The beach at Fort De Soto has taken a deep, whooshing breath in preparation for the onslaught of small human-powered craft.
The first Saturday of March brings the annual Everglades Challenge: 300 miles of unsupported expedition-style racing down the west coast of Florida, across the Everglades, ending on the Florida-Bay side of Key Largo.
This is the third such WaterTribe adventure my favorite skipper has undertaken. It's the second year for Spawn of Frankenscot, the purpose-built Tampa Bay Expedition boat designed by O. H. Rodgers.
A quick overview of SPOT: it's a hockey-puck sized piece of tough electronics that the user can set to "ping" and as long as it has an unobstructed view of the sky, a satellite will pick up the signal and put the user on an electronic map. It also has a "rescue me" and "I'm okay" message that the user can pick as needed. This is the individual ping track for Spawn of Frankenscot and the team of TwoBeers, Ninjee, and Moresailesaid. (In real life, that's Jeff Linton, O.H. Rodgers, and Jahn Tihansky.)
To follow the action from shore as it happens, there are several options.
First is the WaterTribe tracking site, which has dots for each of the competitors and gives a pretty-close-to-realtime picture of the race. It's a touch glitchy. Spawn of Frankenscot's dot has the green Frankenscot head and the skipper is TwoBeers.
Finally, (and the least immediately gratifying) is the Spawn of Frankenscot Facebook page, which I'll update as I can as I chase the team down the state.
Thanks and fingers crossed!