We’re Back!

By Vladimir Brezina

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After more than a week away from civilization, paddling through Florida’s Everglades, we are back in NYC!

IMGP1706 cropped smallEvery time we are away from the news for an extended period, we keep in mind the story of Shackleton, who returned from two years in the Antarctic to the news that a World War had been raging for some time. Fortunately, no such news greeted us. But we did miss all of this year’s Christmas festivities. This was our Christmas dinner of 2013 ——————————>

Here is a preliminary small selection of photos from the trip (click on any photo to start slideshow):

Our writeup, with more photos, begins here!

75 responses to “We’re Back!

  1. looks like you had a great trip Happy New Year!

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  2. Have you seen Shackleton’s latest pics? Kodak’s mail-in development folks just got back to him about the rolls of film he sent in 100 years ago.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/12/30/258432566/lost-images-come-to-life-a-century-after-antarctic-expedition?ft=1&f=1007

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  3. mylifeinfocusblog

    Hi. Your photos, as always, are beautiful. You may have missed the NY Holiday festivities, but you are back just in time for a terrific snow storm. Don’t envy that! Like you, we’re in Florida, but now and for a bit more in the future. I hope to miss every single snowflake!
    Glad you are back. Missed your photos!

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  4. Looks like a fantastic trip and much warmer than NYC! I was especially intrigued with the photo of the tent on the dock under a roof. Is that an actually camp site?

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    • Yes. Probably about half of the campsites in the Everglades park are these platforms, called chickees (the other campsites are more traditional ground and beach sites). They are located in areas where there is no solid ground, sometimes for many miles around, only mangrove islands on which you can’t really land in any useful way. Although landing on a chickee, and especially unloading and loading a kayak that is floating several feet below the platform, is no picnic either… ;-)

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  5. awesome trip!… sorry about Christmas Dinner…but, your outing had to be worth it!

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  6. Gorgeous photos! Looks like an amazing trip! Happy New Year!

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  7. Fantastic! Happy New Year — we look forward to hearing all about your trip. Were you pleased with your distance/time/etc.? Did you encounter the famous Snopes alligator?

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    • You’ll get the full story in due course—the longer you wait, the better it will be! ;-)

      It was quite a smooth trip. The Everglades turned out to be smaller than anticipated. We learned a lot, and did much better that on previous trips in terms of the logistics of camping, avoiding sunburn and the little cuts and bruises that can make existence distinctly unpleasant…. On the other hand, we had bugs :-)

      We averaged more than 20 nautical miles a day. But in the Everglades Challenge we’ll have to do almost twice as much…

      No Snopes alligator. It looked like we wouldn’t see even one the entire trip, until we saw one in Alligator Creek…

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  8. Wow, what a wonderful and exciting trip for you both. Happy New Year and may all your adventures be safe and fun!

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  9. Beautiful pics! looks like you had a nice time! beebee

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  10. Welcome back from what looks like an amazing Christmas. I see you captured a beautiful king bird atop a tree. More lovely exclamation marks on the photos. Wishing you both the happiest of times in 2014!

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  11. Lovely, I needed to see something warm! Thanks for sharing!

    George

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  12. Nice photos as always. Hope to get some good photos to show you on next kayak trip starting end of month. And HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

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  13. Beautiful pictures! I may have to get your advice on kayaking – about to get my first one with a goal of crossing Mobile Bay this year. You make it look so easy!

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    • Go for it! We’ll be most happy to provide any advice we can. Happy New Year!!

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      • What type of kayak do you recommend for crossing this bay? It can range from flat-calm to being blown south to the Gulf of Mexico (or north, depending on the weather!). The bay averages 10 feet deep but has a rough shipping channel…Thank you!

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        • Well, what kayaking experience do you have and will you be going with others?

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        • Limited to whitewater rafting in Tahitis (rubber kayaks) on the west coast. I will go alone but will probably have a pilot boat guiding me. There are bull sharks but I understand they stay away from anything close to them in size! Thanks for your guidance…

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        • My first thought would be to say, don’t buy a kayak, but rent one. Most people buying their first kayak without having paddled much soon change their mind about what kind of kayak they really want…

          That said, you probably want a mid-sized sea or “touring” kayak—say 12-14′ long. A very short “recreational” boat is likely to be frustrating to paddle any distance in wind and waves. On the other hand, a long (17′) boat will require some paddling skills. Not that the mid-sized boat doesn’t, and you can still get into trouble, so having another boat along is probably a good thing :-)

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        • Excellent advice! Hadn’t thought of renting, but that’s perfect – we have lots of rental places along the waterways here. And that will allow me to buy a recreational one for routine fun, which also will help me train for it. Now, what kind of training does it take to traverse a large body of water? I’m about to run a 1/2 marathon in a week, but isn’t this mostly upper body?

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        • If you are paddling with the right technique, it involves the whole body—the legs more than you might realize—so long-distance running is probably very good general training for paddling too (never having done it, I can’t say for sure), as are many other cross-over sports. But ultimately the best training for paddling is going out there and paddling as much as possible…

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        • Johna Till Johnson

          Johna here, weighing in on the training issue (since it’s front and center in my mind at the moment :-).

          I would suggest weight lifting with independent focus on arms/shoulders, core/back, and hips/legs/glutes, plus any kind of good cardio (training for 1/2 marathon should be ideal). As Vlad says, the motion is mostly a core one, but you’ll find that conditioning the other upper-body muscles can be a help–and if your form is correct, you’ll find a surprising amount of effort coming from the hips and legs.

          I have a theory that kayaking torso rotation is most closely approximated by swimming crawl stroke (freestyle), but I haven’t yet tested that theory in serious training. I will let you know, though!

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  14. Thank you for sharing this fantastic journey!

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  15. Quite a good alternative to a traditional Christmas meal :)

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  16. Happy New Year! You inspire me to get paddle trip planning underway for 2014! Beautiful… can’t wait to see more photos.

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  17. Happy New Year ! A very great trip, with wonderful shots, as always !

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  18. Fantastic photos, very interesting impressions! A happy new year for you both :) ! Rgs Anja

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  19. BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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  20. Which is this place. Looks like heaven. :) best wishes for the new year.

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  21. A Paradise!! Wonderful photos!! Happy New Ydear 2014!!

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  22. Nice way to start a new year! Beautiful photos.

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  23. Dear Vladimir,
    Looks like a great trip! Just looking at the sandals I am green with envy! Compare this to paddling on the Hudson or upstate New York in a dry suit. Happy New Year!

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  24. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge & Travel Theme: Beginning Full of Possibilities | Wind Against Current

  25. Looks like fun! Happy New Year!

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  26. stunning images as always!

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  27. Pingback: Shakedown Kayak Expedition Through the Florida Everglades: Overview | Wind Against Current

  28. Lovely images Vladimir, MM 🍀

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  29. Like a tonic to look at these images. But unlike Shackleton, you didn’t miss the headlines. You came home to the arrival of headlines —- these snowstorms! these subzero temperatures!
    Maybe Shackleton is really appropriate as a reference. Maybe we’re all living a new normal here in the New Antarctic!
    Hope you and Johna are doing fine and keeping warm. (The photos are undoubtedly helpful.)

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    • Those are headlines we could have done without ;-)

      We are keeping warm by writing up the Florida trip day by day, and trying to ignore the ice floes that are now filling up the East River outside the window… And (if everything works out according to plan) we’ll be going back to Florida in a month for the Everglades Challenge itself. Of course, by that time the weather will be balmy up here too—just our luck :-)

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  30. Looks like a fascinating trip, looking forward to more posts about it. Great pictures as always!

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  31. Pingback: Everglades Challenge, Reflections: What Worked, What Didn’t | Wind Against Current

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