Friday, February 28, 2014

Once More unto the Beach

It's boat-loading time. Besides KiwiBird and SandyBottom boats, I think I recognize the CWolfe avatar on the green-decked Tiderace Pace in the foreground. The wooden boat just past SB might be FeralCat's Pygmy, making the next boat DeadCat's Eddyline, but I don't know; could be the wooden boat is StripBuilder's or even SaltyFrog's. That does look like Dolphin Gal's Nemo with the red deck three boats behind SB. Where are KneadingWater and Seiche?

Most participants try to pack everything the day before--except possibly food, which must be defended from racoons assiduously--which means having redundant camping gear or a vehicle to sleep in. A spare stove will likely be used collectively in the campsite to boil water in the morning for vital fluids and a spot of porridge.

All of the folks mentioned above are what are called "elders," which means they have finished a Challenge (it's just a coincidence that there's no spring chicken among them;). Elders can self-inspect, but every first-timer must undergo an inspection of required gear by an elder. About now, the local West Marine is likely doing a land-office business.

By the way, credit for both of today's photographs goes to KiwiBird, although the breakfast shot obviously involved a helper.

Breakfast at St. Pete Beach

Since the the beloved Cottage Inn closed a few years ago, IHOP has become the go-to place for registration-day  breakfast. I can't be certain of it, but I'd almost guarantee that someone's having eggs benedict. On the left, we have John (aka Jake, aka PopTarp), who sails with Alan (aka SOS) second from right, Dawn (aka SandyBottom) at right, and, of course, Kristen.

I'm sorry to report that Dawn's father passed away yesterday morning. You can get details at Dawn's blog, linked above, but suffice to say that her mother and sister insisted that she continue with the Everglades Challenge. He had been sick for quite some time, and Dawn has flown to Hawaii every couple of months to see him and help out with care. In any case, our thoughts are with her.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Everglades Challenge 2014

It's time for round eight of KiwiBird's Adventures goes to Florida. If all went as planned, KB picked up SandyBottom at 05:00 this morning, and by now they've feasted on fried chicken at the stand at the back of the BP station (above) in Midway, Georgia, and should be near Jacksonville. And all in such luxury--in the new-to-KB Toyota Venza with (imagine this!) cruise control.

Prep for this year's EC has been minimal, what with the demands of work and school, but she'll paddle her way back into fitness within a couple of days. At this point, the weather forecast looks fairly benign: A bit chilly, with highs having trouble threatening 21C (70F) at Fort Desoto, and northerly winds at 16 KPH (10 MPH) or less.

As has often been the case in previous years, your faithful correspondent is Floatsome. I'll be with you daily until Thursday, March 6, when I fly to Tampa to ferry the Venza to Key Largo. Recall also that you can follow progress at the WaterTribe Tracking Map once they start on Saturday morning. You may also find some worthwhile commentary at the WaterTribe Forum.

Until tomorrow....