W/W 2014 synopsis

Trip legs:

Jan 12th – Chokolokoshee to Crooked Creek 8.5nm

Jan 13th – to Darwin’s Place (Opossum Key) 10.4nm

Jan 14th – to Plate Creek 5.7nm

Jan 15th – to Rogers River 12.9nm

Jan 16th – to Broad River 12.5nm

Jan 17th – to Harney River (including 2 attempts @ Nightmare) 13.9nm

Jan 18th – to Shark River 8.9nm

Jan 19th – to Sth Joe River 13.nm

Jan 20th – to Flamingo 9.7nm

Total distance 93.5nm, Average moving speed: 2.3knt; Total paddling time: 42.3 hrs.

In hindsight:

  • Long Johns – I forgot how cold it gets at night, 2C was the coldest
  • Sleeping Bag – I took the lightest one I had which isn’t insulated for 2C, hence I froze!
  • Smart Phone – basically nil service along the Waterway, which is surprising as most of it is within 100km of either Miami or Naples. Also, I should look at using O/S providers rather than the O/S link to my Oz provider – cost and satellite access ended up factors which I could have done without.
  • Tablet power pack – left it in Oz, so it wasn’t much use with a flat battery.
  • Solar Charge & Power Pack – I didn’t check that it would charge my GPS, Tablet – which was a bother.
  • GPS – I took two and only used it to log tracking etc. Changed battery at Harney River.
  • Kayak Sponge – small item but really needed on the wet & sloppy days.
  • Bilge pump – left it in Oz, trying to minimise weight etc and overlooked a vital safety piece of gear.
  • Wine – after meeting Jim, realised that my minimalist idea limited social interaction.
  • Water – overestimated at 60 litres for the proposed 12 day paddle, though had it been a heatwave I wouldn’t have offloaded 25 litres overboard.
  • Brute Strength – I should learn to stop and think why a ‘zip’ won’t close rather than give it a massive heave!

Essential Gear list:

  • Folbot folding kayak – COOPER
  • Werner 4 pce Camano blade – always carry a spare
  • Northern Light Greenland 2pce blade – difference in design and blade means less wrist stress over a period of time.
  • Stohlquist PFD
  • Garmin GPS x2
  • Camera – Olympus Tough2 – magic unit as it can take either a tele-foto or wide angle lens – as well as living up to its name – TOUGH!
  • Tent – Hubba – ideal and lightweight
  • Smart Phone – as technology advances and satellite cover improves, this will replace my Tablet & GPS, but that is a few years away yet.
  • Tablet – ASUS as it is sturdy and (now) rechargeable off a Solar Power pack
  • Spot Messenger – safety and insurance
  • Marine VHF Radio – weather check & safety – though limited in range
  • Solar Charger & Power Pack – still undecided on which is the best unit

Future (upgrades):

  • Solar unit – the unit I had was unfortunately inadequate for the job but I bought it for weight and compactness – my bad.
  • Air mattress – purely an age thing – all in all I spent 20 days on a minimalist mattress – having trialled back in Oz, I’ll pack two minimalist mattresses and sleep with both under me.

that’s all ffolkes…