Today the Team drove from our hotel at The Port of The Islands Everglades Adventure Resort and Marina south into the Everglades through Everglades City to the small village of Chokoloskee. The village has some vacation condos, some modest homes and a great mud beach for Everglades Challenge Checkpoint 2.
Once we arrived, we watched several Watertribers sail or paddle in. We met up with Blackbeard again and chatted with Penguinman (whose real name is also Jim). Lugnut and Havanamana were there doing a few repairs to Oracle.
All of the positive chatter amongst these guys, along with the very sailable conditions, prompted our dear Willymakeit to quietly say, “I’m inspired. I have the urge. I’m going to do it.”. Paul jumped in the truck, backed the boat to the water and before you can say his new Nickname “Betterlatethannever…,” he was off!
We watched him for a while down at the historic store at the south end of Chokoloskee, then he was gone. Hope he remembers to push the Tracker button on his Spot tomorrow as I think he forgot today.
It was about an hour later when I turned to Paul and said, “Did you happen to see his bug nets?” Dammit. I think they are in the boat. Sure hope so. He has lots of bug spray as well as a new buff to cover his neck and face (it’s a cloth tube of very lightweight material to keep off sun, bugs, snakes in the face. Etc.) so he should be OK.
The chase team drove along hwy 41 through Big Cypress preserve (Everglades National Park) and stopped at the Oasis Visitor center. It’s THE best place to see gators up close on that road. They are in a kind of ditch with a bunch of fish like gar, catfish, etc and there is a viewing platform do you can see them sleeping just below you. The biggest was about 12′ though we saw one swimming way down the ditch that had a huge snout so it may have been bigger.
It’s a favourite stop of ours on the Tamiami Trail. Some years ago, Jim and I spent March Break camping in our van in Florida. Not far from Oasis on the Loop Rd is a free campground next to a boat ramp. I remember washing my hair in the water next to the warning sign about gators and Panthers. Fun!
We made our way to a Travelodge in Homestead (nice!). Tomorrow we will drive out to Checkpoint 3 at Flamingo (in the National Park) to hopefully meet up with Jim.
We got two Ok messages from him and the tracker shows that he is at a little key south of Chokoloskee.
If you would like to see where he is, here is the link
If you can’t see a tracker map, please let me know and I’ll try to help.
Videos on another post later