Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Christening

FliesWithKiwiBird finally let me take out the (NotSo)WeeOne (6) for a long weekend kayaking expedition, in the Seda Tango tandem kayak we'd bought a wee while ago. Floatsome joined us in his solo Mirage, and we decided to spend three nights/four days camping on Shackleford Banks, as I've often regaled Andrew with stories of the wild horses I've seen there when I've solo camped. And it's just a beautiful island, eight miles long, wonderful fine white sand, gorgeous ocean views and clear night skies, and you can wild camp any where.

We didn't want to drive the three+ hours to Beaufort without testing Andrew out first, so had taken him to my local training lake--Jordan--for a 30 minute spin, just to make sure he wasn't going to baulk--thankfully we left with him begging for more.

We left from Harker's Island with a beautiful clear day, though a 5-knot wind against us, as was the tide. Fully loaded with gear and a lot of water, I'd often have to remind Andrew to keep paddling, as there were times we weren't making any head way! 9km and a few hours later we rounded the point opposite Cape Lookout lighthouse and meandered down the island to find just the right camp site.

The crazy thing I never get used to on Shackleford is that we're on the east cost of the US, but the sun goes down over the Atlantic--it's the odd shape/angle the island is.

Cooking dinner up for the first evening. Never thought I'd bring a sieve/colander away on a kayak camping trip, but I hate soggy pasta and it packs flat--a great find.

Lookout Bight in the background.

A view of behind the sand dunes looking east, and back to civilization. We counted 15 wild horses in the distance, seemingly munching on the sea grass.

Sunday morning, we paddled over to Cape Lookout Lighthouse, another sight high on Andrew's want-to-see list.

We wandered around and then over to the seaward side of the Outer Banks.

We returned to the camp site via an inside loop of Lookout Bight, to paddle among the 50 odd mostly yachts and a few launches moored for the long weekend. The night before we'd sat on the beach gazing at the mass of masthead lights--it looked like a scene from Tangled, when all the lanterns are released--stunning.

And this is sometimes how I'd see Andrew paddling... "Andrew, I really need your help about now." Amazing what a difference he would make!

And then a wild foal gamboled onto the beach, and back up to its guardians, Andrew chasing along below them in utter delight.

 Lovely sunny evenings...
We had planned to spend three nights on the island, but Monday morning around 0700 a huge bank of black headed our way from offshore. We quickly dragged our tents, full of gear, to behind a couple of sand dunes and within about 15 minutes we were each tent bound for over two hours as 35 knot winds and lashing rain hit us--what a racket! Nothing fazed Andrew as we played a few imaginary games and chatted away. It was so noisy that I couldn't even yell over to David to check how he was faring.

When we finally surfaced, after a fair bit of discussion we decided to head home. Tomorrow's forecast wasn't too hot, and a fair incoming tide would be much later in the afternoon. We also knew we'd gain lots of browny points, acting so careful, like.

It was a terrific paddle back, even with Andrew "napping" every now and then, with a slackish tide and 15 knot winds astern. With Andrew paddling we even hit 5.1mph!

It was a sleepy chappie on the way home...

But a happy one, who'd even lost his first tooth the day before...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Today I became an American citizen!

A very nice ceremony this morning, at Raleigh-Durham's new US Citizenship and Immigration Services offices. I was one of 57 new citizens, representing 37 countries. One of the best parts was the Call of Nations, when every country represented was called out and those from them asked to stand. There were folks from Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Kenya, Panama, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Ireland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Canada, Britain, India, South Korea, and othersa real representation of the American melting pot. That brought a tear to my eyes.

Of course, what really set me awash, was the sign off, with a video of Lee Greenwood's song, God Bless the USA.

As we left, Andrew held my hand and said, Congratulations, Kristen."

Next steps: registering to vote, and applying for a US passport!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

EC2013 Days 6-7

Homeward Bound, as that great ol' song goes!

With FeralCat still snoring soundly as we packed up over him—later moving to a bit more space where SandyBottom's tent used to be—and me feeding DeadCat an apricot as she snuggled in her hammock—we headed off as dawn broke. Destination Flamingo, and Flamingo's WaterTribe-famous microwave hamburgers.

In true EC fashion, the tide was roaring out against us paddling up the Harney River, so we hugged the southern side of the mangroves to find some slack. It's always terribly exciting turning that last long right hand bend of the Harney into Shark River. Often, for some bizarre reason, if you've had the wind against you heading west up the Harney, you'll often still have it on the nose paddling east out the Shark. Not today. We caught the tide out, and even a breeze woke up, to pop sails.

In only one previous EC—my first—have I had the weather opportunity to have a decent paddle/sail down the long, wide expanse of Whitewater Bay. Normally, the winds have been atrocious, and we've had to head right across  east to snake down Joe River—which may shelter you from the seas that kick up on Whitewater Bay—but the winds are only slightly reduced, with only low grasses offering some protection. This was the second time, and what a lovely, sunny ride we had down the Bay, averaging around 4 knots.

Around 1400 hours, we arrived at Flamingo, with Seiche and KneadingWater's family to greet us. We'd decided on the way down to not stay the night at Flamingo—hey, we're not that much on holiday!—but to keep on paddling the last 55 kms (34 miles) across Flamingo Bay, perhaps resting on a key for the night, on the way to the finish at Key Largo. So we took off our for'ad and stern hatch covers, and with four of us hanging on to each side of the rim of each hatch, one-by-one slowly carried our four boats the 200m or so from the northern side of Flamingo's ramps, to the ramps of the southern marina. It was the most walking we'd done in a week.

Then it was burger time! And waiting for SandyBottom to reach Flamingo, to check what her plans were.

One day I'd like to visit Flamingo, in clean, dry clothes, and try one of the Flamingo microwave burgers, just to see if they taste as incredibly good as they do after six EC days. Just 45 seconds in the microwave et voila, heaven on earth. Down we scoffed those, watching SandyBottom arrive. She decided to stay a few hours to rest, and then perhaps head across Flamingo Bay later that evening. We mentioned that we may be on Rankin or End Keys, if she felt like stopping by.

Flamingo Bay. We paddle left to right.
And we were off. The first hour or so felt as though I was paddling in treacle. The tide was heading out, and there's a lot of water moving with that tide. It took us some time to finally reach Tin Can Alley, to truly head south. Flamingo Bay is around 99% very shallow—we're talking 30-50cms or mostly less in many places—with a few strategically placed windy channels—perhaps 60-70cms deep—to make one's way across. This is why speedboats have to stay on the plane to get from Point A to B. And one never leaves one's craft—the mud can suck you down. And without a chart for the day (or great local knowledge), and a GPS for night, you've pretty much had it trying to find your way across. I've never seen a pleasure boat on Flamingo Bay at night.

Seiche powering along.
KneadingWater, I believe pointing to the heavens...
Once past Tin Can Alley, we popped up sails and in dead calm, glassy waters, sped along. The sunset behind us was superb. We reached Rankin Key just before dusk, so decided to keep paddling in such superb conditions. KneadingWater shot ahead, and as night fell, we donned warmer jackets and turned night lights on. It kicked up a bit as we neared End Key, KneadingWater trying to find an appropriate place to make camp for four. HammerStroke, Seiche and I had pretty well decided that we'd keep paddling, but once we hit the beach, KneadingWater was a little less gung ho, mentioning that it would be safer to stay put. Hey, I'm back on holiday!

I was glad we stopped, in no hurry not to miss another last night of camping with great pals. We each found a wee place to pitch a tent in the scrub, and gathered together in the dark to cook a meal and yarn. It was nearer 2200 hours before we hit our pits. Everyone seemed to sleep very well. I was happy to lay there resting, dozing off every now and then. At 0400 I asked KneadingWater to stow his FEK sail, flapping as the wind increased, and around 0500 we were up and packing. The wind had changed more around to the NNW, and I realized that strategically, we should have taken Crocodile Dragover as our route across. If anyone else took that more NW route, they'd be well home before us.

With the wind coming in kicking up the foam in the shallows, the beach looked as though it had snowed in the night.

Of course, once we rounded Manatee Key, the keen NNW hit us, making a fairly typical long, wet—yet satisfying—ride to Key Largo. It's no fun if the last 10 miles or so are too easy!

As always it's great to paddle around that final point and slowly see—and hear—everyone waiting on the dock and beach at the finish line, cheering you in. Just makes you want to come back again next year...

A very happy KiwiBird, at Key Largo.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

EC2013 Day 5

Squeaking through the Nightmare at pretty well low tide.
A really fun day! Only a 46.6 km (29-mile) paddle today, to the next chickee on our permits, Harney River, but we still had to navigate the Nightmare and the eastern reaches of Broad River—all narrow, gnarly, overgrown channels, even more of a challenge when the tide's out...

Knowing that we only had a short paddle—but, hey, I'm on holiday now!—we all decided to sleep in until dawn, around 0600. But, as we have all come to know, as soon as that first zip goes off... Alex O was off first, and then SandyBottom. I soon followed, just as dawn peaked, knowing that HammerStroke, Seiche and KneadingWater would catch us up pretty quickly.

Dawn in the Wilderness Waterway is spectacular. As the mangroves are fairly low, you see everything—and that low sun in the morning can be pretty hard on your eyes as it reflects off the water so low. I hardly wore my sun glasses this year, and could see so much better, not fighting against salt-stained lenses. I found that with my Kokatat sun hat brim low, and my Buff up high under my eyes, I had no problems against the glare; and wearing a Buff, it meant my sunnies didn't fog up.

I shortly caught up with SandyBottom, with AlexO tagging her. The wind picked up, and we had some pretty close sails across the wider open bays. Until we hit Broad River. In true EC style, we doused sails as the blast hit us full on, and for what seemed like hours, hugged the southern side of the mangroves, trying to find shelter from the wind, and some respite against the very strong incoming tide. It's a long stretch of river.

HammerStroke, Seiche and KneadingWater stopped off at Broad River chickee—another favourite of ours—with KneadingWater immediately falling in. SandyBottom, AlexO and I declined and headed around the corner for the infamous Nightmare, afraid the tide would be falling even further. And it was.

There's only one real obstacle in the 13 km (8-mile) Nightmare when the tide's down—a pretty good sized log, right across your path. In a previous year, the tide had been high enough for me to just run it, up and over. Not this year! With SandyBottom and AlexO waiting patiently behind me, I tried to run it—raised about 10-12cm above the water—but got firmly stuck not even half way across. No pushing with my Greenland paddle was going to push me over—in fact, I had to stop trying to pole as the mud kept going on forever, swallowing up my paddle. Not wanting to break the back of my boat, SandyBottom paddled up and brought her sturdy Kruger bow aside my cockpit. I lifted myself out of the ocean cockpit—not as easy as a keyhole cockpit!—lowered my bum onto the bow of the Kruger, and stood up on the very muddy, slippery, narrow log. I then tugged my boat over the log, and managed a variation on a cowboy entry to regain entry into the cockpit. Et voila! AlexO very kindle captured the sequence.

And from my angle, with AlexO in the background.
Then it was Dawn's turn. She had it down pat, until she slipped off the log and fell in. It was amazing to watch her. She said later, knowing how deep and thick the mud was, no way was she going to touch bottom, instead springing right back up, wet to below her midriff, and not a speck of mud on her!

We both turned around and said, "Okay, Alex, let us help you over now." Alex just waved and said, no thanks, he would paddle back and find another route. He ended up heading out to the coast via one of the Nightmare's earlier tributaries, and then coming in Broad River.

Then it was on to the eastern reaches of Broad River. I've always believed that this stretch is far more difficult than the Nightmare. Most of the Nightmare you can paddle; not this section of Broad River. It's more hand-over-hand pulling yourself along. And it's even more fun trying it at night!

A couple more miles and we made Harney River chickee. The tide was a little low, which makes it a bit more difficult to unpack. We got all Dawn's gear out first—we weren't going to drag her Kruger up on to the chickee! By the time we were ready to unload me, HammerStroke arrived, and helped me drag my boat up, gear and all. By this time, Seiche and KneadingWater arrived. We put the boys on one side of the chickee, and Dawn and I on the other. I'm not too sure how long this chickee's going to last. It was starting to groan and sway a bit with us all decked out.

We ate dinner even before the sun went down. AlexO passed soon later, and waved on as he kept paddling to Flamingo—quite a paddler.

Pretty much asleep, we heard a couple of boats arrive, and the voice of FeralCat warning us to move on over! DeadCat strung her hammock to the side of Dawn and my tents, and FeralCat just hunkered down on a three-quarter length of 2mm foam, threw a space blanket over himself, with his paddling boots as a pillow, and slep soundly through the night. I could tell, as his head was only a foot or so from mine, and his snoring loud enough to scare away any pythons. Had to admire the bugger!

Near midnight or so, I could hear someone calling out "here, kitty, kitty," anticipating that the Cats were on the chickee. Seeing everyone else sound asleep and not an inch of chickee to spare, Scareman and OneEyedJake slowly paddled off, looking for a bit more room.

Monday, March 18, 2013

EC2013 Day 4

Wide awake far too early from the thrumming roar of the fishing diesels (an engine sound I normally enjoy), I trotted around to the Rangers Station for a pit stop. Thankfully, the Rangers leave the toilets open 24 hours. It was around 0530, still dark, and very cold, and I got the shock of my life. Two chaps were already standing in line for their permits, ready for the 0800 opening of the station! Fully spooked, I went back to my tent, grabbed my breakfast (one Ensure, seven apricots and a Luna Bar) and fleece liner, and wrapping the liner around me, made two new non-WaterTribe friends over the next couple of hours; very sensibly—and I must try this one day—they were meandering through the Wilderness Waterway on a 10-day kayak paddle.

Over the hours, a couple more WaterTribers showed up, and not as spooked as I, trotted across the road for a more civilized breakfast. I hate being in charge of the permits.

While I cannot for the life of me fault the Rangers at this station—they truly are committed to WaterTribe and helping us through the Wilderness Waterway as efficiently as possible—their booking system for chickees is downright archaic and utterly inequitable. Without going into too much frustrating detail (but I must say that even Google docs could help in this respect!), SandyBottom and I ended up with Lostman's Five for the first night, and Watson River for the second—the latter being out in the middle of plurry nowhere; in fact, I'd never even heard of it before. I normally also pick up permits for Seiche and KneadingWater, but had no idea where they were.

Permits in hand, I trotted back to my tent, packed up the boat and changed out of my dry clothes into damp. While the night sky is out of this world in this part of the world—a Milky Way to salivate over I only remember from my nights in NZ—the dew is not damp, but downright wet.

Just about to paddle off, and who should turn up but Seiche (above) and KneadingWater. They headed off for permits, and returned with Lostman's Five (yay) and Harney River, a chickee I'd asked for but had been told was full. I headed back upstairs to the station and was granted another two berths for Harney River—not ideal, but, hey, I'm on holiday now!

Mid-morning by now—having surpassed all previous records for obtaining permits—off I paddled up the back creek to CP2. This route is a find from years back—it means you don't have to portage your boat over the road at CP2, to start the Wilderness Waterway.

Arriving at CP2, I found that SandyBottom had left a half-hour earlier, as someone in the know had leaked to her which chickee to paddle to for the night. Thankfully, she had left a fried egg and bacon sandwich for me, and all was forgiven.

It's always a glorious paddle through the Wilderness Waterway —I never seem to tire of it. After an hour or so, I caught up with Dawn, who was paddling with Macatawa and his dad, Passaic Paddler. Good company. They were headed for Roger's Bay chickee, and then Joe River—perfectly spaced, which effectively put them about 24 hours head of us to the end, but, hey, I'm on holiday now!

We mostly paddle sailed the 24 or so miles to Lostman's, arriving an hour or so before dark, waving Macatawa and Passaic Paddler on. Dawn and I chose the best campsites and set up a brew of water for a freeze dried dinner. Just before dusk, Seiche and Kneading Water arrived, with HammerStroke for company. The pack was together, again.

One of the many reasons I really like Lostman's, not just because it's a ground site, is because of the marvellous sunsets. With not a breath of wind, and just the sound of porpoises feeding, it's a very special place.

And in the dark of around 2100 hours, AlexO joined us.

Not a lot of sleep my end this evening, as per usual (our fellow male paddlers do snore somewhat), but a very restful evening, and gratefully, my first warmer night. I've come to appreciate that my annual EC fix, while not only feeding the rat, is the only time I have to actually day—or night—dream, while I'm awake.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

EC2013 Days 1-3

DAY ONE: Normally, the IntraCoastal Waterway (ICW) running from Tampa south is pretty busy over the weekend, with pleasure boats of all sizes kicking up a sloshing wake, particularly in the narrower channels. I wondered why it was so quiet, until someone at Checkpoint 1 mentioned that there was a Small Craft Advisory out. And that was the reason for the pretty quick 100km (60 mile) run from the 0700 start at Fort De Soto beach, down to Cape Haze Marina, the new CP1.

Using the FEK sail I had a nice run across the very open eight miles of Tampa Bay, the forecast northerlies pushing us along. Half way across it steadily grew darker as a  wide band of showers ran over, but quickly clearing. The winds calmed a little in the lee of the first bridge, and as we entered the big open expanse of Sarasota Bay, I was wondering if the stronger northerlies had faded out. I didn't have to wait long. About half-way across the bay, they kicked in, and it was all downhill from there. Running down Sarasota I hit my second top speed of the EC, at 8.9 knots, and was consistently running from 5.5 to 6.5 knots, averaging 4.5 knots over the entire day—in fact 4.5 knots for the next three days. Occasionally, the bow of the kayak would submarine, but the surfing was superb. (I so wished I had a GoPro camera to film it all!) A number of times the rudder couldn't cope, and I'd use my Greenland paddle to help steer.

I had one four minute pit stop along the way, drank three litres of 50% diluted Gatorade, and ate about six bars—it was the only day I was really hungry.

11 hours and 50 minutes later—after 100km (60 miles)—and still in daylight, I landed at the new CP1, at Cape Haze Marina (blue roofs, bottom right of the image). I made sure to stick to the channels coming in, as the oyster bars protecting the entrance are pretty bad. A few folks had taken a short cut, and a couple had run aground.

I was a bit surprised to see a few Class 1 and 2 folks out of the water, setting up tents, and not heading on down the coast. After a royal greeting by Floatsome (CP1 manager), who very kindly brought me a cup of hot soup (yum!), and directed me to the water filling station, in about 30 minutes, I was up and off,  gently lowering myself back into my boat—the new checkpoint doesn't have a ramp. It was just dark as I left, and Jarhead in his Sea Pearl paddle sailed out with me—with another Sea Pearl—I passed them as we set off south.

My plan for the night was to paddle the nine or so miles south, to sleep the night at Dog Island, my usual stop just outside the old CP1. I had a terrific calm paddle sail, making the island in about 90 minutes. A large party was camped where we normally pitch our tents, with a huge wind block awning up and behind that a roaring fire. I paddled around to the east, and found a beach and small path up to a raised area. Tent was up in no time. An hour or so later, SandyBottom arrived, just as it started to rain. and it rained all night. It was the best night's sleep I was to have this EC.

Top middle photo by SpeckTater.
Upper top and bottom top photos by Glen Hayes.

DAY TWO: Around 0400, the wind blew! It sounded like a mini hurricane, particularly with trees around us thrashing. I whispered out to Dawn, "Can you hear that?!" She could. We packed up in the dark, and by the time we were ready to leave, dawn had broken and the wind had calmed considerably.

Paddle sailing south, we took a route for Bull Bay, but in trying to make a bit of east for Charlotte Harbour, I had us meandering too far east, finally doubling up and over to the eastern side of Bull Bay. Though we did find some possible camping spots...

We'd decided to stick together this morning, to check out the conditions for Charlotte Harbour—there are times the open crossing can be a bit hairy. About a quarter of the way across we agreed it was nothing, and Dawn gave me permission to scoot on. I had a great run across, and with the wind easing, meandered down Pine Island Sound's Matlacha Pass. I was a mile or so south of the bridge, with a northly breeze pushing me on, when the bolt dropped out of my FEK sail, where the boom fits the mast. It fell about a foot and landed right at the base of the mast. I couldn't reach it, and there was no where to land near me to rescue it. I slowly lowered the sail, and sat there, not taking my eye off the bolt. Looking back, I could just see a Kruger in the distance, and thought it must be SandyBottom. After about five minutes I recognized it as CWolfe/Charles. And for another 20 minutes, I just sat there, too scared to move and roll the bolt overboard! As CWolfe drew up beside me, I explained my situation; he very kindly found his Leatherman (now on my to-buy-list!) and screwed the bolt back in, recommending I purchase a tube of Threadblocker. We paddled on a bit together, but I drew ahead pretty quickly.

I'd been considering whether I'd be running the inside or outside route to Wiggins Pass, which I was fairly sure would be my port of call for the evening. Once outside of Sanibel Bridge, I decided that the inside route—one I haven't made all the way yet—would be the safest—there was a pretty stiff northerly, with seas around a metre or so. A Hobie T1 shot out from under the bridge with me, and soon I could tell it was Chief, reefed down for the crossing to Matanzas Pass. What a ride over to Matanzas—I hit 9.8 knots sail surfing the couple of kilometres across!

It was a very pleasant paddle sail along the back way, passing Big Carol Pass, New Pass, and then on to new paddling territory. The chart has the channel markers stopping at New Pass, meandering on south, but they actually do exist.

And with the tide (going out), about half an hour before dark, I made Wiggins, seeing it from the rear for the first time.

Tent up, can of sardines down, dark fell, and a few more boats started slowly arriving. I hit the sack, and SandyBottom arrived a few hours later.

DAY THREE: Up in the dark, Dawn and I headed off just as dawn broke. We decided to head out Wiggins Pass together, in the interests of safety, with the seas being against the tide. Heading out wasn't too bad, with some breaking waves around two metres. (We later learned that a couple of kayaks behind us had capsized.) I pulled away, and wouldn't see SandyBottom until the next day.

Jungle Jim was paddling his Epic 18Sport ahead of me, and a wee while later, CWolfe passed by in his Kruger, with full Balogh flying and a two-metre PAS. With a pretty consistent 4.5 knots paddle sailing, I later passed JungleJim and then CWolfe. With superb surfing skills, JungleJim was soon to retake the lead.

With the two to three metre swells rolling in along the coast, I stayed about about a kilometre or so offshore. It was quite something, and I kept an ever vigilant eye to sea. Which is probably why I missed Gordon's Pass, and then Big Marco Pass (how does one miss Big Marco Pass?!) and then nearly missed Caxambas Pass! With the conditions they way they were, Caxambas was Plan A, with Big Marco Plan B. I'd run it once before, years back with NatureCalls, and had it plotted into my GPS. And the moral of this story is, to always trust your GPS. As I've written, I nearly missed Caxambas Pass—in fact I was a kilometre past it, on my way to Cape Romano, when I figured out where I possibly was. My GPS said I was at Caxambas, but utterly amazed that I'd missed the huge opening of Big Marco, for some crazy reason, I wasn't sure. All the huge hotels were there, right on the northerly edge, and there were only uninhabited keys to the south—it sure looked like Caxambas... I called FliesWithKiwiBird on my cell phone: "Everything's okay (always good to start with that). Can you tell me where I am?" Having downloaded the app to her phone, the response was, "It looks as though you've passed something called Big Marco Island." I called Floatsome—he figured I was there, too. So back north I paddled, through some pretty exciting surf, and in Caxambas I went. Meandering through the keys, a little while later I passed CWolfe, who wondered how I'd got behind him, and then up behind me came JungleJim, who'd taken a wrong turn after making Caxambas.

I later realized that the reason I'd missed seeing Gordon's and Big Marco was because I was off the coast a way, and had been looking out to sea more, watching the sometimes breaking swells.

From Neal Key to the entrance to Chokoloskee, it's a run of about 12nm. I had a great paddle sail across, and could see PenguinMan inside a bit further, steadily making ground. And JungleJim was off.

Finding the tide coming into Chokoloskee, I just kept on paddling up to the Rangers Station, outside of Everglades City. Just before entering Chokoloskee Bay, a skiff with two Rangers powered past me, on their evening patrol. By the time I reached the Rangers Station, about 30 minutes before dark, they'd returned to the dock. I paddled up to them, took off my hat and signaled I wanted to chat. They spoke first: "Are you with WaterTribe?" "Is it my hair?" I responded. I explained that I was a night ahead of schedule, and not having anywhere to camp, would they mind if I left my boat at the ramp and pitched my tent behind the shed there. "It's against Park regs, you know. But okay." I thanked them profusely and paddled around the corner.

I called WhiteCaps/Toby, manager for CP2, and let him know where I was, and that I couldn't be bothered paddling all the way to CP2, to have to paddle back in the morning for the permits we'd need for the Wilderness Waterway, and then back again. He understood,even though it would mess  up my CP arrival times (as soon as I hit CP2, I'm on holiday!), and was around with JungleJim in about half-an-hour to chat. Always good to see Toby.

I pitched my tent, cleaned up, and staggered drunkingly across the road to the fish restaurant, where I delighted in grilled scallops, shrimp and grouper, washed down with a Heineken.

Terrible night's sleep, and I don't think I'll camp there again! Around 0200, and for the next two hours, all the big dieseled fishing boats left Everglades City, less than a kilometre away. It was deafening!