Monday, February 16, 2009

Bishop Harbor to Shell Key Preserve

Here is the boat all packed and ready for paddling. My plan was to paddle out of Bishop Harbor and set sail and sail to the Gulf and then to Shell Key Preserve.
Here, outside of BH the wind was almost nonexistent so I decided it would be best to paddle to East beach on Mullet Key and if the wind picked up, I would sail on. Note the Sunshine Skyway in the background. Only 4.5 miles away. Paddling at 3.5kts I should be there in a little over an hour. Well...
Almost to the Sunshine Skyway. Check out the bow wave on the freighter. Traffic was busy today. At least 6 of these big ships passed me as I paddled along.
Well only two and a half hours later I made it to the bridge. The incoming tide was brutal. It pays to play by the tides.
The sun was setting as I approach Shell Key Preserve. The wind never did come up enough to make it worth rigging up the sail. I had to take a break at East Beach to let my lower back rest up. I am not in shape for paddling.
Here is my messy camp. The weather was beautiful wish you could have been here.
Here is my gear just before loading. From left to right:
  • first aid kit and personals in small blue bag
  • two food bags, orange with snacks stored in deck bag for easy reach, the green bag has meal supplies, the red bag in back is the mess kit
  • green bag has miscellaneous items like head lamps, bug repellent, extra matches, etc.
  • black bag is camp cloths
  • red bag is paddling cloths-warm weather and cold
  • skinny blue is mat for bed
  • sleeping bag
  • tent
  • in the deck bag I had my charts, note book, binoculars, sun screen, deck light and a survival kit.

I also packed 4 gallons of water, a tarp and a newspaper. Everything fit fine and I actually had more room in the boat for storage.

Look! it all fit.

Noisy visitors

Conchs playing tag.

Here are some of my learnings from this trip.
The boat performed to my expectations. I was able to reach my destination and have all the gear I needed for at least 3 days out. It paddled well in all conditions that I met and did so efficiently.
Below are some observations:
  1. A retractable fin is a must. The boat paddles so much better with a fin, however the fin has to come off to paddle through the shallows.
  2. Having a bit more free board would make the stowage process easier and keep the rider drier.
  3. It is important to be able to stow the sail and rig while on the water. If I had decided to sail out of Tampa Bay I would have had to change my plans and de-rig while on the water. I need to practice this maneuver more before I attempt the EC.
  4. As I paddled across the bay it became very apparent that I am in no shape to do the EC this year. My lower back was in extreme pain even with a backrest.
  5. Although I had a great time, it would really be better to have a few friends along to share the fun. I need to get busy and build some more boats.

So now that I have decided to pull out of the EC, what will my next adventure be?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Training Sail

I will be out on the EW the next few days to get in some training. My goal is to sail from Bishop Harbor on Tampa Bay out through the mouth of Tampa Bay into the Gulf. I then will sail up to Shell Key Preserve for the night. A short 14-15 mile sail. Friday morning I plan to sail from SKP south around Egmont Key and enter back into the bay through Passage Key Inlet and head east to Rattlesnake Key to camp. Another 14-15 mial sail. On Saturday I plant to sail back to the launch in Bishop Harbor. About a 9-10 mile sail. I know that the distances are short but I want to be sure I get comfortable packing and unpacking the boat. I also want to be sure that my gear is complete for my needs.

Here is the NOAA forcast: 1/24) Latest NWS Marine FX by KTBWValid through 2/11/2009 10:30 PM local time. tampa bay waters-
448 pm est wed feb 11 2009
.tonight...south winds 5 to 10 knots. bay and inland waters a
light chop. patchy fog after midnight.
.thursday...south winds around 5 knots becoming northwest in the
afternoon. bay and inland waters a light chop. patchy fog in the
morning.
.thursday night...north winds around 5 knots in the evening
becoming northeast after midnight. bay and inland waters smooth.
patchy fog.
.friday...east winds around 5 knots becoming south in the
afternoon. bay and inland waters a light chop. slight chance of
showers in the afternoon.
.friday night...south winds 5 to 10 knots. bay and inland waters
a light chop. slight chance of showers.
.saturday...southwest winds around 10 knots. bay and inland waters
a light chop. slight chance of showers.
.saturday night...southwest winds around 5 knots. bay and inland
waters a light chop.
.sunday...southwest winds around 5 knots becoming northwest in
the afternoon. bay and inland waters a light chop.
.sunday night...northwest winds around 5 knots. bay and inland
waters a light chop.
.monday...north winds around 5 knots. bay and inland waters a
light chop. slight chance of showers.
Have a nice weekend

Monday, February 9, 2009

Everglades Challenge

After giving it a lot of thought and working hard to cover all (or most) of my responsibilities I have decided to enter the Everglades Challenge. Now I have to be sure that I have all my gear in order and try to spend as much time on the water as possible.
Stay posted.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ft Desoto video

video

Ft. Desoto on 2/3/09




Winds 18-20kts, air temps in mid 50s. We packed out the board with 40 pounds of bottled water and supplies. Performance was a bit sluggish but we topped out at 12kts.