Monday, January 31, 2011

Everglades Challenge Route

Here we go, the route of the Everglades Challenge. We start on Saturday, March 5 at Fort Desoto Park at the mouth of Tampa Bay.

Along the way we have to stop and sign in at three checkpoints. To keep it from being too easy (hah!) the organizers have made it so the checkpoints are placed as diabolically as possible. Oh, and did I mention there is a time limit?

The first CP at Placida is about 68 miles down the course from the start. It's up a narrow creek after you pass under a low fixed bridge that will require me to take down my 24 foot tall mast in order to make it. CP 1 has the most challenging time limit -- we have only 29 hours to sign in or risk disqualification.

CP 2 is at Chokoloskee, another 60-70 miles down the coast. This requires some tricky navigation through some shallow twisty channels through the mangroves. Tides and wind may not cooperate, so be prepared to row.

CP3 down the coast 60-ish miles from Choko is at Flamingo, the southernmost inhabited place on the Florida mainland. It's surrounded by miles of one foot deep flats accessed by a very few irregularly marked narrow channels.

And the finish at Key Largo is only 35 or so miles from Flamingo. But between CP3 and the finish is many more miles of shallow confusing water and narrow passes.

If all goes well, I hope to finish in around five days.

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