Captain Nemo

I capsized today in the swamp. Mega embarrassing.  I got stuck on deadfall and tried to push out of it and went over. Jesus. I know they say reptiles never attack lawyers out of professional courtesy, but I was very motivated to get out of the water as there were alligators 20 feet back.  When you have only 5 feet of space available and you are standing in 5 feet of cold, smelly water, getting the water out of your kayak and you back into it is a challenge, particularly when your sandals are being sucked off your feet by swamp mud.

Pretty and evil.

I smelled like a wookie all day. My skin is stained brown from all the tannin in the water. Perhaps someone will mistake it for a tan. Tomorrow, no mangroves. All sawgrass and open water. Thank God. Pain rating for the day: 8 out of 10. Definitely time for drugs that end in the letters “-cet”.

Haiku of the day:

Brown, swampy water

Smells like ass and tastes much worse

Mangroves are evil

 

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Big Cypress: Kayaking in the Wind and Battling with Spiders

People use the word “hate” too casually. Some people hate raisins. Some people hate Republicans. I hate kayaking against a strong wind.  I mean, I really really hate wind in the same way I hate people who drive 15 miles below the speed limit in the left lane.   It is windy in southern Florida today. Strong east winds blowing at a steady 25 mph. We almost bagged the day, but we decided to kayak Halfway Creek in Big Cypress today. The logic was that it was (allegedly) protected from the wind and that it would make paddling tolerable. Big fucking mistake as it turned out.

Since my existence as an actual person has recently been questioned, I present the following picture. Be warned that the glare off my legs may blind you.

Yes, my legs ARE as white as my shirt.

Halfway Creek is a nice paddle with manatees in the creek and a lot of lakes and mangrove tunnels in between. The total mileage is around 8+ miles from start to finish. I knew on the way out it was going to suck on the way back in. The wind was to our back and we were paddling with the tide.  It was too easy. 2 miles in and we hit the mangrove tunnels. Mangrove tunnels are kind of awesome.

A mangrove tunnel on Halfway Creek

What we didn’t count on were the spiders. Millions and millions of spiders. They build webs across the mangrove tunnels to capture bugs. Also kayakers.

Millions of the bastards everywhere

I ducked, I tried to avoid them, and still, spiders in my hair and my cleavage, spiders on the kayak and in the kayak. I fucking hate spiders. Finally, one of them bit Troy, leaving a welt. I doubted they were poisonous, but we turned back anyway. You can never tell when you are going to have an allergic reaction to something and 4 miles back in a swamp is not the place to discover you are going into shock.  Unless you are trying to kill your spouse.  I am waiting to see if Troy develops any awesome superpowers.

This meant we had to turn around and paddle into the wind. The wind sucks. Epicly. By the time we made it back to the launch, I was crippled.  3+ miles against the tide and a strong 25 mph wind. Tomorrow should be interesting since I can’t lift my arms to even put on a bra.  I will say that the sunset was beautiful, but most anything is when you take percocet.

Trekking through the Everglades: flora and fauna

The two single most glorious words in the English language that pertain to outdoor activites for me are the words “sea level”. (Side note: the best single word is “spa”). Troy typically takes me hiking in mountains where I wheeze at high altitude or fry in the deserts. This time, we decided to visit the Everglades. I had never been to Miami or Southern Florida and my vision of the Everglades was derived from that episode of Miami Vice where Crockett and Tubbs travel to the Everglades to grab some guy who did not want to give testimony in a trial. Since Miami Vice also served as the basis for my vision of what a hooker looked like until I moved to an area that had actual hookers, I should have known that Miami Vice was not precisely concerned with accurate depictions.

Crockett and Tubbs reenact Deliverance in the swamp

What the Everglades actually looks like is an endless sea of grass with some islands of trees here and there:

The world's biggest sea of grass

I had a list of animals I planned to see while in the Everglades:

1. Bear

2. Panther

3. Python

4. Alligator

5. Crocodiles

6. Manatees

7. Bigfoot

I did not get to see a bear. I did get to see bear shit, thus answering the question “Do bears shit in the wood?” Clearly, they do:

Definitive proof for the doubters

 I also did not get to see a panther (I did see panther tracks), a python or Bigfoot. I was especially hoping to see a python and Bigfoot fighting in a swamp and I was on the lookout. Bigfoot has a long documented history in Florida so I was pretty sure I’d get at least a glimpse of a hairy man-beast. Alas, the only hairy man-beast candidate I saw was running an airboat tour.

Troy stares at me like I am an alien when I ask him questions like "If a panther and a bear had a knife fight, who would win?"

I did get to see crocodiles and a lot of alligators. I am pretty sure Troy planned to feed me to them, but they seemed pretty placid and not all that interested in us.

Allligator at Big Cypress not being interested in eating Troy