|Druce and I the day before the race on the start beach, Everglades Challenge 2016|
|Everglades Challenge 2016 Course Overview IronBob and TheJuice ~ 266 miles|
|Everglades Challenge 2016 Mullet Key to Cape Haze ~ 60 miles|
|Everglades Challenge 2016 Cape Haze to Big Marco Pass ~ 77 miles|
|Everglades Challenge 2016 Big Marco Pass to Graveyard Beach - 69 miles|
|Master the Wind and Waves|
Druce brings us around ninety degrees left towards shore, putting us at right angles to the waves and we make for Highland Point. It's a hard battle.
We make the 2.5 miles to Highland Point in about an hour. 100' out from shore we are still fighting the wind. You have to be 50' or less from this shore to find reasonable shelter.
We make beach, I pick up Sunshine's bow by the carrying handle, I know better than that, to pull her a few feet further up the beach, when WHAM, the strap breaks and her knife edge bow drops across my foot. How could it not be broken? I recite every swear word in the dictionary of swear words. Morale check is dented, though actually it's my foot that's dented. My morale will be just fine, once I stop hopping around.
We put up a line to dry our clothes. We set up a ground cloth, eat a nice meal, and nap for awhile in the sun. Though, I keep sitting up to scan the waters of Ponce de Leon Bay looking for other Tribers. I don't see any, but my mind is ever on their whereabouts. I wonder if anybody is taking some interior route. Druce tells me to relax, there's no interior route that will put somebody in front of us.
Why am I so competitive? I have no idea. I guess - cats chase, peregrines dive.
Finally I see a sail boat making its way across the bay towards Shark River. Looks like a Triber.
Our plan is to leave around 2000 hrs putting us in good position for positive tide flow. It's hard waiting that long, really hard. At 1800 hrs I am up bandaging myself in preparation for departure. I'm holding my balls in one hand and a roll of gauze in the other and wondering what to do. They are in deplorable shape. Druce remarks they are like peeled and boiled beets. I'm thinking more like squished plums in the making of jam. Looking at them, it seems I will need to visit a hospital once I reach Key Largo. There is no morale check involved, it's just - it is what it is. Still, I need to figure out a way to bandage these things.
|Everglades Challenge 2016 Graveyard Beach to Key Largo ~ 60 miles|
We cross the 3 miles of the bay in about an hour. As we enter Shark River we see an anchored sailboat. It's Alan (sos), so it was a Triber crossing the bay earlier. He asks if we have some mosquito repellent, we do, and dig it out for him.
CP3/Flamingo, 27 miles, 8 hrs, SMG 3.4 mph, a very leisurely night of paddling.
On the edge of the marina to greet us is Alan (sos) again. He has already arrived and completed his portage to the Gulf side. He asks if we need a hand with our portage. Good guy!
We complete our portage in about 20 min, are making a meal, and getting ready for a couple of hours sleep when Michael (GreyBeard) the Checkpoint Captain comes over to say "hi" and share some cold pizza with us. Awesome!
I set my alarm for 0600 hrs for a 0630 planned departure but get up a half hour earlier to do - some more bandaging. I'm near the last of my neosporin and Alan has shared some butt butter with me, so I'll be in good shape for this last crossing.
Laurie Sanders, Jr. (Aleutian) is cruising the course in his truck and wishes us luck as we begin our push across Florida Bay.
|Last Day, Sunrise on Florida Bay, Everglades Challenge 2016|