Slept like a baby except for a few undetermined noises in the night. Once thought a raccoon was rambling around camp but this morning realized it was a cushion falling over on a tarp support. I yelled out once 'hit the road you SkunkApe dawg'. With the sun beating down I finally crawl out of the tent and notice Bob starting to pack his AI. Hope I did not run him off! Actually it is fairly calm at the moment with a slight SW wind. Bob decides it is time to head for Pavilion Key with the weather in his favor. He has planned to head home tomorrow (Thursday). I plan on Friday but would hold out another day if needed.
Still can't believe how much gear Bob manages to carry on his Adventure Island. Fishing gear, large cooler and more above decks. Major organizing and storage below. It is a lot of work packing and unpacking but Bob it carrying on with little fuss. I leave him to get the job done knowing he is on a deadline as the cold winds will surely kick back up this afternoon.
Bob just shoved off and is underway. I plan to kick back and prepare for one of the coldest nights to bestow the Everglades in a very long time. Temps are expected in the 30's by morning! Yikes, add 15-20 knots of wind to that and it all adds up to - NO Bugs!
The Hobie Adventure Island has a 'Mirage Drive' (pedal/fins) built in that helps move the trimaran kayak along in light winds. It also provides additional forward thrust for tacking into wind and waves. Here you can see Bob peddling on a very light starboard tack (wind on left side for non-sailors).
As mentioned previously there are many obstacles to avoid in the Everglades. Many of them just beneath the surface of the water. Here you can see a barnacle encrusted tree trunk just ahead. Not very recognizable but you may see a kayak off to the right in the background. This is Doug in his ocean going kayak. Doug and I met at the Everglades City launch our first day out. He was heading down to Highland Beach from which I assume he is returning here. A few days back I noticed Doug take a short break on Turkey Key his 2nd day out Tuesday. The land bridge between the two islands was covered at the time. Adios my new friend Bob - calm seas and fair weather be with you!
Check out the wind driven sand erosion in this photo! A good indicator as to the constant high wind speeds we have had here on New Turkey Key over the past few days. Most of this sand was blown in from the other side of the island barely 75' away at this spot. I was fortunate to get some ground level photos during this short calm spell! Any other time and the camera would have been sandblasted and ruined.
I kick back for a leisurely afternoon at camp. Like Robinson Crusoe I'm enjoying some remote island comforts at the 'Robinson Calusa' camp. Keen for sights, sounds, and a good story. I pull out 'Man in the Everglades' by Charlton W. Tebeau, ISBN 0-87024-073-0 and turn to chapter 4 'Chatham Bend and Possum Key' for a delightful historic read.
Before long I notice a few motorboats and associated noises down at Turkey Key and meander on down to investigate. There are four powerboats on the only deep water sandy landing spit around. People everywhere! Privacy Invaders of the worst kind!!! I'm just glad they are here and not on New Turkey Key... I catch a few of them by surprise while cutting/sawing dead mangrove roots, on the beach, for firewood. I don't really think this is legal and I despise the look of sawed off trees on a beach! I say hello and one guy invites me to come over to their camp tonight for fresh fish. The guy with the hand saw just stops and hands it over to another friend. They know this is not right! I don't know the exact rules on this, I'm not a Park Ranger and don't want to piss them off or ruin the rest of my vacation so I just say thanks for the invite and walk back to my island feeling a little uncomfortable. See the thing is that there was plenty of dead wood just lying on the ground behind my camp that required no cutting! At this point I wanted nothing to do with them. I'm sure some of them were good folks but I did not care to find out at this time. In this photo one guy is trying to break off the limb they were cutting when I walked up, with the outboard motor! This is not the type of careless people we need in a natural park. Steve would have let them have it and so would I had I really known the rules for dead tree cutting! Regardless, people know deep inside what is right and wrong and they knew this was wrong by their actions!
Back at camp I need a little cooling down. Good timing, the wind has really picked up and is cool. Hoping Bob made it to Pavilion Key before the breeze kicked back up as it is right in the direction he was headed.
I put on 'The Two of Us' tunes by my cousin Steve Robinson and wife Amelia Bruno. Steve is the reason I am here in the Everglades. Read about the life of Steve Robinson here. I visit the Everglades to be with Steve!
The wind is really kicking up now. Here you see a little sea foam kicked up from wind and waves on the opposite side of New Turkey Key.
And this is what it looks like on the windward side! Bob crossed this view just hours before. This is dangerous weather for small craft like open canoes and kayaks. It is blowing 15-20 knots and cold! This is the very reason I decided to remain yet another day. It takes me about 2 hours to tear down camp and pack Robinson Calusa anyway. I'll just wait for a better day!
Yee-Ha! Firewood collected for the cold night ahead, all picked up off of the ground. No cutting or breaking required! I have two shirts and a heavy sweatshirt on along with two pairs of pants and socks. Can't believe I did not pack a jacket!
One more cold photo walk around the island. Old crusty four cylinder engines were scattered around the Gulf side of New Turkey Key. I'm not sure what their origin, guessing sunk boats from storms past. Bob though possibly from a can mill or buttonwood bark stripper from the early days. Anyone reading this know? I would like to know.
Another view of New Turkey Key Motors...
The sun sets on another New Turkey Day. The temperature is now falling fast. I head back to start a much anticipated campfire.
I have now taken over 1000 images with the Canon 5D mark II on the single battery owned. I scoured the country looking a 2nd LP-E6 battery prior to this adventure with no success. I can't believe Canon would let so many folks down with these shortages. My solution was to carry some small, but heavy, deep cycle batteries and inverter out here in the wilderness using the home AC charger. It took 2 hours to bring it fully back from 30% remaining. Had I been able to obtain a 2nd battery it would have saved over 30 pounds of additional gear. Gee, thanks again Canon...
The cold Arctic air is upon me and this fire is GREAT! I constantly move in and out, front and back, maintain safe distance keeping warm. At some point my fuel supply will run out. It lasts about as long as I could keep my eyes open. I crawl inside my mummy style sleeping bag designed to 40 degrees. It was really OK after settling in, frost breath and all. This is what adventures are all about. It would be mundane without some unforeseen challenges!
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