Tag Archives: Kayak Camping

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Containers.

The key to efficient expedition kayaking is the successful management of containers. It’s taken us a while to learn that lesson…

How will all this stuff fit into those two little kayaks??

How will it all fit?(2014 Everglades Challenge)

It’s a matter of the right containers

Camp in the woods(2011 Hudson River paddle from Albany to NYC)

to be able to find things when we need them

Found it!(2012 Long Island circumnavigation)

and quickly set up camp before the evening mosquitoes swarm

Setting up camp(2012 Long Island circumnavigation)

or make dinner on a dark beach before the tide comes flooding in…

Dinner on the beach(2014 Everglades Challenge)

A Paddle to the Norwalk Islands

By Vladimir Brezina

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Last weekend was sunny and warm: It could already have been early summer. It turned out to be the perfect weekend for our long-planned paddle to the Norwalk Islands with our kayaking friends Alex and Jean, who are also fellow bloggers at 2 Geeks @ 3 Knots (check out their lovely blog!).

Johna and I left, early on Saturday morning, from Manhattan’s Pier 40 as usual.  We joined up with Alex and Jean at their base in Horseshoe Harbor in Larchmont, about half-way into the trip. We made it to the Norwalk Islands comfortably before sunset, and camped on Shea Island. On Sunday, we retraced, more or less, our route. Altogether, over the two days, we paddled about 84 nautical miles (97 land miles).

Here’s the story in photos.

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Everglades Challenge, the Days Before: Preparation and Gear Check

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Our preparation for the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge actually started more than a year before the event itself—in January 2013, when we decided that this time for sure, we were going to participate in EC 2014.

But it kicked up considerably following our Everglades Shakedown trip in December 2013. After that trip, we put together a detailed timeline covering everything from gym training to logistics to food and gear purchases—and more or less stuck to it. As we’ll detail later in “Reflections: What Worked, What Didn’t,” I started a serious lifting and high intensity workout routine in January, and tapered down in the weeks approaching the EC. And we found that dropping alcohol and coffee in the weeks before the EC—along with getting plenty of sleep—made a difference in our stamina and responses to hypothermia.

Meanwhile, we made lists and checked them off… purchased equipment… made hotel and plane reservations… got our SPOTs and PLBs, registered, and tested them… And of course, did training paddles when we could, though the Polar Vortex kept us from doing more than two moderately long trips in NYC.

But Murphy’s Law has a way of stepping in, and due to some work challenges I was concerned that at the last minute, I might need to cancel, despite all the planning. It wasn’t until the Friday, a week before the event, that we were sure we could make it.

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Everglades Challenge: Gear We Love

By Johna Till Johnson

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Gear in action

You can’t make a trip like the Everglades Challenge without relying heavily on your gear. And the quality of that gear varies. Some poorly-designed products break reliably. We haven’t yet found a “waterproof” headlamp that actually lives up to its name, for instance. And we’ve been through almost half a dozen in the past year. (So we make sure to carry plenty of backups.)

There are also those products that perform as they’re supposed to, day in day out. (Everything Kokatat makes comes to mind.) You rely on these products to do their jobs, and never think further about them.

But there are also are a handful of products that either perform infinitely better than you expect, or fill a need you didn’t realize you had.

For these products, you whisper a silent “thank you” to the manufacturers every time you use them.  I’m an engineer, so  I never lose sight of the fact that when there’s a product I love, it was conceived, designed, and tested by other engineers. And for the products below, I am devoutly grateful to the humans who created them.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Inside.

Inside our home away from home, pitched on the tiny Magic Key in Estero Bay, FL, we catch a few hours’ sleep before another night of paddling during the 2014 WaterTribe Everglades Challenge

Camped on Magic Key
Inside

More photos from the Everglades Challenge are here.

Everglades Shakedown, Day 6: Headwinds and Homelessness

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Start: Little Rabbit Key.
Finish: Sunset Point Park, Key Largo.
Distance: About 24 nauticalmiles.
Paddling time: Roughly 11 hours; average pace 2.2 knots.

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Everglades Shakedown, Day 5: Navigating the Shallows

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Evening in Florida Bay

Start: East Clubhouse Beach.
Finish: Little Rabbit Key.
Distance: About 16 nautical miles.
Paddling time: Roughly 7.5 hours; average pace 2.1 knots.

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Everglades Shakedown, Day 4: Portage, Paddling in the Pitch Dark, and Fending Off Furious Crows

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Fending off the crows

Start: South Joe River Chickee.
Finish: East Clubhouse Beach.
Distance: About 15 nautical miles.
Paddling time: Roughly 7 hours; average pace 2.1 knots.
Stop time: Roughly 5 hours (including portage at Flamingo).

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Everglades Shakedown, Day 3: Wind, Waves, and Chickees

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Ready for adventure!

Start: Highland Beach.
Finish: South Joe River Chickee.
Distance: About 23 nautical miles.
Paddling time: Roughly 10 hours; average pace 2.3 knots.

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Everglades Shakedown, Day 2: Barking Vultures, Beaches, and Bugs

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Toward the sun

Start: Darwin’s Place.
Finish: Highland Beach.
Distance: About 18 nautical miles.
Paddling time: Roughly 8 hours; average pace 2.3 knots.

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