How do you start a post about a crazy, seemingly pointless, less than 24 hour excursion with one sole purpose? Let just say we brought way too much junk… this began as a wednesday evening “Hey we should find our way to Cape Sable this weekend” and ended up as a leave my place at 12:00 AM for a 4:00 AM start time, no sleep the night before, there and back trip… But oh was it worth it!!!!
So we had the kayaks loaded up on my truck… I suggested one since they were 16′ Ocean Plastic Monstrosities of leisure kayaks but they were what was available for “Five Finger Free” from my work but Adrian talked me into both. We got to Flamingo Camp Ground, Marina and Ranger Station in Everglade National Park at around 2:30 after finding the only Walgreen’s in Florida that doesn’t stay open 24/7 is in Florida City 😦 We were able to grab some contact solution at the shell station next door which was another situation since the guy didn’t show up for 15 minutes to open the door for us… WTF was he doing at 2 AM nowhere to be found in a Gas Station on US 1? (I’m guessing he’s a wanker!). Got the solution and we were off again.
So we cracked a victory brew once we entered the park and made the usual stop at the first welcome center only to do absolutely nothing but get eaten by Mosquitoes and relieve ourselves behind the welcome sign… that’s usual. We still had 38 miles to drive inside the park until we reach our destination, a few beers later we reached Flamingo and unpacked the gear… 4.5 Gallons of Water, 3 steaks, 5 charizos, 12 fruit roll-ups, 6 power bars, 30 wait.. 25 beers, 2 packs pretty full of gear, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a laundry list of other unnecessary crap! We decided if we were going to travel to southern most point of mainland United States we should enjoy ourselves. Being tree huggers we parked on the asphalt 100 yards from where we needed to launch the kayaks and made 3 trips back and forth to bring all the junk.
Then the defining moment of the adventure occurred, adrian spotted in my headlamp light the eyes of a fish in the water… to our surprise it was actually two fish and they were the endangered Sawfish!!! I don’t know anyone who has actually in person seen one in the wild so this was awesome. We can see why they are endangered because they don’t move none to fast and were not at all bothered by us being near them. A cast net (which we had) would have made quick work, but if I ever saw someone actually harvest a sawfish, I would probably harvest them and use them as bait to see a saltwater Croc.
And this was the point of the adventure, we wanted to try to spot a saltwater Croc in its element. So after we had a beer in the honor of the saw fish we set out, kayaks loaded, current going in the exact wrong direction and no GPS in sight, did I mention it was the middle of the night still and i spilled coffee all over the two copies of the maps we were supposed to waterproof with clear tape on the way down? I forgot the clear tape and didn’t realize I had spilled coffee or that the maps were in the center counsel but either way, I have an almost photographic memory and it didn’t matter at this point, we were off.
After adjusting the loads and realizing you couldn’t stop paddling because you would float backwards really quick we set a good pace and shot towards what almost looked like a break between the mainland and a key, if it wouldn’t have been a key and there would have been no channel between them it would have been a very long mistake, but I was correct and there was a way through. As we came up to the shallows the sea turned into the craziest mess of jumping fish I have ever seen. I believe they were all flying fish since they would get pretty far out of the water but there were millions of them and it lasted for hours where everytime you turned your light on they went crazy and around the boat they were always splashing up as if you were padling through a roaring boiling couldron. It was pretty awesome!
We soon realized we had too much gear, but there was no turning back and we pushed on, it is about a 12 Mile Paddle if you cut every bay but this gets tricky because the current gets ripping through the deeper water, we floated passed club house beach at about 7 AM and both of us thought maybe we should stay here because we love that spot but neither voiced their opinion and we paddled on the remaining 3 miles at a slower pace since the sun was coming up and the temperature rose fast.
We reached East Cape Sable at about 9 AM which was a little longer than expected but fighting the current and the oversized “Ocean” kayak, which might work on a lake but not the ocean. We scouted the shore for a good camp spot, some level ground and centered between the inlets. Now I had not slept in 26 hours and adrian about the same. We cooked up the sausages, lost 2 to the sand due to an ill-advised walk away from the fire and our support system caught fire. We ate, drank and waded out pretty far. The shore is mud flats which run out for hundreds of hards before it gets deep enough to swim. We decided it was time to crash, mid day in August on the Southern Most Point of the US = HOT!! Couldn’t sleep in the tent so I laid my sleep pad in some shade on the beach and adrian passed out in my DIY Paracord Hammock…. ZzZzZz…
Two hours later at about 3:00 in the afternoon Adrian Wakes me up… “Dude, the currents running back in the direction of the truck, We reached the goal of getting here… Wanna go back?” I thought this was initially crazy but after some deliberation what were we really going to do? It was hot as hell, we could fish and drink the whole way back, Ride the shore line and see if we spot a croc so I agreed. We ate a little more, drank the first of many more beers on the adventure back and with about 2 hours of sleep in 30 hours, jumped on the kayaks, dumping all the water and lightening the cooler of water and Mtn. Dew. We better distributed the weight and made pretty good time. The fishing was decent, couldn’t keep saltwater Cats off the line and even got 2 small jacks on the same rapala trolling behind the yak. I couldn’t believe 2 on one hook, never seen that before either.
The sunset at that point was amazing and the jacks hit right at sunset. Sorry about the quality the only camera I brought with was my 3Gs iPhone
The fish in the bays were jumping around the kayak and there were some Lemon or Nurse sharks laying on the shallow grass, on of which jumped when I came up on it and soaked me completely, not to mention scared the living daylights out of me. The remainder of the paddle back was filled with bays we were hoping would be the campground but in my mind I knew we had to continue on, our pace was slower on the way back, the sunset, fishing, beers, and longer breaks turned into r15 mile coastal ride back which took about 6 hours. We got back to the truck, now at 40+ hours with 2 hours of hot outdoor summer sleep and we were on our way back to Miami.
It was short sweet and only about 19 hours long but it was amazing. I was sore, tired, and took off of work anyway the next day but it was completely worth it! The adventure was 19 hours of bliss. We didn’t end up seeing a croc but one endangered species blew me away and was great to see! I will be lucky to see another saw fish in my lifetime. If you ever have a chance to do this trip and are crazy enough to do it without a motor, in the middle of the night, both there and back, I doubt you will regret it. In my mind it was the shortest and most epic adventure thus far! Can’t wait to do it again, one kayak, 2 Gallons of Water, 2 Fishing poles, 200 LF of Paracord, and my machete. Thats about all I used on the entire trip anyway. I think we still had 7 beers left, it seemed like I drank the entire time so Adrian must have been weak? We were both extremely tired.
Word can’t describe how much fun this was… I hope the pictures can show a quarter of how great it was, better quality would have been great, Guess I will have to do it again!
Thanks for Visiting! We appreciate your Interest!