Tag Archives: Kayak Expeditions

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)

Everglades Challenge, Reflections: What Worked, What Didn’t

By Johna Till Johnson and Vladimir Brezina
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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The day after: Johna and Cynthia trying to take apart Johna’s stuck paddle…

“You should write down what worked, and what didn’t,” DolphinGal advised us when she was doing our gear check the day before the start of the Everglades Challenge. So, a tip of the hat to DolphinGal (who has a pretty impressive story of her own to tell about what worked, and what didn’t, in her Everglades Challenge, some years back).

Here’s what we wrote down…

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Everglades Challenge, Segment 6: Flamingo to Key Largo

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Last few miles

Start: Checkpoint 3, Flamingo, Saturday, March 8,  7:30 AM.
Finish: Race finish, Bay Cove Motel, Key Largo, Saturday, March 8, 9:10 PM.
Distance: 31 nautical miles (36 land miles).
Paddling time: 12.5 hours.
Rest time: About 1 hour.
Average paddling speed: 2.5 knots.

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Everglades Challenge, Segment 5: Highland Beach to Flamingo

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Through Broad Creek

Start: Highland Beach, Thursday, March 6, about 10 AM.
Finish: Checkpoint 3, Flamingo, Friday, March 7, 11:05 AM.
Distance: 39 nautical miles (45 land miles).
Paddling time: 20 hours.
Stopped time: 5 hours.
Average paddling speed: 2.0 knots.

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Everglades Challenge, Segment 4: Indian Key to Highland Beach

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Across Chokoloskee Bay

Start: Indian Key, Ten Thousand Islands, Wednesday, March 5, 2 AM.
Finish: Highland Beach, Thursday, March 6, 3:30 AM.
Distance: 40 nautical miles (46 land miles).
Paddling time: 19 hours.
Stopped time (Chokoloskee, Everglades City…): 6.5 hours.
Average paddling speed: 2.1 knots.

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Everglades Challenge, Segment 3: Magic Key to Indian Key

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Nap on the beach

Start: Magic Key, Estero Bay, Monday, March 3, about 4 PM.
Finish: Indian Key, Ten Thousand Islands, Tuesday, March 4, about 10 PM.
Distance: 52 nautical miles (60 land miles).
Paddling time: 24 hours.
Rest time: 6 hours.
Average paddling speed: 2.2 knots.

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Everglades Challenge, Segment 2: Cape Haze to Magic Key

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Along the Intracoastal Waterway

Start: Checkpoint 1, Cape Haze Marina, Englewood, Sunday, March 2, about noon.
Finish: Magic Key, Estero Bay, Monday, March 3, about 9 AM.
Distance: 45 nautical miles (52 land miles).
Paddling time: 19.5 hours.
Rest time: 1.5 hours.
Average paddling speed: 2.3 knots.

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Everglades Challenge, Segment 1: Fort De Soto to Cape Haze

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Sparkling in the sun

Start: Fort De Soto Park, Mullet Key, Saturday, March 1, 7:00 AM.
Finish: Checkpoint 1, Cape Haze Marina, Englewood, Sunday, March 2, 2:10 AM.
Distance: 55 nautical miles (63 land miles).
Paddling time: 18 hours, 10 minutes.
Rest time: 1 hour.
Average paddling speed: 3.0 knots.

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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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