Thursday, March 26, 2020

Solar Pillar Sighting Everglades Challenge 2013

Solar Pillar off the Highland Coast Everglades Challenge 2013
Solar Pillar off the Highland Coast Everglades Challenge 2013

Solar Pillar
I mention in our EC2020 report that Druce and I witnessed the solar pillar off the Highland Coast (some miles off of Highland Point) in 2013. This is my first attempt at recreating that sighting.

The silhouette of Druce, the boat, and the seas (sans light column) are from an existing photo of the setting sun that very evening, 4 March 2013.

I scrubbed the sun and the sky from the original photo, added a new sky, and tried to recreate the scene we witnessed that evening near the end of nautical twilight. The original photo jarred my memory of that sunset. I remember I could not resist my eyes from the resulting twilight to the northwest.

Near the time when twilight was complete, I panned my eyes to the northwest one more time. The light from the setting sun, just below the horizon was illuminating ice crystals in the atmosphere, that illumination reflected off the sea into our eyes, and that light was converted to electrical impulses which our brains interpreted. All of which is a miracle really, but at the time we had no idea what we were seeing. Honestly, it kind of freaked us out. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Team Kayak Lake Mead - Everglades Challenge 2020

Stellar ST21 Kayak and Falcon Sail Challenge 12
Light winds from the north, final 6 miles to Key Largo 


This was a good year, it would be a year with plenty of challenge for everyone. There were over one hundred craft of various types on the start beach. Four did not start. Fifty-six started but did not finish. Forty-three out of a one hundred and three boats made it to the finish beach in Key Largo. You can see types of boats, crews, and results below (1).

Monday, November 18, 2019

5 Years Old Climbing a City Water Tower

Robert Finlay 5 Years Old Climbing the City of Westminster, Ca Water Tower
Robert Finlay 5 Years Old Climbing the City of Westminster, Ca Water Tower


Climbing the city's water tank, I believe this was my first adventure. Well, the first adventure where I could very likely have died. I was five years old. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Team Kayak Lake Mead - Everglades Challenge 2019

Robert and Druce Finlay Everglades Challenge Start Beach Ft DeSoto, FL 2019
Practicing our start: Robert and Druce Finlay Everglades Challenge Start Beach Ft DeSoto, FL 2019


This year was dreamlike, very dreamlike. We have done this race nine times before, this would be our 10th, never seeming to reach the end...

We race, no secret about that. We would race if beaten a hundred times. We would race if no one else was on the beach. Our biggest competitor is ourselves from past years, the Ghost Team, those guys are hard to beat. But we try, every year we try.

For the second year in a row we paddled the Black Boat, our Stellar ST21 and swung Odin Gara Racing Paddles.

Boat Team: IronBob and TheJuice aka Robert and Druce Finlay


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Team Kayak Lake Mead - Everglades Challenge 2018

Start Beach Everglades Challenge 2018
Druce and I on the Start Beach the day before the race.
This is the 2018 Everglades Challenge story of IronBob and TheJuice, sometimes we're known as the Sea Breeze Ninjas. This was a very good year.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Team Kayak Lake Mead - Everglades Challenge 2017

Sunrise on Florida Bay for IronBob and TheJuice
Sunrise on Florida Bay for IronBob and TheJuice

This is the 2017 Everglades Challenge story of IronBob and TheJuice, sometimes we're known as the Sea Breeze Ninjas. This was a very strange year.

There was a small craft advisory in effect due to strong winds...

Saturday morning Druce (The Juice) and I (IronBob) and Sunshine (our kayak) were ready to race in all respects. But at 0615 the morning of the race it was announced the challenge would not launch from Ft De Soto until the advisory was lifted, yet the advisory was not likely to be lifted any time soon.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Team Kayak Lake Mead - Everglades Challenge 2016


Druce and I the day before the race on the start beach, Everglades Challenge 2016
Druce and I the day before the race on the start beach, Everglades Challenge 2016 


Paddling and Sleeping and the Ernest Shackleton Award
Everglades Challenge 2016 Report by Robert Finlay (IronBob):

It took me nine months to finally write this story down. 

This is our seventh story of the Everglades Challenge (the EC). Our WaterTribe names are IronBob and TheJuice and once again we paddled Sunshine in Class 2 (at night her name is Ranger). She's a SEDA Kayaks Triumph; 24' by 24", arrow like, agile for her length, and in the right hands quite seaworthy. For an explanation of our tribal names and classes of boat in this race, see my write up of EC 2014

Sometimes in writing up our EC story I've delved into my thinking and experiences, my emotions and passions, and even how I act and interact with fear and pain. My write up of the EC 2015 is a good example of all that. This time I think my story is going to be simpler. 

This year there were 90 boats on the start beach. There were 26 boats in Class 1, which are paddle craft in which 1 square meter of downwind sail per paddler is allowed. There were 10 boats in Class 2, which are paddle craft in which no sail is allowed. 

This year we would finish first among all paddle craft, our fourth time doing so, and seventh among all boats. This year we would receive the Ernest Shackleton Award for nautical excellence. 

But all we did was just paddle south and sleep a lot.