Monthly Archives: February 2014

And We’re Off to the Everglades Challenge!

By Johna Till Johnson and Vladimir Brezina

A front is coming our way!

It all depends on the weather! (Actually, a front like this, with a nice northerly tailwind, would be very welcome during the race…)

After years of dreaming, eighteen months of preparation, two training trips, countless hours paddling and at the gym… we are finally off participating in the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge, a 300-mile adventure race down the Gulf coast of Florida, starting at Tampa Bay and ending in Key Largo.

It’s an unsupported, expedition-style adventure race, meaning that (from WaterTribe’s description of the event):

The distance is roughly 300 nautical miles depending on your course selection. There is a time limit of 8 days or less. Your safety and well being are completely up to you.

Unsupported means that there are no safety boats or support crews to help you during the race. Expedition style means that you must carry the same type of equipment and supplies that you would carry on a major expedition lasting 4 weeks or more. Camping equipment, food, water, safety, communication, etc. is required.

The warning that we are required to sign, written in inimitable style, makes fun reading! It culminates in:

By entering any WaterTribe Challenge or event, you are agreeing that all the people, companies, and agents associated with the event owe you nothing nor do we owe you duty of care or service or any other duty. We promise you nothing. We do not and will not even try to make this event safe for anyone. This event is not safe for anyone. This is no joke. We won’t even try to warn you about every known danger or hazardous condition, whether we know about it or not. If we do decide to warn you about something, that doesn’t mean we will try to warn you about everything. If we do make an effort to make some aspect of the event safer, we may not correct other aspects, and we may even make matters worse! We and our agents may do things that are unwise and dangerous. Sorry, we’re not responsible. We may give you bad advice. Don’t listen to us. In short, ENTER AND PARTICIPATE IN THESE EVENTS AT YOUR OWN RISK. And have fun!

Our goals are simple. The main goal is to finish, period (well, to finish in time to catch our flight home from Miami). The “stretch goal”—as they say in sales—is to finish within the 8-day time limit.

We’re not being humble. Some years, 60% or more of Challengers don’t finish. We could very well be among those, especially if the weather turns against us. But whatever happens, we hope to learn quite a lot about ourselves and our capabilities—and enjoy the ride.

We won’t be blogging for a while, but you can track our progress in (almost) real time. We each have a SPOT tracking device (required for the race)  that, over a satellite network, sends its current location every few minutes to a web page. Vlad’s is here, and Johna’s is here.

If you want to track everyone in the race, it’s here. You can select individual Challengers using the dropdown menu. Vlad is SeaHare, Johna is ZippyChick.

The race starts at 7 AM on Saturday, March 1.

See you all when we get back!

(Update March 11, 2014: Our individual SPOT tracking web pages retain the tracks for only a week, so if you read this post at a later date, the tracks will be gone. The common WaterTribe tracking page retains the tracks more permanently, although not indefinitely either.)

Everglades Shakedown, Day 6: Headwinds and Homelessness

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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IMGP2317 cropped small

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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Finally, Liquid Water!

By Vladimir Brezina

We’ve been ice-bound for the last month. No paddling—and we were beginning to feel it! But this weekend, finally, winter seems to have released its grip.

Here are a few photos from Saturday’s Manhattan circumnavigation (click on any photo to start slideshow):

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Threes:

“A three-picture story is a way to help you think about storytelling with images. To create a three-picture story, gather:

  1. An establishing shot: a broad photo of your subject.
  2. A relationship: two elements interacting with one another.
  3. A detail: a close-up of one part of your subject.”

Yes, I think I should be able to do that…

DSC_0503 cropped smallDSC_0563 cropped small 3Pelicans 15

More photos of Florida pelicans are here and here.

Travel Theme: Work

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Work.

Work is done upon an object when a force displaces it through a distance—

Work

—and nowadays, when everything works as it should, gigantic amounts of work continue to be done even when the workers take, for a few moments at least, a break from work—

Workers

From a Hidden Harbor Tour through New York Harbor in September 2013. Story and more photos are here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Treasure.

On an extended paddling trip, quite ordinary things become treasures!

IMGP2862 cropped smallCold beer!IMGP7000 cropped small

From our Florida paddle in April 2013, our kayak-camping trip to the Hudson River Islands State Park in October 2013, and our Long Island circumnavigation in June-July 2012, respectively.

Everglades Shakedown, Day 5: Navigating the Shallows

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

<— Previous in Everglades Shakedown

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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