if not a perfect job.  The sunshine held and I quickly covered the newly constructed joints in the Goose nose.  Still sunshine!  That checking in the fir plywood looks pretty ratty.  Lots of resin left so I began brushing the ragged spots to seal the wood.  I spend a lot of time maintaining my boats!  Sometimes I even use a sponge (not often) to dig out the detritus left over from sailing and camping.  Usually the rain does the main maintenance chores.  Life is good!  Especially with WEST epoxy!

Now, if only the rain would hold off long enough for the epoxy to set up and not blush or some other calamity befall my hasty basting of the hull!  Fast-forwar to the afternoon!  Epoxy is dry, boat looks ready, and the wind is above 10 with gusts.  Forget reefing!  This is gonna be fun.  My dog, Buddy,  looks on expectantly and those big brown eyes are wide open because he knows his week of sailing celibacy is drawing to an end.  We hit the water!  I am comported with ecstacy!  Buddy looks excited as well.  Having an 85 pound German Shepherd in the bow of a 14 foot Goose is guaranteed to slow one down, but sailing without my four-footed crew is unthinkable!

My Goose does not have that Goosey feeling!  Adding some waterline length has slowed down the turning ability and tacking and jibing seem sluggish.  This little hummer feels slower as well and heading upwind feels mushy!  My lake is surrounded by trees and houses so the fluky wind is always a challenge.  It is gonna take all day to get upwind since the wind is blocked.  My GPS says I am moving between 5 an 6 miles an hour.  The crew is enjoying the cruise in the bow!  The Captain, at the tiller wonders if altering the dimensions of the Goose may not bring the improvements expected.

I have the lake to myself when suddenly another boat crosses my bow.  Ho, ho, ho!  It is Mister Sunfish, and he wants to play.  He has been kicking my butt every time we joust on our lake and he sneers at my latest folly which seems to have only added  weight, and degraded the crisp maneuverability I formerly possessed.  The wind increases, and I am picking up incremental speed improvements.  A few adjustments to the bleater (or honker, or snotter)  lets the Goat Island Skiff sail move out a few inches ahead of the mast.  I crank in some downhaul to compensate for the increased wind velocity!  And I am in the lead!  Shorelines come up fast as the lake is only 200 feet wide.  I crank out a tack and head off upwind.  Mister Sunfish is behind and will probably fall in behind when he tacks, so I fall off a bit to build speed on starboard.  Suddenly the routine sailing movements become decidedly exciting.  Mister Sunfish has pinched up, lost speed, and is about 2 feet in front of my newly-extended and raised bow.  I ride over the  Sunfish nailing the mast dead center and the mass of the Goose pushes the Sunfish over.  The flat bow hits Mister Sunfish dead in the chest and launches him into the water to windward. Neither of us are wearing lifejackets as we have raced for years on Sailboards together since 1986.  He has disappeared and my bow has been trapped between his mainsheet and the mast and his boom is fully released and somehow pinned to my saill just above my boom.  I call his name!  No answer!  I hope I didn’t kill him!  Nah!  Wasn’t going that fast. Probably only a few crushed ribs, or maybe a broken back!  Besides I was on starboard so if he dies it is his burden!  I finally just let fly my mainsheet completely depowering my vessel and crawl forward (That is really a LOOOOONG bow now.  As I drift back I hear a gurgling cry from the stern of the Sunfish and my boddy mumbles something about losing his favorite hat!  He says it floats!  I am dubious as I don’t see it! He re-boards and we eventually find the hat and more apologies on both sides as we acknowledge that is the stupidest sailing trick we have pulled in the 31 years we have been racing on the lake!  Then he sheets in and leaves me on a port tack heading up into the narrow channel connecting our lakes.

He usually leaves me upwind.  My Goose handling upwind feels mushy.  But I am gaining, and pointing higher than Mister Sunfish!  This is interesting.  Having a boat and an enthusiastic competitor quickly exposes deficiencies, but also advantages.  In the blustery  wind I am clearly dominating (OK, maybe just putting my transom in his face). We tack for advantage and I am ahead in the shifty gusts.  Mister Sunfish has not had any competition from the Goose before and he is pushing.  Two geriatrics duking it out for lake supremacy!  Over he goes!  Swimming is so slow!  I pull some donuts around him as he flounders, offering choice tidbits of conversation regarding his sail-handling.  He gets it up (no little blue pills here) and we resume racing.  Trading tacks we move through varying wind intensities as we pass the trees, houses, and gazebows along the lake.  He pulls a tack, fluffs it, and he is swimming again.  I gloat!  My dog loves it!  I get too cocky and my downwind 45 degree heel increases and dog and captain become one with the water!  The German Shepherd moves from the cockpit to the side tank, but this only my second capsize in a Goose.  I had contemplated practicing a bit before the Florida 120, and the time is NOW!  Crap.  The dog is sinking the boat and the mast and sail continue into the depths.  I have to swim around to the other side of the boat but the weight of the dog is turning this into a turtling situation.  I drag the dog free and shout “swim to shore” but he is reluctant to leave not wanting to miss any of the fun as he enjoys swimming even more than sailing!  I swim around throwing floating debris into the cuddy next to the mast as my paddle and sponge float away.  I have done this once before in the lee shore and the Goose came up beautifully.  This is in deep water and the wind is sporty. Yanking the daggerboard down, I make no progress.  I fall back in the water and hear the chortling from my buddy, who is also swimming around his Sunfish! Who knew synchronized capsizing could be so entertaining.  Two kayakers in a tupperware boat paddle by interestedly and enquire as to my needing some help!  I reply in the affirmative and they head to shore!  To rescue the dog!  He ain’t the one that needs help, folks!

This ain’t my first go round in this sailing rodeo.  I swim around and grab the rope tied to the bow eye, and yanking the boat around so the bow is into the wind I hope for some wind aid.  The mainsheet is no longer attached but it gives me something to pass the time.  I see the kayakers comforting my dog on shore and reach overhead for the daggerboard. I always thought it was longer but from the bottom it seems pretty short. With glacial progression the the turtled Goose experiences an attitude change until my fingers  slip on the daggerboard and it is Swimming 101 all over again.  Without the dog on the inside tank the boat just sort of lays there in the water.  Gotta love the four air tanks built into the expedition version of this Goose, not to mention the extra two feet of beak I added and strenuously sealed inside and out with WEST epoxy.  Not pretty, but pretty thouroughly! I am going to thread a pool noodle into the lacing on the yard before I go out again.  This turtling stuff is too strenuous for an old geezer! The boat comes upright, and now the tired AARP guy is pretty sure he is not 16 any more.  Eeny, meeny, miney, moe!  Which side shall his fat butt actually go.  That bow rope looks mighty attractive and the long bow will be easier to sink and slide my belly over once I loop the rope the proper distance through the bow eye so I can get a head-start with my foot underwater.  Pop goes the weasel as my buddy sails on by (those Sunfish are only a few inches above the water so they right nicely) offering sweet words of encouragement as I thread my mainsheet through the blocks on the boom and sheet in.  Kicked his butt upwind again as he capsizes yet another time, much to my amusement.  I sail to shore, drag up the boards, let fly the mainsheet and crunch the bank while enticing my four-legged crew back aboard!  Mister Sunfish rights and reboards (his improving proficiency is evident, practice makes perfect) and we duel upwind to our mutual delight.  He still sees my transom so maybe this stretched, mushy Goose 2.0 is better than what I had.  I bid him adieu and head for the home shore releasing the mainsheet so it pinwheels downwind.  Dragging out the boards I move to drop the halyard and it jams due either to the capsize attitude or the sailo angle.  My mickey-mouse aluminum mast extension neely traps the halyard and it ain’t coming down, even after several tries to release it.  In disgust I untie the bleater and the downhaul and standing flat on the deck of my newly stretched Goose I rip the entire mast out and topple toward the grass.  Mission accommplished.  I notice the top-most foot of the yard and sail is covered in a thick layer of bottom clay.  When I turtle, I really leave an impression.  At least in the bottom of the lake.

Decoding the GPS trip log I hit 8.1 miles per hour and spend a lot of time between 5 and 7 miles per hour.  The Goose feels and sails decidedly different.  The sail trim feel slightly off and there is more nose in the water.  I also glued some fiberglass strips to the bottom runners as the wood was taking a beating when I beach it!  This gives me two somewhat deeper tracks running below the waterline.  No problem, at least one of them is out of the water when the wind is blowing as I am getting the leeward hull to act as a keep as I drive it deep.  Less daggerboard, but it seems to outpoint Mister Sunfish (he may have been a bit water-logged).  Tomorrow I take it out on Biscayne Bay for an open-water evaluation and my nephew is coming along on the Florida 120 but does not want to take his Hobie AI trimaran since he hurt his ankle playing basketball and does not want to strain it by pedaling a Mirage Drive.  So it will be two-up in the Goose, with full expedition load for 120 miles or so.  The best part is the nose may be dragging in the water for a bout 6 inches more, but at no time did the boat do any “pig-rooting” that slows forward progress significantly.

speed never dropped precipitously, until the capsize! I also get lift when at larger heeling angles from the waterski style bow that brings the nose up as speed increases.  We will just have to hit some waves out on the bay to see if the benefits continue.  Never a dull moment when you sail a Goose!  I could take a 20 foot G-Cat if I was going for speed, but the easy beachability and shallow-water utility of the Goose wins the day.  Besides perching on a trampoline of a gambolling catamaran give me stomach and leg cramps after several hours.  Not to mention the rudders popping up at every bottom strike.  The Goose will serve!

One minor complaint to Michael Storer, the designer of my Goose Sailboat!

Curse you Michael Storer! I finally quit sailing my Goose on the namby-pamby lake and headed out into the Everglades for some serious adventuring. The weather forecast was a bit intimidating with winds at 15 and above. With the reefs surrounding Chokoloskee Island I figured my mastery of all sailing craft would stand me in good stead! I discovered one should never allow testicular hypertrophy to overwhelm cerebral caution. I replaced those spindly 2 inch wooden spars with some fiberglass and carbon fiber sticks from windsurfer masts. Got a great bend in the yard that really brings out the best in the Really Simple Sails Goat Island Skiff sail. It has three reef points, none of which I have ever used, but since you kindly included them in the price of the sail I took them as a bonus. With the tide dictating the departure, I naturally arrived late, but just in time to see my fellow voyagers heading off with a great boost from the outgoing current. I, of course, spent 2 hours recalibrating my rigging points and looking generally incvompetent at the ramp. As precaution I did rig the sail at the first reef point and ghosted off behind the sheltering mangroves.. 200 feet out the full force of the wind blasted across the water laying the boat on it’s side and giving me a defintive adrenaline surge. At 300 feet I decided that your including those extra reef points was much appreciated. I made landfall on a concrete ramp (OK, I crashed) alerting the homeowner that his personal space was being invaded and graunching the skids on the bottom of the Goose. I went down to the next set of reef points and although doing a less-than-professional job, I estimated that my 225 pounds was adequate to counterbalance anything I was likely to run into on the 11 mile journey out to Pavilion Key.

It took three and a half hours to cover the distance at speeds of zero to 9.6 miles per hour, reefed. Thank you for including all that bracing around the daggerboard as I came to several abrupt stops when bottom depths went from adequate, to non-existent. Seeking to make the most distance-made-good on each tack I discovered that the bulldozer bow does not penetrate nearly as far into the mangroves as my catamarans, thus simplifying my yanking the boat out of the foliage and heading off on my merry way to crash into something new and even more interesting. The first 4 miles took nearly 2 and 1/2 hours of some of the most creative maneuvering (and scathing profanity) in recent memory. That GIS sail ended up broadside pinned to the mangrove shoreline on many occasions as the wind as the wind topped 20, and then got better. I did resort to what I call “pedestrian tacking” which involves walking the boat into the wind until judged sufficient (or until the water reaches my nipples) to make another ineffectual run at more obstacles. Now this was mostly upwind work as the nefarious winds seemed determined to leave me parked in the mud, or the mangroves sleeping in the boat. No worries about the notorious mosquitoes as they were probably blown as far south as Key Largo by this time. Finally turning the corner on the back side of Lumber Key (at this point I am NOT going out into the open Gulf of Mexico) I began my downwind blast to Pavilion Key, it’s sandy beach glistening in the sunset light a mere 6 miles downwind! My Garmin GPS recorded a top speed of 9.6 miles per hour while surfing a wave and mostly above 8 on a sustained run. It did drop precipitously every time I misjudged the wave frequency. I had my prodigious posterior hanging over the transom on that wild downwind sleigh ride covering the 6 miles in less than an hour. with the daggerboard pulled all the way up, and just barely blocking the fountain of water from the well. I had just barely enough rudder submerged for control, as I was intent on ramming the beach head-on and thus lessening the distance I would have to drag the Goose to be above the high tide mark. With my posterior slung WAAAAY out over the transom, the bow rode over the coarse beach, and I released the mainsheet to let the sail blow directly downwind behind the mast. This spared me two most disagreeable possibilities. Pitchpoling onto the sand, or breaking the mast! The Eagle has landed!

Now about the cursing part! Although the mileage is around 11, as the charts depict, the actual distance run is probably more than double that. I was cranking, and a lot of the time spent perched precariously along the rail, or over the transom. This resulted in some serious horizontal cracks appearing on my posterior. For want of a better term we will just call it “waffle-ass” and I will spare you any pictures. Just think of it as being an excellent surface for playing Tic-tac-toe. This is all your fault for putting that skimpy narrow cleat on the transom. I am modifying it sufficiently to prevent any recurrence of my gluteal disfiguration. I figure 14 inches should about cover it (CYA).

Saturday Night Special: A Memorable Ride Out To Pavilion Key, Jan. 28, 2017 Part 1

The Annual Chokoloskee to Flamingo Camping Trip is a staple among the Hobie AI and TI sailors prior to the Everglades Challenge in March.  Keith Wellman, WaterTribe name is Chekika. coordinates the event and to miss it is to miss the social and fishing celebration for January.  Many WaterTribers use this as an excuse to get away from domestic chores, and to get an opportunity to test out their camping and sailing skills, as well as to work out kinks in navigation or sailing techniques.  The dates and locations are subject to the whims of weather and participants availability.  Chekika was to have begun 2017 by entering the Everglades Challenge, a 300 mile adventure race covering roughly 300 miles from Ft. DeSoto down the western fringes of Florida, and ultimately ending in Key Largo.  It is not dfifficult to sail, paddle, or row the distance.  The trick is to do it in the span of one week, plus a morning on Sunday.  This time limit virtually guarantees an interesting journey for all participants, as even the more famous, or well-prepared crews have run amuck along the way.  FGortunately I no longer have to worry about such worrisome restrictions since Chief, the head of the WaterTribe, booted my ass out of the Tribe and removed my name from the WaterTribe web site, and the Facebook page.  My picture no longer resides in the Rogue’s Gallery,  although I would seem to have a pressing claim to belong in that aptly named lineup.  Repeat Offenders all!  None of this in any way should be construed as my being critical of anyone or anything WaterTribe. Indeed, I made more friends, had more adventures, and  collected three Finisher’s Paddles in my time as a genuine member before ending my association in infamy during the 2016 Everglades Challenge!  But that is another story!

So there we were, at Chokoloskee, on a sunny saturday afternoon, Jan. 28, 2017.  Now Chekika has an air of military precision about his adventures.  He is  meticulous in his plans and preparations.  A worthy trait, and one I have never seemed able to master.   It does tend to result in my finding somewhat more adventure in my journeys.  Also more pain!  After all, good judgement is best derived from experience!  Experience comes from bad judgement.  Even the best-laid plans often do not pan out, much to Chekika’s dismay, as the three prior Everglades Challenge practice sails were less than inspiring and resulted in his making the decision to not compete in the 2017 Everglades Challenge.  Chekika has nothing to prove to any of us who have known him, and subjecting one’s self to the ravages of 300 miles of hardship and adventure along Florida’s left coast is a take it or leave it proposition..  By not going this year he merely demonstrates a trait the rest of us seem lacking.  Wisdom.

Launch time is critical to reach Pavilion Key due to the vicissitudes of the brutal tidal flows throughout the passes in the 10,000 Islands and the Everglades.  I seem to have a particular talent for flubbing this critical aspect when departing Chokoloskee Bay.  Those thoughtful Rangers at Everglades City even print up a monthly tide table and are ever so halpful about local conditions on the water.  Their solicitous attitude is gratefully appreciated, but as usual, it was pretty much wasted on me!  The plan was to leave Chokoloskee at 3 pm and catch the outgoing tide on a 10 mile sleigh ride out through Rabbit Key Pass, and then make a hard left to catch Pavilion Key in the daylight.  With tidal flow reaching 3 miles an hour, sailors and canoers can really make some time.  Blow the schedule, and you will languish on the beach through another tidal cycle as it is dang difficult to make any progress through the mangroves agains an unfavorable tide. Between the mud, the mangroves, and the  “dragon’s teeth” of coral outcroppings surrounding much of Chokoloskee Island, there a plethora of misfortune that can damage, or even sink you boat quite easily.  I can vouch for this personally!

At any rate, Chekika and crew left on time and enjoyed a tidal boost on their merry way to their fists destination at Pavilion Key.  I was launching a Hobie AI from the Ranger Station launch ramp which added another 3 miles to my navigational projection.  With the tides only ruling the channels to the Gulf I calculated that I would be able to leave comfortably, if late and still make the distance to the Gulf of Mexico through Sandfly Pass, which lies directly across the bay from the Ranger Station.  This cuts out the 3 mile run down the Bay to Chokoloskee and would give me a chance to try my navigational skills as I had not been out this Pass since 2001.  No problem  With modern GPS this should be a piece of cake even though the tide would be dropping, and I would have to be careful about running the fins of my Mirage Drive into the silt.

Arriving at the ramp, I marveled at the mass of soggy humanity clamoring about hauling all manner of paddle craft.   The fleet was in, and you could not remove this clog with an industrial drum of Drano!  Patience is a virtue, and I calmly sorted my equipment, sequenced dry bags for insertion into the Hobie, and unstrapped the boat.  It was 3 pm and I had plenty of time.  It took an hour.  I borrowed one of the 3-wheeled caddie carts to roll the  Hobie between the steel bars guarding the ramp.  The thundering herd had disappeared in search of food and drink after a satisfying day on the water.  The temperature was above 80 degrees, and the breeze was perfect for bolting out of Sandfly Pass.  Ticking off the items on my mental check-list (usually a deficient method as written checklists are far superior, trust me also on this) I noticed my Coast Guard Signals Kit was missing.  Dang!  That is not a show-stopper, unless you happen to run into the Coast Guard (Which is the major reason I am no longer considered a member in good-standing among the WaterTribers)  Having ample experience with Coast Guard inspections on the water I headed off to the marina to procure suitable signals.  Surprise, surprise!  They did not have any!  Fortuately there is a hardware store in Everglades City right adjacent to the gas station.  A stunningly well-provisioned establishment with a superior young salesman with experience with the local Law Enforcement Officers, and before I knew it I had tallied a bill of 56 dollars and was in compliance with ALL forseeable emergency condition which would require flags and flares.  I also got the latest copy of the Coast Guard regulations to peruse at my leisure.  Good show, fellas.  I can recommend this hardware store heartily with asolutely no reservations!

So I launched into the sunshine and had a delightful sail across the Bay into SandFly Pass.  I had my SPOT tracking.  My trusty Garmin GPS Map 78 SC was ticking off the miles accurately.  I was also running my DeLorme InReach bluetoothed to my cell phone running on Earthmate so I had supreme confidence in my navigational abilities.  I even had a compass.  The tides about Chokokloskee Bay could be navigated by a congenital idiot who would only have to throw a leaf in the water and follow it’s path outbound.  Then it got dark!  Really, really dark!  No problem!  I can see the lights of Everglades City over my right shoulder.  Chokoloskee light pollution over my left!  On the forward right horizon is the welcoming glow of Marco Island, and just to the right of that we have the lights of Naples.  What could possibly go wrong?

Dang, the wind died and the sail is slatting a bit.  By pumping the pedals on the Mirage Drive I can make my own apparent wind, take advantage of the slackening tide, and make up speed in very little wind.  GRAUNCH!  Crap!  The non-retracting dagger boat on the old-style Hobie AI just grounded out.  The Turbo fins of the Mirage Drive are useless as they don’t flap well in mud.  I crawl out of the left side of my Hobie and jiggle the main hull to get a bit of clearance so I can yank the board out while keeping the fins from being damaged.  Yeah, they are down in the mud, too!  I yank the Mirage drive and toss it onto the wood haka, I don’t use a trampoline.  Now I only have to play with rudder depth and my trusty kayak paddle and I am golden.  Earthmate does a creditible job with my phone, but there is no way to keep to the channels since there is always new deposition of mud in the wild. It is good, but not perfect!  Man, is it dark out here! Let’s go find that channel.

On reaching the Gulf of Mexico I head southward along the chain of Keys dotting the coast.  The temperature is dropping and the wind and waves are kicking up throwing spray into the shallow cockpit of the Hobie AI.  Yeah!  At this point I am pretty much sitting waist-deep in a plastic bathtub.   The commander of my partially submerged U-Boat!  Gotta love it, or stay home.  Wish I had  tied some string around the ankles to seal the legs of my expensive $9.99 yellow Harbor Freight rain suit.  Every time I kick the Mirage drive the water entering at the ankles ends up pooling in my crotch.  I have a 600 dollar Stohlquist dry suit hanging in my closet at home, which would put paid to such discomforts, but I note I am not going to be sailing past that closet anytime soon.  Good planning, Jughead!  It’s getting cold, and it is still dark.  An old sailor once asked me if I knew the difference between dark and hard!  As it turns out, it stays dark all night!  You figure it out!

Now I am off of Turtle Key and nominally heading toward Pavilion Key.  The GPS always looks like it is straight-tracking  from point to point.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Spot and the DeLorme transmit every 10 minutes.  There is a lot of directional variability underlying that electronic cursor.  A plain compass is often more accurate.  I got my polypropylene hoodie under my yellow rain pants but the temps have dropped into the 50’s, and sitting on a pair of wet balls is not conducive to heat retention.  So much for proper sailing gear.  Next time!  Where is that missing island?  MY Garmin cursor says it should be near, while the Earthmate cursor and map refuses to move as my cold, damp finger no longer allows me to trigger the touch screen dry and secure in it’s plastic drybag.  Wish I had a dry bag right about now.  I gotta check into some neoprene underwear!

So where is Pavilion Key?  I overestimated my speed on the 5 mile sail in the shallows and had reeled in about half of the AI sail figuring that if I hit anything in the dark it would be better going slow, as opposed to going crunch!  Ain’t working out for me, and my ass is freezing!  Reel that sail out and kick it up a notch  I can see the red blinking navigation light off the South side of Pavilion, but the island itself is lost in inky blackness.  In the 2014 Everglades I was captain of a newly-acquired 20 foot G-Cat that had been solely constructed for a run on the Worrell 1000 back in the 1980’s,swhen the thousand mile painfest up the East Coast was still being conducted.  We ran into a wind lull that lasted from 11 pm to 7 am and we just gave up on sailing and drifted around in the dark off that infernal red blinking nav light off of Pavilion Key.  There were 27 of us captured by the calm and nobody saw nuttin’ all night long.  Never even took the sails down!  Just curled up and slept with one eye open while the mind-numbing red blinker pulsed on.

Now you gotta love Garmins.  Hit the HOME button and it goes from right atop that sandy shoal known as Little Pavilion Key to Hog Key, which is 10 miles down the coast.  Hmm!  I am close, sorta!  I do see the 3 mile line from the coast so by backtracking I can hit Pavilion key, theoretically.  Sail on, sailor.  The suspense is not killing me, but the hypothermia is having it’s inevitible effect.

With only the rudder hanging out the bottom of the AI I come to an abrupt halt.  The eagle has landed!  Pavilion Key, and the welcoming lights of my fellow adventurers light up the tents on the shoreline.  I drag the Hobie through the shallows up the beach to the camp.  In one final comic episode I trip on the rear aka and land face first in the surf soaking the upper half of my body.  Talk about dampening the body as well as the spirits!  I’m back!

Everglades Challenge 2015

Adventure racing is different!  There can be some racing, and a lot of adventure. Especially when you don’t really know how to sail, and the first adventure is 300 miles from Ft. DeSoto, Fl. to Key Largo, Fl.  Eight delightful days filled with golden Florida sunshine, balmy breezes, and the knowledge that no matter what happens this is going to be an easy, enjoyable cruise.  This is the Everglades Challenge!  I just wish I knew what’s up with that niggling little sentence in the description of WaterTribe Events.  The one that says:   If you are not an expert paddler and/or sailor, do not enter this race. Even if you are a well prepared expert you may DIE – yes, you may DIE. Of course they have got to be kidding!