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Have you done any "expedition" trips on the AI?
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Author:  Chekika [ Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Interested in an AI camp trip from Flamingo to Choko?

Anyone interested in doing an Adventure Island sailing-camping trip from Flamingo along the Gulf coast to Chokoloskee? I'm thinking of doing it sometime between Jan 20-Feb 17. It is about a 75 mi trip. I plan on doing it in 6 days. Tentatively, we would camp at Middle Cape (Day 1), Graveyard (Day 2), Highland Beach (Day 3, 4), Pavilion Key (Day 5). Day 6 we would sail from Pavilion to Chokoloskee. These sites all have potential for good fishing.

Sailing creates some complications that don't exist for a sea kayaker or stink boater. It is possible that 1 or 2 days of such a trip, winds may be very light, and we would be land bound. Ideally, on the days we have good wind, we could make up a lost day or 2. Of course, the ENP requires that you set up a float plan of camp sites. They hold you to those sites, except in emergencies. I don't think that will be a serious problem, but it could complicate the trip. Now, for that day or two we are “grounded,â€

Author:  FloridaRobot [ Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:55 am ]
Post subject: 

Keith, If you make day 5 a Saturday I may be able to sail/pedal out to Pavilion key and camp out with you guys. I'll order some charts of that area and get my camping gear dusted off.

Author:  Polecat [ Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Flamingo to Chokoloskee trip

:D Count me in Keith. If you do a shorter one before then count me in on that too.


Author:  Chekika [ Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:03 am ]
Post subject: 

Jim and Bill,

I think we have a deal!


PS I'm sure we will have a pretty good group join us on Pavilion.

Author:  Chekika [ Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Dates are set for Flamingo to Chokoloskee sail/camp/fishing

The dates are set for 7-day, sailing/camping trip from Flamingo to Chokoloskee (75 statute miles). Will take several days for relaxing/fishing during this trip.

A discussion of this trip can be found at


Author:  Chekika [ Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:55 pm ]
Post subject:  My third AI trip

Pavilion Key Trip, Feb 4-6, 2008

Bill Waller, Dan Wisor, and I did a 3-day trip, Feb 4-6, from Chokoloskee to Pavilion Key. Dan and Bill at the Chokoloskee launch.

Our route to Pavilion was into a headwind. The Google Image shows our tortured path from Chokoloskee Island via Chokoloskee Bay, through the passes out onto the Gulf of Mexico, then south to Pavilion Key. We had headwinds of 12-18 mph throughout the day. It took about 5 hrs to do the 9.5 statute mile sail (22 mi if tacking included).

All the oyster bars south of Chokoloskee Island, which look like white worms in the Google Image, lurk just beneath the surface at high tide. We did not put our dagger boards in until we made it through the passes to the Gulf.

Dan and Bill tacking near Crate Key.

Pavilion Sunrise

Pavilion NW-facing beach at low tide

Pavilion Spanish Bayonet

Bill putting in final touches before launching to return to Chokoloskee. That is my AI with my Coleman Xtreme cooler--great cooler for Florida. Rabbit Key, 4 mi distant, can be seen in the upper right over the bow of my boat.

Approaching Crate Key on return. Running before the wind, the return trip took 1hr, 40 min. Very relaxing.

The water leakage problem As mentioned above, the trip out was 5 hrs and required tacking into a 12-18 mph wind. Our 3 boats had from 1 to 3 gal of water in each one at the end of that day. The return trip was running before the same wind. The boats had no leakage. It seems there is a lesson here. Running before the wind on the return causes the boats to be uplifted in the rear. The bow regularly dove below the surface of the water, but there was no leakage. Going out, tacking, the bow did much less digging under the water, yet we had significant leakage. Conclusion: the leakage is coming in the stern of the boat.

If the hatches are all tight and the hull has not been cracked or otherwise compromised, the leakage is coming in (1) the 4 rudder control-line holes or (2) the rudder pin openings in the very end of the stern. Both Bill and I have our rudder-line holes pretty well sealed with marine sealant. That leaves the rudder pin openings as the source of the leakage. I'm going to make some effort to close off that leakage. I detest having a gallon of water sloshing around my gear during these AI trips.

Posted Feb 11, 2010. The previous comment on leakage had the wrong premise: “If the hatches are all tight….” Two years after that trip, I have a different read on the leakage. You can seal all the through-hull holes. If that is done, and there are no cracks in the hull, then the ONLY place water can be coming in is through the hatches. When we reached Pavilion the first day we had 1-3 gal of water in our hulls. Dan Wisor was sure it was coming in the front hatch and, on the return he put a plastic liner under his front hatch lid. I remember on that return, when we were running before the wind and the bow was diving below the waves regularly, I feared we would have gallons and gallons of water in our hulls. Arriving in Chokoloskee, I was pleasantly surprised to find essentially no water in my boat. But, how could that be? Quite simply, it is NOT THE FRONT HATCH LEAKING. It is the Twist-n-Seal hatches that are leaking.

This is my current interpretation of leakage of that trip. Returning it was the bow that was continuously being driven below the waves, but the rear TnS hatch was being lifted up above the waves. Going out, tacking into 12-18 mph headwinds, the bow was lifted up, but the TnS hatches—especially the rear hatch— were being pushed below the waves. Clearly, in retrospect and 2 yrs experience, it was the rear TnS hatch that was leaking (and to a lesser degree, the middle TnS hatch.)

Unfortunately, Dan Wisor was so upset at the leakage that he sold his boat shortly after that trip.


Author:  KayakingBob [ Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

Chekika, do all three AI's have the new up/down rudder pulls? Did they come with the new rudder line tubes, with the better seals on each end and the rubber "bead" on the lines (in the tubes)?

When we upgraded to the new rudder line "tubes" the amount of water getting in went from a couple of gal. each trip to maybe a cup. Hope that helps.

The pictures look inviting!

Also, what did you put the two "Top Hat" buttons near the front hatch for?


Kayaking Bob

Author:  Chekika [ Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Bob,

All 3 boats have the new up/down rudder pulls. Bill and mine were upgrades installed by us. Dan's was factory and he had the most water in his boat. I don't know what you mean by the "bead" in the tube. Can you explain more? Do you have pictures? Mahalo!

The "Top Hat" buttons are for a dodger, which I carry but have not used yet.

My wife and I were in HA about 1.5 yrs ago. Camped 17 days out of 20. Visited the Big Island, Maui, Oahu (for meeting) and Kauai in that order. I didn't know what an AI was at the time. We did kayak the 17-mi Napali Coast. Beautiful. If we get out again, I'll definitely look you up.


Author:  KayakingBob [ Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

if you move the lines (up/down or right/left) you should see a little dark rubber "bead" inside the tube, that limits any water that gets by the outside seal. They are a small rubber grommet in the spectra line. They work a lot better than the original 2006-2007 tubes. All a picture would show, is a dark spot in the tubes that moves with the line.

Sorry I missed you 1.5 years ago. Probably just before I got my AI's in Nov 2006. Next time you'll need to stop by, as we have 4 AI's in the yard (2 are friends) to play in. There are at least a dozen AI's here on Maui now.

This time of year is great for whale watching as well as sailing. The whales seem to like the AI's and come up pretty close to us. (We need to stay 300' away from aproching them, but the whales don't listen!)


Kayaking Bob

Author:  Chekika [ Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:13 pm ]
Post subject: 

I definitely have the older, up/down lines.

Wow, that whale! Clearly, they need to be given a citation for approaching AIs too closely. When I was in AK, whales around our kayaks were a bit scary. In an AI it might be almost fun.

Author:  KayakingBob [ Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:19 pm ]
Post subject: 

Every few months, we hook up the exhaust from a shopvac through a short piece of drip hose into the drain hole of each AI and using soapy water, find every air leak. Some are expected, like the rudder control handle. Some are reoccurring like the 2 screws on each side of the back hatch and around the mast cup. After tightening up all these, we did cut down on water in the hull. The excess air leaves from the front hatch, not a problem.

Also, while checking this, I check all the hardware for tightness. I've found the left front aka support screw is always a little loose on each of our AI's, as well as some of the mast "ring" bolts (that holds the balls).

I also noticed that some of you have a bungee ball on your sail like I did. REMOVE THE BALL! When slightly reefed, if you turn across the wind the ball will slap you silly, in the head, I KNOW! :shock: I now have a 1" cloth strap on the bungee instead, much softer. :lol:

Happy sailing,

Kayaking Bob

Author:  KayakingBob [ Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

Here's a pic of the newer rudder "tube". Notice the dark spot in the tube on the right, that's the"bead"

Kayaking Bob

Author:  Chekika [ Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:39 am ]
Post subject: 

Good picture. No, I don't have the newer tube. I have to correct that. I was able to see the little plug in one of the tubes, so perhaps they all have it. Also, the mirror shows that the rudder pin opening does not have access to the hull--good design by Hobie.

I'm trying to figure out how to pressurize the hull, to try and track down the leaks.

Thanks for all the advice, Bob--excellent, as usual.


Author:  Chekika [ Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:47 am ]
Post subject:  Everglades Flamingo to Chokoloskee trip, Feb 25-Mar 1, 2008

Flamingo to Chokoloskee Trip, Feb 25-Mar 2, 2008

On Feb 25 Bill Waller and I started our 70-mile, 7-day Hobie Adventure Island (kayak-sail boat) trip. Weather permitting, we would start from Flamingo at the south end of the Everglades National Park sail 20 miles each on Days 1 and 2 to reach Highland Beach. We would stay 2 days at Highland fishing and relaxing, then sail another 20 miles to Pavilion Key. After 1 day at Pavilion, we would sail the last 10 miles into Chokoloskee. That was the plan.

The Google image shows the Gulf coastline of Everglades National Park.

We got a late start from Flamingo, had light headwinds, and made only 4 miles. We camped at East Clubhouse Beach. I should not have been surprised. This was a typical starting day for my AI trips. The good news: we were underway. More bad news was that I had started the trip dehydrated—yeah, I had not been drinking enough the previous couple days. I had thigh cramps every hour on the hour from 6:30 pm to 1:30 am. I understood the problem and got re-hydrated the next 24 hrs. No more cramps the rest of the trip.

Sunrise on East Clubhouse.

After a restless night worrying about whether we could make 34 miles the next day, we launched at 8:30 am in nice winds from the SSW—much better than the first day. Throughout the day the winds strengthened and changed to the SW. We made the 10 mi to Mid-Cape by 11 am. During the next 24 mi, we averaged better than 5 mi an hour and arrived at Highland Beach about 3 pm. We had been sailing 7 hrs. During that time the only thing handy to eat was an orange—another oversight on my part. I had plenty to drink. Making Highland Beach was important, since a powerful front was coming through south Florida on Day 3 of our trip.

Highland Beach at 7 am on Day 3—View to the West

Gulf waters are heavily muddied due to strong NW winds. A powerful cold front will pass through the area within a couple hours. Squall lines came through at 3 am and again at 6:30 am with winds gusting to 35-40 mph.

By 6 pm, winds have diminished and shifted to the N and NE.

Day 4: Pleasant surprise. Highland Beach at low tide. It is a rare treat to see deer anywhere in the Everglades. To see them on Highland Beach makes the whole trip special.

The deer walk by Bill and AIs. I now realized these deer had no fear of humans. How many generations of deer, which are not threatened by humans, does it take to breed that fear out. Whatever the number, it is a wonderful thing.

Camp at Highland Beach. Many years ago, Highland Beach had been a palm farm.

Tide considerations forced us to leave Highland Beach a day early. The afternoon of Day 4, we sailed to Hog Key, 7 mi north.
Hog Key Vulture Welcoming Committee

This coastline was hit pretty hard by hurricanes a few years ago. It is just recovering.
Ready to launch from Hog Key on Day 5.

I showed Bill how to use his GPS and put in a few key waypoints while we were on Highland Beach. Now, during the 12-mile open water crossing to Pavilion Key, he has developed a ½ mile lead. Moral of the story: teach a guy how to navigate in the Everglades and you may never see him again. My ego was assuaged a bit when I caught up with him near Pavilion.

Arriving at Pavilion Key. We are now 10 mi from Chokoloskee and Dave, Alex, and Don have come out to greet us. More will arrive later.

Now it is time to relax.

Don and his saran-wrap boat. Don is a professional wood worker and built this boat in 4 days. It seems to work, since it got him to Pavilion and back to Chokoloskee. He even caught some fish along the way. Note: Don does not use Saran Wrap. He uses a heavy clear plastic available at Home Depot.

Day 7: As we approached Chokoloskee Island, Lou used his ultra zoom to get this picture of white pelicans and cormorants perched on an exposed oyster bar located about 0.6 mi to the SSW of the Island. These migrant pelicans are a fixture on this oyster bar every winter. Usually white pelicans are very shy of humans, but these apparently have seen so many kayakers and canoeists, that they are comfortable with the tourists.

Day 7: Chokoloskee landing.

A good place to end a trip to Chokoloskee is City Seafood Restaurant in Everglades City. Lou, Bill, Stevie (my Grandson), his Mother Marilyn, his Father Scott (my son).

Lou's comment about his grouper sandwich: "Can you believe this?"


Author:  AlohaDan [ Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

Great trip.

Wish I could do something similar. :D

I also have leaks in rough water.

Bob will try the shop exhaust trick later.

Can you post a pick of your clew hookup? I need a very fast release system for fishing.

But want to riterate loose screws and tightening.

I not only had fwd yaku come loose, it happened on a light wind day.

Fortunately I had already figured out I should carry a allen wrench for each sized fitting so it was not a major problem

I also lost a small ball when the screw came out. I discovered this when I had the yak all rigged and on the ramp ready to launch. Praying I returned to the truck. Miracle it was laying in the truck bed, probably shook loose due to vibration.

Morale: Add balls and associate screw to spare parts list. Small enough to warrant it.

I tighten everything and also used loctite.

In addition to closer regular inspections I am thinking of adding a formal "flight maintenance check" at regular intervals (3 months?)with a printed list of inspection points. To avoid capturing Chekika's beautiful trip maybe start a thread on this subject, picking up refs to RR , Bob's , and other's previous posts regarding drive, sail rigging, steering cables, etc.

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