Everglades trip a success for intrepid bi-coers
By biconews On 21 Mar, 2000 At 05:00 AM | Categorized As Archives | With 0 Comments

By Kathy Scott
Guest Writer

On March 4, a group of eight fanatical HAVOC members, including Aileen Imperial, Peter Ingebretson, Erika Straits-Bowers, Tamara Crowder, Karen Ballentyne, Carl Knutson, Monique Tsang and Kathy Scott embarked on a voyage to the Honda Everglades to enjoy four days of canoeing.

Upon arriving after a day and a half of driving, we were greeted by a sky splashed with stars that we hadn’t seen in a long time. The next day, after several final preparation, we set sail for the open ocean in hopes of beating he setting of the sun. We found a spacious place on the shore of the mainland and enjoyed a peaceful evening with a campfire, smores and a meal cooked by our gourmet backcountry chefs, Tamara and Erika.

Early in the morning the next day, the winds were favorable as we headed due south for a deserted island. We arrived shortly after the sun had reached its zenith. Much to our surprise and delight, the island was right out of a travel guide, complete with white sandy beaches, palm trees and aqua marine water. After a breathtaking sunset, we tested our theatrical talents and settled in for a long slumber, something we hadn’t done since the beginning of midterm period.

The next day was spent lounging on the beach, investigating the exotic bird population on the adjacent island and catching up on some reading. We had our canoes on the water well before the sunrise the next day in order to avoid getting stranded on the First National Bank, a stretch of land consisting of muddy clay that appears only during low tide and is a great hazard to boat traffic. We witnessed a spectacular sunrise as we paddled northwest for the mainland. We arrived several hours later and enjoyed a whole day of relaxation, inluding cautiously swimminng in the ocean and trying to build a shield against the fierce sun.

In the evening, we savored our last backcountry meal and a beautiful ocean-side fire compliments of Carl. We headed out early in the morning the next day. It took us eight consecutive hours as we paddled against an unrelenting headwind that forced us back four steps for every three steps forward (according to “empirical data” collected on site). We triumphed despite the wind and arrived just as the sun was setting on our last day in the spectacular backcountry of the Everglades.

On the last night in the Everglades after having savored a cold shower and a lovely meal of couscous, we were brainstorming what we had learned on this trip. Here is an abridged version of our responses:

(1) It is unrealistic to paddle 99 miles in four days.

(2) This is especially unrealistic if you are paddling against a fierce headwind with four foot waves shaking your low-riding canoe packed with more than 100 pounds of food, water, clothing and equipment even when buff people like us are in the canoes.

(3) There are sharks in the water (as well as dolphins, sea turtles and lots of crabs).

(4) Sunscreen is a really good idea, unless, of course, you want to burn like a lobster, suffer a fever and peel for the next week looking like a leper. This applies especially to those cocky Canadians, who think they can handle the intense sun, having summitted great mountains during the summer and survived without sunscreen.

(5) No-see-um hugs are worse than mosquitoes, especially in the early morning and at sunset.

(6) Muddy clay at low tide makes washing dishes a lot more interesting.

(7) Never believe a Canadian when she says that it’s “just a mile around the corner.”

(8) There are a lot of Germans in Florida.

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