Life and plans change fast, especially when working short contracts for Outward Bound. That is how I recently found myself in the Florida Everglades. A phone call telling me my work was no longer but that I could attend a staff training, a flight to Alabama, a day at our base in Alabama, a car ride for 7 hours with someone I didn’t know, another day at another base, another road trip (this time with 6 people I didn’t know), another day at another base then three hours back in the van and I was getting in a canoe that I was not to leave for the next 5 days. I’ll say that again. A canoe I was not to leave for the next 5 days. The course area in the Florida everglades does not have land. None. Well none that we used until we stood on highland beach in the gulf of Mexico.
The system is simple if a little weird. paddle all day with all the gear stored on top of the boards in the bottom of the canoes, anchor for the night, get the boards out from below all the gear, put them on top, tie it all together, and do all normal camp stuff on the boards.
The Everglades itself is pretty crazy with amazing diversity of wild animals (think crocs, alligators, sharks, manate’s, flamingos, mosquitos, no-see-ums (midgies) etc)
For the Canoeists – the boats we used were 18ft Trippers in which we had an assortment of gear with boards hidden underneath (the boards are 2 x 8ft and were possibly developed as a system by OB down here). The photos.
Organisation – list taped to bow of the boat so you know what you should have and where to access things with the boards on top.