As most of you reading this blog know, I’ve participated in the Everglades Challenge, a 300 mile expedition event from Fort DeSoto in Tampa Bay, to Key Largo. This event is run in small boats, sail and paddle, and it’s exhilarating, exhausting, and sometimes quite dangerous. It took me 3 tries to complete the event, twice in my modified 18′ Sailbird trimaran, and once in my 12′ AMF Puffer.
People do this event for many reasons, to race, to test themselves, and to have an adventure. You’ll note that I seldom refer to it as a race, because for me, it never was – it was a 300 mile expedition style voyage through some beautiful and tricky water.
Man should live for adventure – for reaching and exceeding his grasp – trying, and sometimes failing, to do bold things, whether it be on foot, in boats, cars, or whatever. To be stagnant is to whither. It’s made very clear when you sign up for the Everglades Challenge that danger is involved, and it’s stated plainly in the waiver and instructions that, and I quote, “you may die”. Those who enter accept this, and we don’t need any government nannies or doo-gooder citizens telling us it’s too damn dangerous. We have to drive on the roads with those idiots every day, so we know danger. Those who think they know better than us need a good whomp or three upside their heads with a heavy paddle. Note to do-gooders: this would be a REALLY bad time to argue your point with me.
Having said that, it always hits home when a WaterTriber gets into trouble, and we’ve got one in serious trouble this year. I can only hope he knew what he was getting into, as did his loved ones, and they all accepted it. And above all, I hope they find you out there.