Your journey

Great that you’re planning to enter the EC 2022! Do you plan to sail or paddle?

KayakVagabond (Greg Stamer) is part of our community. He has finished eight ECs the hard way: Class 1, no sail, and set a few records doing so.

I credit (or blame) the WaterTribe for my entry into paddling. I had seen only a few rec boats being paddled by lilydippers and it looked like a pretty dull activity. Then I stumbled upon the Everglades Challenge and followed it. That’s when my own journey began and it’s been a fun trip of exploration.

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I do know Greg! Have met him a few times in person as well as being friends on FB. I will be thoroughly picking his brain about many things in the next year. Lots of fantastic folks in the Watertribe that I look forward to getting to know better.

I’m planning to paddle with a small sail (Flat Earth or similar).

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Sounds epic. Did you survive?

For the most part.
of the things learned (again, this was back in '93):

  • rudders bend (when hitting hard things)
  • ocean surf is bigger than lake surf
  • salt water rash (salt water against skin - day after day)

even got one of these (on last leg of trip):


got this after a fisherman had been washed off a trawler in the vicinity the day before, and the SE trades were maybe a bit on the strong side.

I have been told by the authorities to get off the water. But never with a formal letter. :star_struck:

Hoping you make Matanzas this weekend.

I grew up in FL. My dad had power boats as long as I can remember. Lived 1 mile from the Atlantic Ocean with the Gulf Stream just a mile off shore. Had Coconut trees in our yard. Fished for blues, kings, sailfish, etc. in the Gulf Stream with my Dad. Also fished for bass and bream in fresh water canals, and Lake Okeechobee. Learned to swim and water ski when very young. As a kid we swam so much my Mom would check to see if we grew gills! :rofl:

When I was 13 we moved to Tampa Bay area and lived on a lake. Canoed in Boy Scouts and rentals at various spring runs. I had a small Laser like sailboat I sailed on the lake, and an aluminum john boat we rowed and sometimes used a small 5 hp outboard. Dads fishing boat we skied behind on the lake and fished Tampa Bay. Would visit friends back on the east coast and do a bit of surfing with them once I could drive.

The family moved to SC right out of high school and went to college at USC. The boats were sold before the move. Studying, dating, backpacking, and hunting were my then major passions at that time. Family moved back to FL and I stayed at college. Met my wife and married my senior year. Ended up in FL again working for the fish and wildlife commission in fisheries. Worked from power boats much of the time. Bought a fiberglass Mohawk Blazer 16 in Longwood where they were located at that time. It now stays at our 3 acre pond in the woods in SC. I also would go to the east coast and free dive collecting marine tropical fish I sold to retailers.

Went to grad school in fisheries at UF next. Did my masters on Orange Lake. Ended up working for UF for several years after grad school in Welaka. Often on boats to gather various samples, and collect water data. Did lots of canoeing in the tandem on various spring runs, and the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers. Even played in the surf with it learned very quickly not to be between the canoe and shore after a capsize. I also did some WW trips on the Chattooga using rental canoes with Carol’s brother and his friends in SC.

Moved back to SC to the wife’s hometown started a beekeeping operation. A good friend gave me his Folboat Super a tandem kayak with a sail he no longer used once I move away from FL. Did some canoeing, and kayaking, but backpacking, archery and bowhunting were my major recreational activity at this time. Archery consumed me for many years, and I practiced almost daily.

Fast forward to 2009 we still live in SC. the kids were grown and living away from home. I acquired an inexpensive 10’ rec kayak after my son bought one. That summer paddled a couple of rivers, and took it to the coast and surfed with it though it wasn’t really made for that. Found paddel.net and started looking there and craigslist for a used sea kayak. Bought a used 17’ 4" fiberglass North Shore Buccaneer with a paddle for $650 that fall The next fall saw I saw a Shearwater Merganser 17 kit someone had bought but never built for $400. I bought and built it. Now I had two sea kayaks. I paddled lakes , and surfed, paddled and camped at the coast with them. As age was catching up with me I bought a used Mad River Kevlar Explorer 16 for $500 on Craigslist that Carol and I took to the everglades to paddle that winter.

Decided I needed a solo canoe and bought a Curtis Kevlar Vagabond, and for tripping a Curtis Kevlar Solo Tripper. Both were used on craigslist. Had $1500 invested in the 2 boats. Later sold the Vagabond for $900. Bought a used Winonah Tuffweaver Advantage which I later sold to String. Picked up a used Mad River Royalex Guide for $220 that I fixed up for WW. Did the Nantahala, Tuck and Green rivers with it in NC with yatipope a couple of times before he and his wife retired and sold their house and bought a big RV to travel and paddle the country. WE stay in touch, and I got to paddle with him this last fall when they were back in SC. We also bought a Paddleyak South African made tandem surfski style adventure racing kayak so Carol and I can do some kayak camping together. She likes it when we paddle tandem together.

Got the sailing bug to bite me while paddling and visiting in Maine and bought a Potter 19 (has a cabin with sink, stove, 4 bunks, and potty) when we came back home. I have since bought a Wayfarer 16 sailboat. Joined a sailing club last year. Hope to make it to the FL Keys or Thousand Islands this winter to do some sailing.

I am glad that the Pandamnit is winding down, and have started paddling again this year with other paddling friends.

A couple of links to paddling post I recently posted here this spring. You may have already seen them.

Lake Russel, spring kayak camping in SC and GA - Paddlers’ Place - Paddling.com

Winds, tides and sand…3 days on an undeveloped wild Atlantic coast kayak camping - Paddlers’ Place - Paddling.com

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@castoff - I work for FWC/FWRI in St Pete. I do admin for the Ecosystem Assessement and Restoration group but my background is in coastal ecology and fisheries. Much of my paddling and all of my sailing is in the Tampa Bay area.

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Brodie, I’m glad to make your acquaintance!

I worked back then on the assessment of Grass Carp for Hydrilla control. Back then we were separate from DNR and called the Florida Game and Fish Commission. I loved the work!

At my age I still would like to do the Everglades Challenge. Maybe in my wayfarer with a friend. I have two younger friends that have completed it. Jeff Chambers is one of them.

On a recent Enoree River canoe trip with a friend here in SC we meet two WaterTribe members. We were eating lunch on a sandy bank. I commented on how I had only seen one other paddler on the river in all the years I had paddled there, When two paddlers came around the bend right after making that statement. Go Figure! I saw that the first was in what looked like a carbon solo canoe. Then saw it was a Placid Boatworks canoe. The lady paddling behind him was in a QCC kayak. they stopped, and after just a short conversation the lady said do you know Jeff Chambers. Surprised, I said I did, and had paddled with him a number of times. She replied he had been a great help when she paddled the EC. Her name is Judy Perkins (Hiawashe). I was to learn later that her story as a cancer survivor is amazing. They were headed to McClellanville on the coast. They put in at Musgrove Mill on the Enoree, and asked how far to the Broad River. From there they would enter the Congaree River at Columbia which becomes the Santee where the Wateree joins it just above Lake Marion. Then Lake Moultrie which after that dam becomes the Santee again. They would turn onto the ICW to go to McClelanville. Over the years I have paddled some of that myself, but not as a single trip. Jeff had provided some of the info for their trip. It’s a small world of paddlers it seems.

Florida saddens me with how developed the east and west coast of South Florida has become. Growing up so much of that coast was undeveloped, and each city was separated by undeveloped coastline. Now it is wall to wall people, and condos rise way above the dunes. My Dad will be 98 in Nov. In 1923 when he was born there were slightly less than than 2 million. Today almost 22 million in less than 100 years. When I was born there were less than 3 million. I don’t recognize many places I once loved. What’s happening to the earth reminds me of Casey Jones, and there is a train weak waiting around the bend. It’s good to know you are doing the work you do. I hope we can do more than just put band aids on the environment. Thank you for what you do.

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It’s a small world! I don’t know Judy personally but I know her name from following the EC tracker. She did the Ultimate Florida Challenge a few years ago as well - I might be crazy enough to do the EC but I have no desire to do what is essentially 4 ECs back to back!

I have noticed a difference in how crowded it is here even in the eight years I have lived in FL. It is getting harder and harder to find quiet places and there has been visible degradation of many of the spring fed rivers that I like to paddle - Weeki Wachee is particularly noticeable. I try to get down to the Keys to paddle in the backcountry every few years - it is still pretty remote out there especially for a paddler.

FWC has definitely gone through several iterations. I recently switched positions within FWRI (was in the Grants office) and the desk in my new office had a FL Dept of Environmental Protection property tag on it! I decided that some new office furniture was needed and am looking forward to getting back to working IN the office after 14+ months at home. It is a fantastic group of people and I really like working there. I can walk to the office which is great as well.

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I’m not originally from Washington but spent a lot of time in north-central Washington. Paddled the Wenatchee, Methow, Chewuch, Twisp, and the Skagit below Newhalem. Plus, I’ve canoed the Columbia (in separate trips) from Grand Coulee Dam to Richland. I miss living there but there’s a lot of water to enjoy here in the northeast. How about you?

I was all over Washington. Miss it too, but I like where I’ve landed in the Southeast as well.

String the Disco looks awesome but might be impossible to get here in Hawaii, where there are big shortages on new hulls at the moment. Any ideas on what would be most similar in the US?

…was a volunteer for FWRI’s RTOMP (lab) for nearly five years. It was a genuine privilege to participate in their program.

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No, I haven’t seen another boat comparable to the Disco. I think they are made in France.

Looks like you are correct. Will try our local Go Bananas! but not sure I’ll be able to find them. Would be soooo perfect for commuters, I think.

Good luck,!

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I paddle far more conservatively, but it is a combination of age and going to being a solo paddler when I am in Maine. Which is where/why my husband and I started out on the water, to get to all those islands. I suspect that even if it was still two of us, we would have pulled in out horns on the conditions we would be considering.

Suspect I will not be training up to try any more class 3 passes in WW, maybe rent a ducky now. And will leave tidal races to others.

As to boat weight, my pass to aging on the boat so far is just going to a day length kayak and having a Hullivator, since I always used a cart anyway.

As a child I would sit in the middle of my parents rental canoe on rivers located near Cincinnati
(L. Miami, Whitewater, Mad, Licking, Rockcastle). Then I was promoted to a bow paddler.
By the time I was a teen, I was doing these adventures with just peers and overnighting.

As a college student got a summer job with the BSA doing canoe camping trips in Northern Maine (Penobscot, Allagash, Aroostook, Moose). During the school year, we were paddling on the Cumberland Plateau and in WV- canoes, kayaks, c1s, rafts.

By my mid twenties I was video boating out of a c1 on the New and Gauley Rivers WV.
As the family grew my boating lessened but I still enjoyed an occasional family canoe, raft or ducky trip in Southern WV.

In my 50s I ditched the c1 (bad knees and hips) and started kayaking regularly (empty nester). I started rving in the summer and boating in lots of different states- I think I’m up to 33. Most of my paddling is on class II-III rivers and creeks. I get out around 60 days a year (400 miles). Overnights that involve camping out of boats is now a rarity .

I’m a legend in my own mind. I ain’t a boat snob. It’s all good (until you have to call the authorities). I’m not in great physical shape, not highly skilled but I’m still gettin’ out and enjoy helping others progress. If you can do it in a pond then I suck at it- rolling, fundamental strokes. form etc. If it involves playing in current, lots of rocks or getting lost- think paddling in a swamp with just a sketchy travel brochure for a map, then I’m your guy. I’m not done with suffering needlessly.

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As a kid, I was probably in a canoe 5 or 6 times. I played on a farm pond in a home made plank boat named Suicide. Not really doing anything but watching it leak.

FF about 30 some years and my son was in the BSA in a car camping troop They put me in charge of the camping merit badge and I picked up 2 ALICE packs and started changing stuff. After the week long camp or a weekend at a council event, they looked like a yard sale like every other troop.
Later, one father who owned the land that the fundraiser was held on had some hurt feelings and his son was out of the troop and we lost the fund raiser. The scout master quit in about 2 months IMHO because he had to deal with the mess w/o funds to be a car camping troop. Another guy stepped in and we figured out how to fund the needs, but not the cost of camps. We borrowed canoes and found packs and hit the woods. Lost some kids because it wasnt easy. Gained some because it was fun. We have the Allegheny river and the Allegheny National Forest and a ton of places we could go for free, if we were set up for it. We built a food truck and served burgers, fresh cut fries, and deep fried oreos at events. The kids got paid into scout accounts and bought gear from that. I had them over to my place and we camped in the woods and cooked on what we brought. I also tossed their packs into the pool right before the canoe trip to see which ones actually listened and made stuff water tight. That was funny. In borrowed canoes we did a 50 mile trip on the river in the first year. Knocked out a bunch of relatively short back packing trips and a lot of overnights doing 20-30 miles on the river.
I looked at the scoutmaster and asked if he thought we could run the whole trail. We noodled on it for a bit, planned the stops, and started in Kinzu and floated to Emlenton, 5 days, 107mi. They still talk about it. One of the funniest things that happened after was at scout camp a scoutmaster from another troop was touting his bunch because they did a 50 mile trip in 11 days. One of our kids put up his hand and said “So, what did you do after lunch”? We were the first troop from the council in Boys Life in 40+ years.
Its funny, but ADD disappears after 20+ miles on the river. If not the first night, then second. Also, after having them pack their trash and move out either in a pack, canoe or kayak, in about 2 years when we went to pick them up, at camp, the place looked like a yard sale, except our guys had their packs around a tree, ready to go.
I had picked up 2 canoes a 17’ Grumman, and a Discovery 169. I watched a guy paddle past in a kayak and thought that looked cool. I found 2 on craigslist that would work, A Sea Lion, and a Carolina for the right price. Put some work into them and later picked up a Easky LV for the daughter.
I like tripping, I still need to learn the other half of my roll. Its always been fun, but it is more so now that I am not a sheep dog and can just do my own thing,

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I started at 9 years old. 18 ft grumin canoe. River Rapids with family. When I started my own family I bought a 15ft recreation kayak. Family not interested so I took it up to ketchikan.
Now kids grown up and I just bought a 12 kayak. Body aches but I love going down memory lane. Feeling the paddle dipping in. Peaceful.