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02/21/2018 04:25PM
For those longing for open water paddling and/or a Florida vacation in March- you can have both, kind of! The 18th annual Everglades Challenge Adventure Race will begin in less than 2 weeks. Too late to sign up but you can still watch from the comfort of your computer screen.

The race launches from Tampa Bay March 3rd and boaters travel south along the developed vacation-heavy gulf coast, through the desolate water-world of the Everglades, and finishing at the sand beaches of Key Largo. Boat types include canoes, kayaks, SUPs, rowboats, peddle-drives, and sail boats. Some people will travel fast and others will try faster- the slow are disqualified. Rules say they must make Key Largo in 8 days or less, no preplanned support. Almost all boats will use a combination of wind and human power- to rely on just one lessens the chance of making it in time.

Picture this as a combination of the TV shows “Survivor” and “Amazing Race” only it’s not preplanned drama. This is real- 300 miles +/- of constant challenges, planning, strategies, and physical & mental endurance. Participants must choose and navigate routes, deal with adverse weather, play the tides and tidal currents, avoid critters, plan their rest periods, and try not to give up when things go awry.

Notable for this year are the large number of canoes entered. Looks like maybe 20 and 16 of these are Kruger decked canoes. Also, likely some hurdles left behind by the aftermath of hurricane Irma.

The link below will take you to the shared Spot tracking map that will show an icon for each participant. On race day, the map will be reset and everyone’s current position will show up. If you choose the correct tabs, an individual’s unique track footprint can be followed. There is also a “discussion” button tab located at the top of that page that’ll take you to a message board that will have some updates and stories. Although, I think there may be a more active discussion ongoing in the facebook world somewhere.

Tracking Map
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member (43)member
02/21/2018 07:33PM
Thanks for the info, BeaV, that is really cool. I'll check it out.

Wish I was in Florida right now. Gettin' mighty sick of winter!
Grandma L
distinguished member(5229)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
02/22/2018 04:19PM
The Everglades Challenge is also being tracked on Race Owl. Two of our members are paddling in this event. David May (Mzee) and BeaV. I am ready for the drama to start - Next Saturday, March 3 - tracking and data. 300 miles in 8 days! - how fast can they go? how will the weather treat them?
Watching on both Water Tribe site and Race Owl Race Owl - Everglades Challenge 2018
distinguished member(527)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/22/2018 04:52PM
Dang-it BeaV, I had my dates mixed up. I'm there this weekend and was planing on shouting encouragement from Sanibel Island. Good luck my friend. I'll be creeping the watertribe and raceowl sites!
distinguished member(1062)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/22/2018 05:16PM
Looking forward to following. Really warm down there for Feb.
02/22/2018 05:28PM
I'll be rolling back into Minnesota about then. I'll have to watch it on ESPN. Haha.
02/22/2018 07:06PM
Thanks, Beav!
distinguished member(3404)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/22/2018 07:13PM
300 miles at breakneck speeds. You and I have different idea of " fun in the sun". ;) I wish the best of luck . Be careful.
distinguished member(2582)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/22/2018 07:20PM
My parents snow bird in Tampa and I visit them every winter, this year duing the third week of March.
Next year I may have to plan my trip around the Tampa starting point to cheer you all off.

I don't think I'm tough to do this challange solo, in an open bow canoe.
If I could hook up with another paddler, I might consider it in he future.

PS, BeaV I got my permit for the half Border Challange in September, and am looking foreward to it.
Good luck with your paddle in FL, hope you win the Gold for MN :-)
02/23/2018 11:40AM
JJ- Yea too bad our weekends are not aligned. Some cheering and a cold ice cream cone handed to me at the Sanibel Causeway would have been great. I hate the heat down there, when I'm paddling.

Frenchy- I hope the heat passes followed by 40 degree temps for the event.

nctry- ESPN- that would make for an interesting but long event. Grandma L outbid ESPN for the coverage rights and will try to figure out what's taking place and do some updates.

pswith5- it is fun (when it's over)

LT3- You should bring your folding canoe. Nice paddling available around Fort Desoto Park where we will launch from. Protected enough for an open canoe. You're right about an open canoe in the Everglades Challenge- it would be hard to stay afloat. The Gulf always seems to throw some big nasty stuff our way. That's part of the skill (luck) needed- when to be off the Gulf. I think only one open canoe has ever been allowed to try.
I'm pretty excited about the Border Challenges, too, but trying not to think about it, yet.
02/23/2018 12:25PM
So I should tell a little story here, in case you see a future picture of my canoe during the race which will raise a question.....

I have participated twice before in this and have enjoyed paddling with many critters most notably sharks, alligators, and crocodiles. But I have never seen a python. They are an invasive specie in the glades and are squeezing out the native critters.

The last time I was there, I received a special award at the finish and as part of that, I was given a little cute Easter Bunny that I was supposed to take care of and protect in an effort to try to make me a more "soft and gentler" person. I'm bringing him back, well cared for. But now he's on his own- in fact I'm going to use him as bait to get close to a python:-)

distinguished member(2967)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/23/2018 01:09PM
So cool - if it were a couple weeks later, I might've been handing you that ice cream cone @ Sanibel!
Good luck, looks like an awesome event!
02/23/2018 01:21PM
You could take some "eskimo ice cream". It would [sort of] survive the conditions. And bring back fond memories. :)
02/23/2018 03:28PM
boonie: "You could take some "eskimo ice cream". It would [sort of] survive the conditions. And bring back fond memories. :)"
Yummy akutuq (gutturally pronounced AUK-goo-duck)!

Eskimo Ice Cream Article
02/23/2018 05:21PM
Thanks for the interesting link. I think you'll have to settle for the less traditional Crisco and berries to satisfy your fat cravings and keep that energy up!
02/24/2018 04:32AM
Cute Bunny, but the PlayBoy type would be nicer. I'm not an expert paddler but that paddle ain't going to make it Beav. Travel save and thanks for the link, I'm sure GrandmaL will help keep your fans back here informed. FRED
distinguished member (311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/24/2018 07:16AM
I've been around two of the races, but haven't had the desire to accept that big of a challenge. Really cool seeing all the craft take off from the bay. My wife and I have done several Eco Tours out of Chokoloskee Island, several of the guides from there do the challenge every year, some real interesting stories. I do my winter canoeing on the Suwanee and Santa Fe rivers farther north.
senior member (67)senior membersenior member
02/24/2018 02:38PM
Good luck BeaV! We'll be "rootin" for you. We'll be on our way to Tx. so unable to track you. Nice paddlin' here lately, 40 degrees.
distinguished member(585)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/24/2018 04:41PM
We will be in Fort Myers March 3-14. If you are near there during that time and you need anything at all, give me a shout out.
Grandma L
distinguished member(5229)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
02/24/2018 05:52PM
Well, he is on the road heading south - Lucky guy, he escaped the north land just after the Thursday/Friday snow and before it started today. It has been snowing pretty hard here in Central, MN since 2 PM.
distinguished member(849)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/24/2018 06:48PM
Good luck BeaV. Paddle harder!
Grandma L
distinguished member(5229)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
02/25/2018 09:22PM
FYI, BeaV currently holds the record for this race in his class (2), type of boat (canoe), and not using any kind of sail. Participants are divided into racing classes by the type of equipment they are using and if traveling single or double. Beav is solo in a Kruger Sea Wind canoe- paddle only! Some of the other boats in his class will be racing kayaks.
For those of you who are interested and "boat smart", BeaV's Sea Wind is a 1:6 width/length ratio. Some of those racing kayaks are 1:10 or longer. This makes his paddle even more of a challenge.
Like HayRiverDrifter said, "Paddle Harder".
03/02/2018 10:07AM
Go get'em BEAV.

I will be following your paddle on-line for sure!
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