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Part 3 - Jan. 30th - Day 41 - Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation


Around Florida by Kayak Map

Last night it rained hard. I forgot to cover the kayak cockpit and it filled up with water, leaned forward on the dolly, and kicked on the electric bilge pump which must have run for a good part of the night. I found out because I woke up with the sound of a really loud thunder bolt and decided to check on the boat outside and to my surprise saw the bilge pump spewing water like a fountain. Immediately I leaned the boat back to stop the pump, but who knows how long it ran for. Hopefully there is still plenty of battery, because charging it is a hassle. I haven’t used the electric bilge pump until now other than to check it from time to time. It’s a safety precaution in case I fail to roll back up in bad conditions and have to do a wet exit; hopefully I won’t need it for the remaining days.

I put in a lot of miles today to make the most of the Northwest wind. Tomorrow it will again switch to the South and the going will get slower, unless I can round Cape Sable and start heading East by tomorrow.

From Chokoloskee there are no towns until Key largo. The coast is almost all mangrove islands, shallow river mouths, and a few beaches where camping is possible. I had planned to stop at a beach called Graveyard Creek some 34 miles south from Chokoloskee, but when I got there the place was a tangled mess of mangrove roots, coral rocks, and soggy mud. I don’t know why it’s marked as a campsite on the National Park’s website. I decided to go another 10 miles to where I knew from a previous experience the beach was wide and sandy. That meant arriving right with the sunset, and to my surprise, given the recent cold snaps, a huge swarm of famished mosquitoes.

There were two other paddlers camped on the beach when I arrived. They were two brothers from Ohio on a 5-day journey up the Everglades heading North to Chokoloskee. They couldn’t believe I had left from there this morning and wanted to talk about the route. I told them about the bad conditions on the Graveyard Creek and suggested they go as far as Highland Beach tomorrow where I had seen one lonely tent pitched on the white sand when I had passed by a few hours earlier.

They wanted to talk more, but I was being chewed up by the mosquitoes which were also getting stuck in my hair. Of all the high talk and tales of giant pythons, alligators, panthers and other man-eating predators lurking in Everglades, people seem to forget that the mosquito is the most voracious carnivore of them all.

I ate dinner inside the tent and used one of my empty water bottles for peeing. Number 2 didn’t feel sufficiently urgent given the flies, that it could not wait until the morning.


Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation


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