Sunday, March 10, 2019

Everglades Challenge report

An email from Paul about this year's race with Alan,
and a few photos of friends at the finish line.


The 2019 EC featured warm calm weather on Saturday and Sunday  --which seemed strange and made for drifting, rowing and paddling the EC22.  In all our previous EC events, strong winds and nightime shivering has been the norm.  The sailing Saturday was extremely slow all the way to CP1 via Stump Pass.  Saturday night we left CP1 via Gasparilla Pass into the Gulf. 

Sunday AM we sail/drifted in the Gulf down to Sanibel.  Sunday PM from Sanibel Island to Marco Island we were very happy to have a reliable steady wind and flat seas giving us about 4.5 kts all the way straight across the Gulf to Marco.

Entering Caxambus Pass at Marco,  we startled about a thousand pelicans roosting in a row of about ten big bushes along the canal.  In a chain reaction,  one bush after another,  the flocks panicked  throwing themselves out in every direction.  The disturbance filled the air with birds, feathers and ... um... a dried powder that dusted us and the boat with a lingering essence of eau-de-Pelican.  

Arriving at CP2 Monday morning, our competitors (the Thistle and the Highlander) were just in.  We all departed CP2 together.  The Thistle had a delay while we sailed neck-and-neck with the Highlander all the way to CP3.  Leaving CP3 at sunset ~6:40pm on Monday, we pulled ahead of the Highlander as we started across Florida Bay.  The  light NW winds gradually faded during the night. 

We began rowing at 9:45pm and over the next 7 hours our rowing intensity steadily increased as the contribution from the wind tapered to nothing.  We had done our best during the trip to take turns sleeping  --an hour here, two hours there--  but it takes two on deck when rowing.  We rowed at about  2.5 kts to the finish beach.  SandyBottom was on the beach waiting for us at 4:42 am Tuesday.  

There were showers, two hours of sleep, and then a breakfast at Mrs. Mac's.  Taylor flew in on Wednesday.  We are enjoying the Key Largo vacation time now, sitting under palm trees, chatting with friends,  tracking and welcoming the WaterTribers,  and taking it easy. 


Dawn, above, and Kristen, below.  They did not compete this year.  With all those shark and alligator teeth on their necklaces it is ok to take a break now and then.

Taylor, Dawn and Alan, above.

If you have ever met Paul you know he is always smiling.
I wonder why he does not smile in photographs.

Alan and Paul at the awards ceremony.


Tom said...

Congrats to Paul and Alan, and thank you for posting their tale. But that's not rowing they were doing, they were paddling.... I'm shuddering at the thought of an all-night paddle, that's dedication!

DancesWithSandyBottom said...

Yes, thanks Tom. We tended to use stand-up-paddleboard paddles for maneuvering/docking, and tended to use the oars for the more long-distance motor-sailing. The paddles worked quite well when standing or kneeling was feasible. Rowing while seated was more efficient and was preferred during the last seven hours to the finish. In the dark, the bioluminescence swirling in the water with each stroke was beautiful. It looked as if the oar was throwing a glowing ball of energy through the water.

Tom said...
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Tom said...

Sounds beautiful, despite the effort (or maybe because of). And what's that award you're getting? Tiny paddles? Reminds me of a pie eating contest where the prize is MORE PIE! :D

DancesWithSandyBottom said...

Ha! I do love key lime pie. In my mind the reward at the finish line is multiple trips to Mrs. Mac's Kitchen for key lime pie and delicious meals. Talking about 'grilled shrimp plate', 'fresh fish basket', and the pie just made us row/sail faster. The sooner we finish the EC the more days we have for pie. To me, it is literally a paddling contest where the prize is MORE PIE. Perhaps the tiny paddles should be spoon size! That would be brilliant!