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Everglades Solo Gone Wrong

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    #16
    Originally posted by lowangle al View Post

    Wow a first hand account, it sounds very plausible. It sounds like he had hyperthermia on day two and survived three more days, the last two in the water. He's lucky to be alive.
    She said she was not in a position to speculate on what happened but that she had been in camp with him at some time before. Only he can tell the real story I suspect. He was in a Mad River Explorer a pretty capable and sleep possible in it craft

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      #17
      YC,

      You say he was in a Mad River Explorer. I have owned two, and they were both canoes. All the headlines, though, say that he was kayaking. What gives?

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        #18
        FAKE NEWS! Urban journalists don't know the difference, or care. The footage I saw didn't show the boat.

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          #19
          The person who met him said he was in a Mad River Explorer. I was not there.
          As far as Fake News that is an unnecessary comment. Papers usually don't get everything correct.
          Can we lock this thread.. It is becoming insane.

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            #20
            OK. I am throwing away my key!

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              #21
              It's true that most articles refer to the guy as a kayaker, but THIS ONE says he was a canoeist and that his canoe was found in some mangroves half filled with water.

              The water in which he was found is said to be shallow and stand-uppable. It seems strange that the guy couldn't get back in his canoe or at least stay with it. Perhaps he had some sort of medical incident.

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                #22
                I've been fishing and hunting (the huntable parts) the everglades since the mid 60's. I knew not closely, but ran into Totch Brown here and there on Chokoloskee back in the 70's and early 80's. Actually went for a boat ride with him in the mid 90's as a wedding gift. Turned out my fiance's best friend was a dental hygienist where Totch got his dental work done in Naples. So she arranged the trip with Totch. What a hoot to say the least. The last time I was down there his nephew Kenny was still working at Outdoor resorts. Anyway, a lot of time spent all through that area in my formative years and beyond.

                Mud and cross bays are shallow, but not necessarily "stand-uppable". Plenty of alligators in those bays and surrounding areas too. They don't thrive in the brine, but its not uncommon to see them along the gulf beaches and passes. In the winter they like to warn them selves in the muddy water and shorelines because it holds some heat when the sun is up. Same for game fish that are normally not sighted any other time of the year. Now is the best time to find snook, tarpon and redfish laid up in these shallow and muddy back bays where they can be sight cast to.

                Much of the bottom throughout ENP is decades of organic mud and marle. The places that are hard bottom are where the tidal flow keeps the mud from accumulating. These areas are generally where there are live oyster colonies as well, which poses its own challenges for someone trying to stand among them. Perhaps more so if that person is dealing with some other impairment. Of course appropriate foot protection is a must too.

                Mud and cross bays where they recovered this guy are substantially more muddy than hard because the tidal flow through there is nominal on all but the strongest tides. Turner river to the north flows strongest into Choko bay. The lopez pulls some water down through turner river into those bays but not much. For someone without local knowledge of those bays and tried to stand up anywhere in there would most likely sink to their knees or deeper.

                Looking at the recovery video you can see the mud cloud around the man. So at least where he was at that point was shallow. soft and muddy. How deep is hard to say. He may have tried to stand up at some point earlier, but looked to be pretty much out of it by the time they extracted him.

                Anyway, I hope he recovers and the sequence of events that led to his mishap are revealed. The everglades back country is no place to be ill prepared or to fall ill while out there.

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                  #23
                  My son lives on Isle of Palms off the S.C. mainland. Gators regularly swim the channel to inhabit the island. Golfers are cautioned to be careful in the rough.

                  i was just teasing about fake news. Who the fork cares if a 20 something reporter knows the difference between a canoe and kayak? Geesh.
                  Last edited by Black_Fly; 02-07-2020, 02:51 PM.

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                    #24
                    Without knowing the rest of the story I’ll cut the guy some slack.

                    I have not spent as much time paddling in the Everglades as some folks here, but I have paddled all over the US, and the combination of challenges in the Everglades make it differently daunting for the uninitiated no matter their experience elsewhere.

                    Not just the need to pack in all potable water, and protect it (and food) from thieving thirsty raccoons, and deal with no-see-ums and sand spurs and razor sharp oyster bars and mud flats and changing tides and wind.

                    The only time I would trip in the Everglades is “winter”, and November and March are not winter enough, pushing my limits for potential heat wave, humidity and bugdom. Add the occasional post Christmas South Florida cold snap, especially if windy, and it can be right chilly for the sub-tropics. Simply selecting clothes and sleeping bag is an exercise in anticipation and hoping you got it right.

                    Selecting a route, on arrival, with consideration for tide timing and wind/weather predictions, combined with the need to register for NPS backcountry island sites or chickee platforms, is like playing chess with Bobby Fischer when you are not even sure how all of the pieces move. Thinking one move ahead won’t cut it.

                    Route finding in the mangroves can be a nightmare, missing an inauspicious opening can lead you far astray and map bewildered, and mistiming the tides can leave you stuck in waist deep mud. Yes, I managed both in the space of a few hours on my first trip. And then a few more hours waiting for the tide to start coming back in.

                    The open water Gulf can be delightfully calm, or impossibly choppy and windswept, sometimes on the same day. Mangrove tunnels can be a sheltered delight, or freaking narrow branches in your face wish you had a saw (although you aren’t going to saw your way out, and I believe cutting mangroves in the Park is verbottten in any case)

                    It is really easy to screw up in any number of ways, and if you do there may be no solid ground on which to camp overnight while you get your wits and bearings about you.

                    I can’t think of any place in the US that presents as many tripping issues to solve, as many Can’t really get the gist of it from a guidebook challenges, and as many penalties for screwing up as the Everglades.

                    And it is a uniquely awesome place to trip. Go with someone who knows it.

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                      #25
                      Mike, plenty of power boaters find all sorts of ways to get into trouble down there too. Obviously, paddling adds another order of magnitude to the challenges. imo first timers and inexperienced paddlers should never do the glades solo.

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                        #26
                        Originally posted by deerfly View Post
                        Mike, plenty of power boaters find all sorts of ways to get into trouble down there too.
                        One of my paddling partners spends the winter months guiding in the Everglades and I’ve heard stories of power boaters screwing up. Even experienced power boaters; NPS Rangers needing assistance.

                        Originally posted by deerfly View Post
                        Obviously, paddling adds another order of magnitude to the challenges. imo first timers and inexperienced paddlers should never do the glades solo.
                        There are a couple semi-familiar or easy routes I could manage on my own, provided I got the tides and wind right, and the sites I wanted along the route were available on dates I needed.

                        That is already as many balls as I would dare juggle solo. Inexperienced or Everglades-unfamiliar paddlers going solo are biting off a big chunk. I’d rather have someone else along, if only to point out that I’m about to screw up. Or “Let’s stop for a minute and think about this” already did screw up.

                        The root cause of many mishaps is not one single thing, it is a combination of A + B + C + D = disaster. Eliminate one letter and maybe you squeak through.

                        Solo, inexperienced or unfamiliar, biting off a long trip, lost the first day out and arriving late and disoriented at a site followed by sleeping poorly if at all tied to a mangrove. Continuing to push ahead despite indications that this isn’t going well?

                        Way too many signs and portends for me to disregard. At some point I realize when I’m juggling too many balls, and recognize the potential consequences. Again, I do not know if any of that contributed to the need for rescue, but

                        https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/02/23/judgment/

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                          #27
                          Part of the difficulty in following the Wilderness Waterway ( which he was paddling through from Everglades City to Flamingo) is the necessity to camp on chickees for the most part. It can be very hard to keep to a schedule and you just can't camp on a convenient chickee if that is not on your permit( 12 x 12 platforms are a challenge for two people ; never mind two parties); a little over half the campsites on the Waterway are chickees The WW is the last route I would ever want to follow; mostly endless mangroves unless you deviate off the path and get to some sawgrass area sites.

                          I have thought a bit about accidents in general and I wonder if this gent had a fixed idea in his head of getting to Flamingo and did not back out and horn in on a ground site or go out to the Gulf and find a beach and loop back when things that were supposed to go south did not. Possibly his vehicle was being shuttled to Flamingo ( which is a long way away) and that was a concern.

                          The tides are such a toss of the dice. A change in wind direction can blow water out of where it should be and reduce your tide table to a wildest dream.

                          I don't agree necessarily on having someone else along. Groups are subject to peer pressure. However if the someone else is competent at sea oh yes. ( like JB)

                          I have had my share of mishaps usually caused by a contrary and unexpected wind that forgot to die down before sunset. I sat on Mormon Key for four days waiting for three foot surf to abate and finally ran for it at about five am on the last day. I had a Swift Raven which was not swift in swells but did ride dry. A very long 12 miles back to Everglades City and I had not camped on the other islands on my permit.

                          I had a companion who trusted me on one trip and I think I led him into wind hell.. We bailed at a ground campsite not on the permit.. Along comes the NPS ranger boat that rewrote our permit. They are for safety first and were genuinely understanding.. Not trusting the wind I got him up at three am the next morning and we were on the water in the dark..
                          And yes this was in an alligator area.

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                            #28
                            my main point about inexperienced solo's was meant to go with others that's have done a few glades trips. Having multiple inexperienced people doesn't help a whole lot.

                            Totally agree about the chickee's, they are anything but paddle craft friendly, esp at low tide. lol, you need orangutan upper body strength to hoist yourself out a canoe or kayak.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Originally posted by yellowcanoe View Post
                              Part of the difficulty in following the Wilderness Waterway ( which he was paddling through from Everglades City to Flamingo) is the necessity to camp on chickees for the most part. It can be very hard to keep to a schedule and you just can't camp on a convenient chickee if that is not on your permit( 12 x 12 platforms are a challenge for two people ; never mind two parties); a little over half the campsites on the Waterway are chickees The WW is the last route I would ever want to follow; mostly endless mangroves unless you deviate off the path and get to some sawgrass area sites.

                              I don't agree necessarily on having someone else along. Groups are subject to peer pressure. However if the someone else is competent at sea oh yes. ( like JB)
                              I have done an Everglades trip with five people which, but for having JB along to figure it out, would have presented site complications. Rather than try to fly solo in the Everglades I’d prefer to have at least a single companion or two
                              if only to point out that I’m about to screw up. Or “Let’s stop for a minute and think about this” already did screw up.
                              Having been on group trips where peer pressure and unexpected group dynamics has led to poor decisions or disharmony I have come to prefer fewer companions with known and proven skills. And to prefer solo tripping in areas where I am confident in my abilities.

                              That confidence, for me, would not include long, tricky Everglades trips, and JB would be my first choice in companion there. How he manages to put together eight day Wilderness Waterway trips with clients, stringing together chickee sites in consideration of wind and tidal timing, along “sneak routes” and through mangrove tunnels, is far beyond my ken.

                              Just watching/listening as he leads the way to some obscure I’d-have-missed-it opening in the mangroves, looks at a chart and his watch and suggests “Hey, let’s wait here for a bit, the tide is about to turn” inspires confidence. That he does this map-reading with charts and compass, without using a GPS, makes it all the more impressive. Charts and compass and 30 years of Everglades experience.

                              Yes, “Let’s wait here for a bit” and the tide did turn just that muckle up for a spell quickly. I’d have plowed ahead, or more likely missed the insignificant opening entirely.

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                                #30
                                No two mangroves are alike if you have been in their company a long time. And the last trip I did paired solo we encountered panicked SOT kayakers one of who was exhausted fighting the tide. We just chatted with them to ease their fears and said wait.. Wait. You have time to wait ( they did) and sure enough the racing flood tide ebbed to allow them to get to Picnic ( Not that that would have been my first choice but was doable). We did offer them to stay with us on Jewell.

                                JB studies weather maps and forecasts and plans around cold fronts. Charts and compass do rule though without GPS I would still be in the Labyrinth.. Local knowledge is ALWAYS best. Know your mangrove; red black or white.

                                I guess I started solo in the Glades cause no one else was interested. But I started small. No way was I committing to a 99 mile trek among the mangroves for the first trip. And I never got lost.
                                Maybe it was due to that horrid double blade kayaking experience where I was nose planted in charts tide tables and reading clouds before allowed to proceed?
                                Mike does JB know where the still is in House Hammock Bay?

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