Credit: FWC Big Bend site
In planning for the trip, I took advantage of a number of resources. If anything, I’m probably over prepared, because I had purchased charts and cruising guides when planning to cruise the area under sail. The MapTech Chartkits were purchased for the Gulf from New Orleans east and the West Coast of Florida, and the Florida Keys and East Coast. Three volumes of cruising guides written by Claiborne Young were added to cover the Northern Gulf Coast, Western Coast, and Eastern Coast of Florida. It would be impossible to carry all this material in a canoe or kayak, so portions will be traded in and out of the trailer.
Jean, my wife, will be the support team, and what I’m not immediately using can be left in the trailer to give me more room and reduce the weight I need to push through the water. She will do the vehicle shuttle. We’ll find a nice camp, and she will drop me and Ibi off and then return to the camp. I’ll paddle east or south to her, and then we’ll do sightseeing while driving together to the next leg. In this manner, we can follow the coast as far as we want.
I then copied all the information provided in the internet guide, which you can view at the site below.
A problem with the maps provided in the guide was that they wouldn’t print adequately, at least on our printer. The very light shades on the map made it impossible to distinguish between land and water in most areas. To deal with this, I followed the entire route on the marine charts and marked the track and camp locations. Then, even with the charts, there were many sections where the creeks, islands, and shoreline are so intricate that the chart couldn’t be followed. In those portions I copied Google Earth aerial photographs and marked the track on the photographs. Therefore, we’ll have a lot of redundancy in the information, which should serve us well.