Monday, March 05, 2007


( Be sure to check out the 8 great "Day2 Photos" section below! )

Having camped on Round Key about 7 miles from CP2, Team RAF awoke on Monday (Day3) at 8am to find 50 yards of sand/mud flats between them and the water but the tide rising. And, the sand wasn't too muddy to carry the boats down to the water.

At 9:00 am RedBeard called in to say that as soon as they delt with moving the boats down to the water, they wout be sailing the 4.5 miles over to Indian Key which is the gateway to the canal leading to CP2.

No new were problems reported. Everyone was doing well. Perhaps they got 5 hours of sleep.

They left Round Key at 10:15am and quickly arrived at Indian Key. WaterTribe challengers tend to have no time to stop and smell the roses.

With tides rising in the area, at Indian Key the tidal flow provided a conveyor belt of water toward Everglades City. There the lads arrived at the CP2 lockbox on the island of Chokoloskee at 1:10 pm.

SOS called in from CP2 at 1:14pm. He reported that the AA battery case on one of the VHF radios was trying to grow oxide crystals, coral and barnicles. Apparently all "waterproof" VHF radios will invariably do this if they are not kept in a perfectly closed waterproof drysack or case.

Now the team was faced with either cleaning up the corrosion or shopping for a whole new VHF radio in Everglades City. The team managed to clean off the corrosion and was ready to sail away after listening to a weather update.

Marine Forecast for Coastal Waters from Chokoloskee to Cape Sable
Tonight (Monday)
NorthEast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
[ditto: same conditions]
Tuesday Night
[ditto: same conditions]
East winds 10 to 15 knots becoming 5 to 10 knots in the afternoon. Seas 2 to 4 feet subsiding to 2 feet or less in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
Wednesday Night
North winds 5 to 10 knots. Seas 2 feet or less. Bay and inland waters a light chop.

Everglades City is a gateway into Everglades National Park and Team RAF has entered the Park. SOS said their plan was to sail an outside route along the Everglade's coast in the Gulf down to CP3 in Flamingo, FL.

Along the way they will come to Shark River. There they may enter travel SE down the middle of Whitewater Bay (a bewildering inland sea 16 miles long by 7 miles wide dotted with mangrove) or enter the Joe River which follows the southern edge of Whitewater Bay. Both routes lead to to the 3-mile long Buttonwood canal which terminates in Flamingo, FL.

As a connection between the Gulf and Whitewater Bay, Shark River has tidal flows that can either propel or repulse a boat entering from the Gulf.

Alternatively, Team RAF may by pass the Shark River, stay in the Gulf and sail around Cape Sable into Florida Bay. At the southern tip of Cape Sable they would have to "turn 90 degrees left" and sail/paddle due East to Flamingo.

Either way, CP3 is about 100 miles from CP2 and that distance will take them at least 17 hours if they average 6 mph. The trip depends heavily on winds and the timing of tidal flows.

Cellphone coverage in the Everglades National Park is all but non-existant. Few if any reports are expected until they reach Flamingo: there is a pay phone there.

(Don't forget to check out the great "Day2 Photos" update below! )

[DancesWithSandyBottom reporting]

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