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Archive for the ‘Expeditions’ Category

KayakVagabond — Everglades Challenge 2020

Posted by Greg on April 18, 2020

I nudged the right rudder pedal and reminiscent of a vintage fighter plane peeling off to dive, my kayak heeled over as the bow dropped sharply into the wave trough just ahead of me. The acceleration was instantaneous. I had to stand on my foot-pegs and lean back to keep the bow from pearling. Soon I was surfing faster than my arms could spin;  I even stopped paddling completely — holding the paddle blade skimming just above the water ready for a low brace. The GPS recorded 11 mph as my exuberant shouts of “Woo Hoo!!!” were drowned-out by the wind!

I was in the deepest part of Tampa Bay, about 5 miles from the starting beach with still a mile and a half to go to reach the shelter of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) near Anna Maria island.  During the crossing my speed was averaging 5, 6, and even 7 mph. The conditions were such that I could point my bow into the next wave trough and surf almost at will — although not always directly toward my destination, weaving a zig-zag path toward Anna Maria.

Random Animal?

Posted by Greg on March 18, 2013

All dressed up and ready to go!


The Everglades Challenge 2013 is done, results are at http://www.watertribe.com/Events/ChallengeResults.aspx.  I had a good run and was pleased to be the first solo class 2 (racing kayaks and canoes, no sail) to finish, and also led the class 1 (expedition kayaks/canoes with 1 meter sails).

Although my watertribe name is “KayakVagabond”, after the event a few people surprised me by calling me “Random Animal”.  Apparently this was coined by the highly skilled and competitive “IronBob”, who along with “TheJuice” finished first in their class in a double. I dueled with them frequently during the race. Apparently “Random Animal”  is a reference to someone new who shows up at an event and goes hard.  Hmmm — although I am much more deliberate than random, there’s worse things I have been called…. :^)

My boat and body held up just fine, although I was quick to arrange for a full massage soon after the race. Even with the massage, my lats and back muscles went into “rigamortis” a few days later and only recently have I felt like paddling again. I lost six pounds during the race even though I was eating Perpetuem every 15 minutes.

Everglades Challenge 2013

Posted by Greg on February 27, 2013

Bear Keeps a Nervous Eye -- He knows a trip is coming

“If you are not an expert paddler and/or sailor, do not enter this race. Even if you are a well-prepared expert you may DIE – yes, you may DIE. … ENTER AND PARTICIPATE AT YOUR OWN RISK – And have Fun!” — Watertribe disclaimer

Press Release:
A 300-mile adventure race for small boats paddling and sailing from Tampa Bay to Key Largo in 8 days or less.

On Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 7a.m. over 100 small boats with over 125 experienced and intrepid mariners from around the country will launch from Fort De Soto County Park on Mullet Key just south of St. Petersburg, Florida to compete in one of two adventure races: The Everglades Challenge (EC2013) and the Ultra Marathon (UM2013).

The EC2013 is a 300-mile trek along Florida’s Gulf Coast ending in Key Largo and must be completed in eight days or less. The Ultra Marathon is about 62 miles and finishing at Cape Haze Marina in Englewood. These races are open to boats propelled by human and/or wind power only. No tows, no rides. Modern GPS tracking units allow race officials and anyone with internet access to follow each race participant in real time as they make their way along their chosen route.
“I designed the Everglades Challenge to be the toughest week long adventure/endurance race for small boats anywhere in the world,” said Steve Isaac, founder and “Chief” of the WaterTribe, which sponsors the Everglades Challenge.

Lost in Iceland Article Online

Posted by Greg on February 4, 2010

Translucent ice sculptures in Jökulsárlón lagoon

Lost in Iceland was originally published in the October 2008 issue of Sea Kayaker Magazine. The entire text follows below (you may need to click on “Read the full post” to view).

I will be visiting Newfoundland again this month and beginning work on a new article for Sea Kayaker about my solo circumnavigation of Newfoundland last year. With a new project on the way, and adequate time since it was published, I’m happy to finally share this article on my website.

Lost in Iceland was meant to be different — I forced myself to be uncomfortably honest and open, but I think that made it more human and hopefully, more interesting.  I have received more comments on “Lost in Iceland” than all of my other articles combined and its been translated into three additional languages for printing in various magazines and digests.  The version presented here is longer than the printed version and includes some text that had to to removed due to space considerations. I hope that you enjoy it.

Lost in Iceland

Greg Stamer

New Iceland Gallery

Posted by Greg on January 31, 2010

I have created a new gallery album of images from Iceland. I am currently working to post the complete contents of my “Lost in Iceland” article , an account of my 2007 circumnavigation, that appeared in Sea Kayaker magazine. Please check back soon!


The “Horn” on a rare day without fog. Iceland 2007.

A few Images of Newfoundland

Posted by Greg on July 31, 2008

I have many hundreds of images to process but until I return home and have time to edit them, here are a few to give you a teaser of what a beautiful and special place that Newfoundland is.  I can understand why many travelers say that a part of Newfoundland always remains in their heart. 
Images copyright, Greg Stamer, 2008




Headlands obscured by Fog; South coast

Final Trip Stats

Posted by Greg on July 30, 2008

Following are my trip statistics. I’ll also put a gear list together, along with a list of what gear worked and what gear didn’t make the grade.

Total distance paddled: 2102K (1306 miles)
Daily average: 60.05K (37.3 miles)
Longest day: 93K (57.8 miles)
Shortest day (aborted crossing of Trinity Bay): 27K (16.7 miles)
Total days: 44
Paddling days: 35
Weather/Rest days: 9

Many hundreds of whales, dolphins and blowspouts! Two sharks and two sunfish. And of course, and most important, too many life-changing memories to list…

Finished! Around the Rock in 44 days

Posted by Greg on July 29, 2008

Around Cape Norman

Today was borderline for the final crossing — gusty headwinds and choppy seas. The conditions weren’t unsafe but were a difficult slog with the kayak pounding hard and “buckets” of water frequently hitting my face and chest. At 8:00PM, after 12 hours and 63K I approached Quidi Vidi (pronounced “kiddie viddie”) where I started my trip 44 days ago.  Just outside of the rocky, narrow fishing harbor I was met and escorted in by two kayakers from KNL (Kayak Newfoundland Labrador). It brought a smile to my face as did seeing the KNL members who gathered in the harbor and cheered as I took my last paddle strokes. Many thanks to everyone who participated, it really warmed my heart!

It felt strange to unload the kayak and split up my gear. It felt like disbanding a “team”. This gear has been my sole material world for so long that it hasn’t fully sunk in that I won’t be repacking it again early in the morning to push toward another distant destination.  That said, tonight I am looking forward to falling into a real bed!

another crossing

Posted by derrick on July 29, 2008
 N48 05.13 W52 53.8 Bay de Verde. On water at 6:30am, 10 hours to cross Trinity Bay & reach split point. Morning was strong headwinds & 1.5 meter seas. Kayak was pounding hard & throwing spray. Wind died in afternoon, fog turned to sun making for pleasant conditions. Looking forward to final crossing & finishing tomorrow!


Posted by derrick on July 28, 2008

Weather day waiting on wind to drop. Hope for a window early in morning. Got my first hot shower in over a week. Heaven! A trip like this really makes you appreciate the modern comforts that are taken for granted. Hosted for the night & treated to a jiggs dinner (salt beef, cabbage, potatoes, turnips). Rested & fed. Hard to wait when you are in “overdrive” & raring to go.