With lots of time in my boat with not much to do but think I’ve been steering my mind toward trying to figure out how to better utilize the space the boat has. As I near the Everglades I need to have a way to carry a bit more water than I already am. I’ve been brainstorming ideas of re-arranging my gear to allow me to free up space for more water. After the last two months I’ve come up with a pretty consistent method for packing the boat that gets all the gear in without too much fighting but leaves very little slack space. It was hard to imagine any space that wasn’t already being used efficiently. I did have one thought however and today I finally took the time to see if it’d work. After a little brainstorming and simple foot pad alterations, I emptied out a bunch of space behind my seat in my day hatch which is prime real estate in a kayak. What I did was hollow out a space in the 2” foam pad I have for my feet to push on to make room to store the wheels for my kayak cart. The wheels had been in the day hatch so they’d be available without unloading the rest of the kayak. It doesn’t matter if they get wet so it was a shame to have them stored inside the boat. Not to mention whenever I used the cart the wheels would inevitably get muddy and I’d have to clean them off thoroughly before putting them away. My solution keeps them handy and with their location behind a ¼” pad under my feet it doesn’t matter if they’re a little dirty when I put them away. I was pretty happy when I saw how well it was going to work.
What’s happening now is if I continue at the pace I’ve been going, I run the very real risk of getting too far north too soon. After spending the entire trip so far paddling through areas at the roughest time of year I have no desire to repeat that situation on the Atlantic coast portion of this trip. Interestingly some unique opportunities have presented themselves that look like they will allow me to slow down while still having a fair amount of adventure along the way.
Besides having time to visit, it’s important to get there in a timely manner in order to give me time to get back over here at the end of the month to help out with the Sweetwater Symposium. I’m even going to be doing a slide show and telling the tales of the trip so far. Russell’s symposium was always on my calendar but after he named off the roster of awesome coaches he’s bringing in this year (especially Jen), I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
I won’t be running right back to Fort Lauderdale to resume the trip right after the symposium. Instead I’ll be hanging out for a few days, paddling some of the local waters and spending time with friends. Later in that first week of March a group of paddlers is due to arrive from the United Kingdom that I’m going to join on a trip back into the 10,000 Islands and Everglades. I will have just cruised through on my way to Fort Lauderale two weeks earlier but this time I’ll be taking the time to show them around and really see the sites.
After the return to the Everglades I’ll be driving back over to Fort Lauderdale and getting back on the route to continue north for about eight days before I fly out to San Diego for the Southwest Kayak Symposium. I’ll be out west until the end of the first week of April when I’ll finally resume the trip full speed in hopefully spring like weather on the East Coast.
All of this running around won’t allow the run along the keys to Key West that I had plotted as a potential side trip but I think all the other adventures I’ll be getting into will more than make up for it.
Aside from eating more food (no surprise there I’m sure) that sums up my day off and gives you a preview of what’s to come in the next several weeks. Now all I have to do is get back on the water and make it happen.