Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to Earn an Alligator Tooth

Apologies for the delay in posting this morning. I had an early meeting, and work just doesn't seem to have the right priorities.

KiwiBird overnighted at Lostman's Five Bay last night and was underway again at 06:05. On the image above, her overnight position was at waypoint 33. As of 10:20 this morning, she was at 50. Once she and Seiche get down to the second horizontal "lake," they'll turn westward on Broad River to the Nightmare, which actually runs vertically a little ways in from the gulf. Despite their names, Broad River isn't broad and the Nightmare isn't so nightmarish. KiwiBird and SandyBottom reported last year that Broad River was actually the narrowest and most overgrown spot in the Challenge.

The Nightmare intersects Harney River, and they'll turn back to the east to Tarpon Bay. There it's a right turn onto Shark River, and Shark River Chickee lies just a little ways past the split of Shark River and Little Shark River on the Little. Speaking of, if you didn't already beat me to Wikipedia, "chickee" is the Creek and Mikasuki language word for "house." The style of construction was adopted by the Seminoles and Miccosukees during the second and third Seminole Wars. Chickees typically have a palmetto thatch roof, as seen at Shark River (photograph once again purloined from last year's E.C.), which may explain why Lostman's Five Bay isn't called a Chickee.

KB and Seiche could easily go farther today, but I'm guessing they won't. If you divide the distance between Lostman's Five Bay and Flamingo, you pretty much come up with Shark River Chickee. Another choice would be Oyster Bay Chickee, but I haven't heard much about that one. It's also a bit out of the way if they're planning to cross Whitewater Bay. The wind forecast suggests they will, so Shark River makes sense. Incidentally, if you'd like to see something with more detail, the National Park Service has a nice downloadable pdf map of the park.

Finally, if you're wondering about the title, what KB and Seiche started to do yesterday and will finish tomorrow is follow the Wilderness Waterway from Chokoloskee to Flamingo. It's about 30 miles farther that the direct outside route, not to mention overgrown in many places and well populated by large creatures with big teeth. A Challenger earns an alligator tooth for her or his trouble.

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