This is a day I am really not looking forward to. It could be my last day period...or the last day of my Everglades Adventure.
The forecast out of Key West remains the same, today looks like my best chance to travel Southeast for a while. Thunderstorms remain, I'm hoping to avoid them but even more important are the winds, 15-20 mph are pushing the limits of this canoe design. I feel confident the rig can it, what I'm most concerned about is the low freeboard and water entering through the laced cover from the constant of pounding waves while pressing the boat to weather.
This is it, off we go, it's been real NE Cape.
Final view of NW cape Sable.
It's still fairly early and it looks as though I'm in for a rough one. This darn storm is getting in my way, move over I'm sailing through. This could work two ways, one in my favor or one against me. I'll just maintain course and see what gives.
It did pay to maintain course as the storm passed to port and behind while changing the wind angle slightly where I may make middle cape without tacking. On the down side the winds and seas are increasing but on port tack the outrigger is press down, I'm most worried about starboard tack which will fly the outrigger. Until now I have been able to keep the full sail out for the best windward performance. As I furl the sail in the windward performance will decline.
The storm I just missed, a few raindrops and that was it. Thank you...
Working to weather (into the wind) is very tiring, I cannot take breaks more then a few seconds or loose a lot of ground. I'm aching all over and don't know how much longer I can keep this up. There is no safe haven, no place to rest. Calusa is taking on a lot of water while on starboard tack (wind on the right), I bail the water out on port tack. You can see by these streamers and weed line that the wind is in the 15-20 range. During gusts I cringe in pain, I'm having to keep the control lines wrapped around my hand for immediate release every few minutes or flip over!
Furled sail and doing about 4 knots but not in the direction I want to go. I'll be tacking quite a few times. It is not easy to tack in these winds and I sometimes must use the paddle to help get the nose through the wind. I would not want to be out here in a standard canoe in this wind and waves.
Very tired and concerned but I am making progress. The wind has actually been a little more Southeast then East which has added to the difficulty.
I can see the Islands surrounding Flamingo so my spirits are up. These are the Islands that Steve frequented from his Flamingo home.
Ahh...Flamingo harbor...I'm exhausted, spent, but sad to be at the end of this once in a lifetime incredible voyage.
One last look at Florida Bay then in to pack for the final ride home to St.Petersburg
One more bend.
It has been 11 days since departing on the other side of this marina. A dam seperates the backcountry from the Gulf side. You may be able to see the old lift beyound the sailboat. It could transport a boat, for a fee, from one side to the other. It is no longer operable thanks to hurricanes.
Landing safely and out for a stretch.
What a day, what an 11 days it has been. I'll miss this place but will be back in the future. Robinson Calusa and I survived to tell the tale of the Everglades. We have many other Florida waterways on our list to explore.
It took 2 hours to pack the car and trailer then 7 more to reach home at 3am.
It was a fabulous journey Steve, one I shall never forget!
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