Friday, March 9, 2007
EC Day 7..Three Miles From Finish Line!
DancesWithSandyBottom just called in from a sail boat outside of Key Largo and reported seeing KiwiBird three miles from the finish line! He said she has charted a straight course for the finish, which means she is heading in to the wind and should take about one to two hours to reach land.
Yesterday, KiwiBird called in at 15:30 to report she had reached Check Point 3 along with DancesWithSandyBottom, but had somehow lost KneadingWater along the way. Her Verizon cell phone wasn't receiving reception so she was calling via a borrowed phone, hence the minimal report.
After forceful prodding, she did admit that she saw "lots of alligators". And also reported that she "lost" her wallet two days ago at Check Point 2.
I thought this might of interest to those of you who are not familiar with the dangers of this race. It's the warning that is posted on the Watertribe site that all competitors have to read and sign before being admitted to the race.
No one ever said that KiwiBird was rational.
THIS IS A DANGEROUS EVENT
No Liability Or Responsibility
All people, companies, and agents associated in any way with any WaterTribe Challenge or event do not accept any liability or responsibility what so ever for your safety and well being.
Your safety and well being are your responsibility.
Consider the following:
The WaterTribe Challenges are long, grueling races that are extremely demanding, both physically and mentally. Entrants are encouraged to consult a physician to ensure that they are in good health and can withstand the rigors that participation entails. The physical demands of the race, combined with sleep deprivation, heat, cold, water, dehydration, and exhaustion, often cause participants to become disoriented. Amnesia, hallucinations, hypothermia, and other debilitating conditions are not uncommon. Such effects can impair judgment, a condition especially dangerous for the solo paddler or sailor.
All participants are required to comply with Coast Guard and local regulations regarding safety equipment and operation of their boat. Required Coast Guard equipment includes, but is not limited to, a PFD, signaling equipment, and lighting. Although the event rules require this compliance, the event organizers and associates will not take responsibility for your compliance. Your compliance is your responsibility.
A PFD is required by the Coast Guard and it is strongly urged that all participants wear them at all times. Weak swimmers or non-swimmers should not be in this race.
Water, even under normal conditions, involves certain inherent dangers. A person in a boat may be struck by overhead branches or man-made objects. A person may be struck by lightning. A boat may strike a stationary or floating objects causing injury. A boat may collide with another boat. A person in the water may be pulled under. He/she might be pinned against the boat or another object or under the sail. Boats and swimmers can be swept out to sea or into shoreline hazards. Even slow-moving water or small waves have tremendous force.
All participants are expected to be experts in their sport, their watercraft, and their equipment. Participants are expected to use watercraft that is seaworthy and suitable for the course. Participants are expected to be able to control their watercraft in any and all conditions. Participants are expected to become familiar with the course. All potential hazards of these races cannot be listed in this warning. If you are not an expert paddler and or sailor, do not enter this race. Even if you are a well prepared expert you may die.
Many participants will be tempted to travel at night. You should be aware that night travel adds to the potential hazards. Night travel also involves certain Coast Guard regulations on required lighting. Regard these regulations as minimums. As an expert you should be better prepared.
The effects of heat can be extremely debilitating and lead to injury or death. As an expert you are expected to know how to prevent and treat heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
The effects of cold water and weather can lead to hypothermia which can result in injury or death. As an expert you are expected to know how to prevent and treat hypothermia.
As an expert it is expected that you know how to protect yourself from the sun.
Lack of proper hydration (drinking fluids) and nutrition (eating) can exacerbate all dangerous aspects of the course and can result in injury or death. As an expert you are expected to know how to eat and drink properly before, during, and after the race.
Fresh water may not be available anywhere along the course except at the checkpoints. Animals will break into your boats and rip open plastic jugs to get at your water. After they take all your water, they will take your food. An expert would not let this happen.
Animal hazards are common. Within the last few years there have been several attacks on humans resulting in serious injury and/or death. These attacks have come from bears, cats, dogs, sharks, alligators, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, coral snakes, sting rays, barracuda, spiders, bees, hornets, wasps, fire ants, ticks, and mosquitoes. Other dangerous or annoying critters, too numerous to mention, are also in abundance. As an expert you are expected to know how to counter these attacks and it is expected that you have an adequate first aid kit and that you know how to use it.
Mosquitoes are ever present year round in Florida and especially in the Everglades. November through March are the best times for less of a mosquito problem but they can still be dangerous. Mosquitoes can carry disease including, but not limited to West Nile Virus. And there have been documented cases of large animals dying from mosquito bites alone due to loss of blood. As an expert you are expected to be able to deal with mosquitoes.
There are poisonous plants in some parts of Everglades National Park that can harm or kill you. Poison from the Manchineel tree was used by the Calusa Indians against Ponce de Leon and his men. Eventually, Ponce de Leon was killed by an arrow covered with Manchineel sap. If you rest in the shade of these trees, you will receive droplets of burning sap. Rain running off the leaves is poisonous. If you burn the wood, the smoke is poison. If you eat the berries, they may be the last thing you eat. Rubbing the wood on your skin will poison you. As an expert you should be able to recognize the Manchineel tree and all other poisonous plants.
As an expert it is expected that you would not be in these races without any special medications required for allergic reactions or for any other reason.
As an expert it is expected that you will carry a GPS, a VHF, and a cell phone. Even experts are required to carry an EPIRB/PLB for WaterTribe Challenges. No expert would allow these items to fail due to water intrusion or lack of batteries.
As an expert it is expected that you will listen to current weather reports and that you know how to predict and deal with the weather around you. Remember that the race will not be put on hold for weather delays, but as an expert you should be able to determine if weather conditions are not safe for you and your craft. It is not necessary for anyone to travel during a small craft warning.
Weather of less severity than required for a small craft warning can still present dangerous conditions. As an expert it is expected that you can recognize dangerous weather conditions and take appropriate action.
Even though you consider yourself to be an expert you may be injured or die in this event. Rescue services are not provided by WaterTribe or anyone associated with this event. There are no chase boats. There are no life guards. There are no paramedics or doctors. You are on your own. If you get in trouble, you should call the Coast Guard or 911 or passing boats. Only after you have been rescued by them should you call Event Officials to inform them of your situation.
If you drop out of the Challenge at a check point, race officials will make an effort to pick you up and transport you back to your car as soon as possible, but there may be delays lasting several days before you can be picked up. You will not be transported to any place other than your car and/or the finish point. If you are not at the appointed place at the appointed time to get picked up you will be left behind.
If you drop out of the Challenge anywhere, you are on your own and no effort will be made to transport you . You will be on your own. If you do not notify race officials that you have dropped out, you could be liable for search and rescue costs.
This warning cannot list all hazards, dangers, or other safety considerations. Assume this is a very dangerous event that can cause your injury, death, or mental anguish. By entering this event, you are asserting that you are an expert and you take full responsibility for your own actions.
Let me try to explain this one more time. By entering any WaterTribe Challenge, you are agreeing that all the people, companies, and agents associated with the event owe you nothing nor do we owe you duty of care or any other duty. We promise you nothing. We do not and will not even try to make this event safe for anyone. This event is not safe for anyone. This is no joke. We won't even try to warn you about every known danger or hazardous condition, whether we know about it or not. If we do decide to warn you about something, that doesn't mean we will try to warn you about everything. If we do make an effort to make some aspect of the event safer, we may not correct other aspects, and we may even make matters worse! We and our agents may do things that are unwise and dangerous. Sorry, we're not responsible. We may give you bad advice. Don't listen to us. In short, ENTER AND PARTICIPATE IN THESE EVENTS AT YOUR OWN RISK. And have fun!
I, __________________________, have read, understand, and agree to all contained herein. Further I release ANY AND ALL PARTIES associated in any way with this event from liability or responsibility. I am an expert paddler and/or sailor, and I can take care of myself. My physical condition, mental acuity, and health is good and more than sufficient to meet any and all challenges before, during, and after this event. In the event of my death, incapacity, or disappearance, I direct my heirs, family, friends, attorneys, agents, and all other associates and representatives to hold ANY AND ALL PARTIES associated with this event harmless and free from liability or responsibility.