Wed - June 7, 2006

GPS Track and Google Earth Map from Cross Florida Paddling: Ft Clinch to Cedar Key

After my Florida Bay misadventure during the 2006 WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge I took a week long break for recovery and regrouping. I enjoyed a few days at Karen and Matt Layden house at Jensen Beach, then I retrieved my car from Tampa airport parking, and spent a couple of days camping at Fort Clinch State Park.

On Monday, March 20, 2006 I was back on water in my Sea Wind in an attempt to paddle the stage 4 of the UFC across Florida from Fort Clinch to Cedar Key. At that time three top racers, Sharkchow, ManitouCruiser and Wizard were already paddling the lower Suwannee River, while the group of slower paddlers (Pelican, Dooobrd, SandyBottom and Dr Kayak) was spread between Sebastian and Fort Clinch.

I paddled the St Mary River upstream, I did the 40 mile portage pushing Sea Wind on inline skates and paddled down the Suwannee River to Gulf of Mexico and Cedar Key. I completed the cross Florida paddling without special adventures in 7 days and 4 hours covering about 370 miles. During that trip I spent some time photographing and shooting video.

The image below shows Google Earth map with a GPS track from this trip. The time stamps are displayed every 12 hours starting from 7 am on March 20. A small gaps between the time stamps 1.5 and 2, and then between 3.5 and 4 indicate that I was taking long night breaks at that times. I started to speed up a little bit in the lower Suwannee when very cold nights made sleeping in a hammock not very comfortable.

The above GPS track can be downloaded in Google Earth format.

It was fun to paddle this part of the UFC and I am really glad that I convinced myself to do it. St Mary and Suwannee Rivers were beautiful, and, what was surprising, quite different from each other. The best experience during the trip was each cold and foggy sunrise on the Suwannee.

I was always wanted to paddle the WaterTribe Okefenokee Challenge, and then the Cross Florida Challenge, but Chief canceled the race due to lack of interest before I had a chance to enter it. I would like to paddle it again taking, if possible, a shorter portage and a route through Okefenokee Swamp. I am also sure that I (or rather my knees) wouldn't like to do the 40 mile portage without in-line skates.

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Posted at 03:42 PM    

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