Flamingo to East Cape Sable, Thanksgiving Weekend, 2007
Just finished my second AI camping trip. Went out to East Cape Sable in the Everglades on Thanksgiving weekend. Still learning. It was a group of 3 sea kayakers, 2 SOTs, and me. We left Flamingo on Fri, Nov 23 about 12:30 pm. Perfect day for kayakers--no wind. I mucked around for the first 2 hrs trying to ride every little breath of air. Result: 1.7 miles toward destination with 9+ mi to go. The picture tells it all.
At 5:10 pm, I had made another 5 miles west, but was worn out from peddling. Mind you, I was also sailing (tacking into a slight breeze) but it was slow and the wind was dropping to zero. It would be sundown in 20 min, and the tide had changed. The incoming current was running against me. My wife, Nancy, who was hanging around 2 miles further west, turned around and came back. We camped at Clubhouse Beach. Our friends had long since made it to ECS. I won't discuss the noseeums other than to say when Nancy arrived, I had our tent setup, and we dove into it with crackers, cheese, TK pumpkin pie, and a couple of ice cold beers. During the night, I dreamt of having my sea kayak.
We awoke to an unusually low tide (it would be a full moon that night). Clubhouse Beach is not an ideal place at low tide.
This is not our camp. It is Nancy and the AI in front of Clubhouse.
This was our camp. We once ran into a 6', 10-button Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake during a lunch stop here.
Fortunately, the tide came in, winds came up, and Rick, our 6th kayaker, came by and helped us move our boats to water. It was Nov 24, and the 3 of us arrived at ECS at about the same time. It was nice to sail with a bit of wind at our backs.
Our camp on ECS with Pat, Nancy, and Rick enjoying the parawing for a little shade.
More of our group: Lou, Lori, and Nick.
Sunset on East Cape Sable.
The final day, Nov 25, was an AI day. We had 18-20 knot head winds. The seas were running a 3' chop in the main channel which I tacked into. It took me about 4 hrs to do the 11 miles back, about 20 miles if tacking is included. But, the kayakers had a very tough time. The sea kayakers straggled in after 5 to 5.5 hrs, and they were spent. The two SOT paddlers took a break until 4 pm hoping the winds would die down (they did not). They arrived back at Flamingo at 9 pm. You have to take the good with the bad on a trip along coastal everglades. I'm happy to say my Coleman Xtreme cooler worked great.