My boat glided up onto the beach as I popped open my spray skirt. The dense smell of sweat and urine assaulted my nostrils. I slipped out of the boat and fell into the water, tried to stand, and contented myself with wading. I waded in the water for minutes, looking up on the island at the campers. Occasionally one would walk by and give me a look of total confusion, but the refugee Cubans arriving moments before distracted them from my arrival, at least long enough for me to learn how to walk again. Continue reading Key West to Tortugas, Part 3
Recently I have been studying the exploits of some incredible adventurers, specifically solo explorers in small water craft crossing bodies of water that regularly sink much larger vessels. The designs and the different methods of accomplishing similar goals are so vastly different that I find myself absolutely fascinated and curious as to what is the absolute best method.
The reason this is all of interest to me is because I am also exploring the possibility of embarking on one of these long distance adventures, one that I can only find record of one other person attempting, albeit with a companion and in a canoe. This man, Verlen Kruger, paddled from Florida to Venezuela, and that is exactly what I hope to do. Verlen completed the trip with assistance for long open ocean crossings, something I cannot expect nor intend to receive.
I joke that for a trip to become an adventure you must be absolutely regretfully miserable for some amount of time. It is not necessarily designed into the plan, but is very likely unavoidable. I am planning my next great adventure, one that will take me from the civilized world to a marine habitat for several months. My vessel is a 2006 NDK Explorer, british racing green. The proposed route, follow the Antilles from Key West to Puerto Rico. There are stretches that will take me out of sight of land for an entire day, left only with the company of the flying fish, dorados, and sharks that will accompany me and likely occasionally provide me with a meal. I’m outfitting my boat as a home, with electric bilge pump, sleeping pad inside the cockpit, fresh water supply spitting from the rear hatch, cockpit cover to lock down and survive even the worst storms, and a small sail for the favorable breezes. It is not a suicide mission, it is a vacation in fact. In may seem crazy but in fact it is a deviation from my usual course of venturing into snow-covered sub-zero forests. I will have my challenges, most definitely, but they will be winds and wildlife, baking heat and water water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.
I am using a lot of ideas from the greatest adventurers, Ed Gillet and Andrew McAuley most notably. Gillet paddled from California to Hawaii while McAuley paddled across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand, both in production kayaks. My adventure will be hugging land and will be much different from their trips into vast open water. But mine will carry the risks of Caribbean storms and entire days out to sea. I have obtained most of my knowledge from sailors, however, seeing as they are the most often to make trips like this.
This is a documentary on Andrew McAuley’s adventure. Take note of his kayak modifications, especially the cockpit dome, Casper. But most importantly, try to understand Andrew, to see where he was coming from. Please try to not be quick to judge him and instead try to imagine his life, how exciting it must have been and understand that there are many ways to live a life, and maybe one where we don’t fear death isn’t so criminal.
Full documentary: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/ifhx2EQEubk