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Part 1 Dec. 23rd - Day 3 - Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation

Updated: Jan 29

Around Florida by Kayak Map

The weather this morning was as bad as yesterday. The wind shifted from East to Southeast, but one look through the narrow gap at Haulover Inlet and the sight of the screaming gale and horizontal rain was enough for me to decide to stay in the intracoastal waterway another day. This inlet has a treacherous reputation, it is narrow and the tide rushes through it like a river. Somewhere under the overpass there is a large boulder that shears the current almost 90 degrees, and can send a boat gyrating like a spinning top. On YouTube there are videos of inexperienced boaters caught in the whirlpools and some come very close to capsizing or crashing on the rock jetty, and that's when the weather isn't a raging storm.

The intracoastal from here to Boca Raton is called the Condo Canyon. Hundreds of high rises are stacked like storage boxes in a warehouse, side by side one after the other. The sunlight barely shines down to the water, except at midday, and only narrow rifts between the towers allow the air to escape. In summer the lack of air circulation must make this place hot like an oven. At times I was reminded of the time I walked from rim to rim across the Grand Canyon. I looked up to the different colored structures with their countless windows lined up in rows slowly moving past me and imagined them to be the layers of sedimentary rock towers with their tops bathed in the morning sunlight. There was a faint screech of the wind flowing some hundred feet above me, but down at the bottom of the canyon everything was still and calm.

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Then suddenly I was buffeted by a strong gust of wind on my side. It lasted maybe fifteen seconds, but it hit my sail and nearly knocked me over. Then another gust hit me from the opposite direction. "What the heck was that?" I thought. Whenever there's a narrow gap in the wall of towers facing the sea the whole energy of the wind has to squeeze through it, and it creates a powerful current that reverberates through the canyon

By lunch time I reached Port Everglades. I was a little worried paddling through here. Not because of the large container ships that run constantly through the port inlet to and from the ocean, but because I heard on the news two days before that there was a sewage force main break on the New River that empties right where I was due to paddle through. Ideally, I would have headed out the Port Everglades inlet and into the relatively clean ocean, but one look at the storm thrashing just outside the jetty, and I decided to take my chances with the foul water. Fortunately, I could not smell any odors or see any suspicious floaters; I only wondered if the oblivious looking paddle boarder I passed on the way knew anything of the incident up the river. Sometimes ignorance is a blessing.

Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation

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