Day 2
Watson's Home --> Hog Key
12 miles


It takes us about 90 minutes to eat, break camp and get back on the water by 9. We have the tide and wind working with us so the 4miles to the Gulf, down the Chatham goes fast. We finally thread our way through some small keys and break out into the Gulf. Now we must start to deal with tide action and winds. Sometimes working for us and sometimes against.


We are still in the region considered to be part of the 10,000 islands so finding an island to stop and take a break is easy. We turn south now and head to the tip of Florida, still several days away.


Our trip is times to coincide with the full moon occurring in several days and high afternoon tides that make it easier to land on beaches in the afternoon to help us set up our camps. When we make it to Hog Key by about 2 pm, we notice lots of beach and shore damage from the last series of hurricanes, several years ago. The beach strip is narrow and there are lots of dead mangroves. We find a few suitable places to erect our tents and quickly have camp established. About an hour later we have another kayaker, land on the key to camp. Mark, a bass musician from Philadelphia, is a big kayaker and every year seems to spend a week kayaking through the Everglades on his own. He gives us some good hints about places he has visited in the Park.


It is easy to collect lots of driftwood along the beaches so we have a nice beach fire before we turn in for the night. The high tide, which occurs about midnight gets very close to where our tents are. In fact, for several hours it sounds as if the waves will come crashing into the tents at any minute. We do take the precautions to always bring the kayaks out of the water and try to secure them above the hightide mark. The other thing we must do each day is protect our water and food from savaging raccoons, rats and birds. We try to leave as little food as possible in the tens and store our supplies in the hard covered kayak compartments. The adventure tonight is awakening suddenly about 1 pm as I hear something actively and loudly gnawing its way through my tent. I slap hard at the tent and I imagine the attacking rat, flying through the air and scurrying away. IN the morning, the rat damage was limited to holes in the plastic ground cloth. Steve is not so lucky. His tent was attacked and the rat got in and actually tried to eat its way into his deck bag.

Even though we wake early in the morning, we must delay leaving for about an hour because of the huge morning low tide. The tide is out at least several hundred feet and it would take way too much effort to try to drag the kayaks through the muck. We can see the raccoons feeding along the waters edge. But, by 9:30, the tide rolls back in and we are ready to set out again.

Next Day