As of 5:30 this morning, MosquitoMagnet is either on, or just off the shore at Hernando Beach. Paddling through the night, in variable winds and seas shows the skill and determination of one currently well-traveled paddler. And after 1000 miles (!) of exertion, his navigational skills are still spot on. Check the tracking map at http://www.watertribe.com/Events/ChallengeMapper.aspx and take a minute to set the “Challenger” to ‘MosquitoMagnet’, the “Display Detail” to ‘Show Tracks, OK, Help, and Current Waypoints Only’, hit the ‘Regenerate’ button, and study in detail the path that has taken MosquitoMagnet around the state of Florida. Envision the start at Ft. Desoto, and having to head directly into wind and waves you’d rather run from. See the path taken from CP1 to CP2 and picture doing it in 30MPH+ winds and adverse seas. Or the sudden openness and vulnerability of Florida Bay. Look at the 40 plus mile portage over dry land on logging roads. And look at the perfect change of course, done at night, from 6 miles offshore that got him to Hernando Beach. Sure he’s using a GPS. Have you ever tried using a GPS on a kayak at night when the wind is blowing and waves are breaking over your boat? It’s not as easy as you might believe.
As a sailor first, and a kayaker second, my amazement and respect for kayakers who can do this course, and for those who even attempt it, is high indeed. In a 21st Century world of virtual reality, electronic everything, and technology so advanced even the Government of Orwell’s “1984” would be taken aback, knowing there are people out there who still do things like WaterTribe-style adventuring gives me hope that the test tube world of Zager and Evan’s “2525” is indeed, a long way from home. And the more we test ourselves, the further away that future becomes.
To quote Sharkchow: “Paddle Or Die”.
For more information on WaterTribe go to www.watertribe.org
A GREAT video has been posted by Jarhead on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKNR1SyMYfI&feature=colike