Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

No internet – 2 cameras, 1 cell phone and counting

Thursday February 7 2013
Site T15, Flamingo Campground
Everglades National Park


The Most Important Thing

and the Main Reason we have drive 40 miles one way in order to have phone and internet service.








We have finally accepted the fact that we don’t get to celebrate each and every birthday with Carrie but not talking to her on her birthday or sending her an email……Sorry, can’t happen.   The present and cards were in the mail last week and she’s been waiting to open it. 

So we’ve come to the North end of the park so we can talk to her  and then we intend to celebrate her birthday by doing a Slough Slog this afternoon.  It’s described as ‘wade through the river of grass into the shadows of a ‘gator hole’ or a cypress dome’.    Wish you were here sweetheart to get mucky and dirty with us!!    More about that next post.   But for now……


Nope, no internet, nada. 

We also drive the 40 miles one way today in order to let everyone know what happened to us and to post all the blogs I have written in the past 5 days including 3 from Big Cypress (that will teach me to get so far behind) and this two  from our first 4 days in Flamingo.

One of the Big Cypress blogs is about our Thursday January 31st bike ride in shark valley, another about visiting other places nearby including Fakahatchee Strand State Park, Collier Seminole State Park and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge on Friday February 1st and the 3rd about kayaking a gorgeous river on Saturday February 2nd.

The post previous to this one is about our first 3 days in Flamingo.

I posted them all today in the order they were written.  If you would like to read them and I hope you will and hope even more that you’ll leave a comment just click the bold green links included above for each of them.  Sure hope they all work.


We will be back in the land of internet on Sunday February 16 but I will not be able to comment on blogs or post any more until then unless we find some other reason for another 80 mile round trip.  Not likely.  But the Slough Slog will hopefully be worth waiting for.


Wednesday February 6

I’m up at 6am and walk over in the dimness of first light to see the sun rise.   The nearly new moon is up and the palm trees and tents in the walk in camping area are silhouetted.



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I love to watch the colors in the sky as they turn and the day begins.
It takes about an hour for the entire show.

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The colors are richest just as it turns light and then somehow mute as the sun gets closer and closer to the horizon.


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And there it is.

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At this point, it seems to zoom up into the sky burning hot white and the day is underway.

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I do some “birding” on my way back.


On the walk home I pass these fellows all gathered out in a ghost tree.  Pretty eerie isn’t it??


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And only a little further on these two fellows fly into the try right in front of me and begin yacking it up.  Much more cheerful for sure.

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I’m home by 7:30, put on my running clothes and am off for about 4.5 miles.  


This afternoon we are kayaking 9 Mile Pond.

We have oatmeal pecan pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast and they are delicious.  Then we pack up and head out to kayak what is known as the 9 Mile Pond.  It’s only a 5 mile kayak but it’s a good one.


We launch from this shore.

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We read the caution sign and do what we can to keep Ruby out of harm’s way.  We figure we will be gone about 3 hours or so.


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We wonder if this guy has been brought up on charges before and is wearing an electronic surveillance radio so they will know his where abouts.  He definitely looks suspicious doesn’t he?

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We see most of the wildlife crossing the first pond.

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Now for even more fun.

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The trail leads back and forth from tunnels to wide open ponds and later water glades filled with sun and grass.

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This is a red mangrove paddle and they are striking out new territory every where you look.   These two will one day create an island of their own.


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The trail is marked by numbered posts and without them you’d be completely lost.



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It’s winter, the dry season, the water is low.  The mangrove roots tell the story.

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We’re in a sea of breadsticks.

Imagine being out here with no posts.

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Actually it is a beige colored algae mat, periphyton which creates a rich supply of food for apple snails, small fish and tadpoles.  It can be really rough paddling if the water is seriously low.  We are on the edge of that today.


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Above the water and floating

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Under the water and growing.

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Whoever is in charge of eating this stuff is seriously neglecting their duty.   We do get turned around in these open spaces at one point and miss our marker.  But you don’t go far if you don’t see another and soon we were back on track.


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Some of the posts are short and easily missed.

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We catch a break from the breadsticks

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but you’d better be able to make a 90 degree turn in close quarters

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We decide this is a great lunch spot so we just pull into a close in spot and break out the sandwiches.

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Toward the end of the trail we are riding for a while on an old airboat route.  Because of their impact on animals, plants and solitude, airboats are not used within the park anymore except for limited research and emergency situations.


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OK so where’s the marker?   Do you see it?


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At the end of the trail we pass though two smaller ponds. 

From here

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through here

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to here

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It’s been a great day we think as we pull the kayaks up on shore.  But then….

We put the boats on the car and are driving back to Winnona for dinner when David starts fiddling.   He’s looking for his cell phone. 

What?   He brought his cell phone on a paddle in an area every one has told him has Zero, Zip, Nada NO SERVICE.   Fellow campers,  work campers, volunteers and Rangers are all in agreement – if you have No AT&T, you have no service.   But ever unrealistic optimistic,  David has brought his phone just to check. 

And yes he has lost it.   We drive back to the put in, we look all over, we take the kayak back off the car and turn it upside down.   And then we find the phone, in the water.   Those of you who have been with us for a while will know that getting out of the kayak is the place he lost two cameras previously and now a cell phone.  Why he can’t master this maneuver I have no idea. It’s not like he’s a klutz.  But it’s clear he really should have nothing with him in the kayak that he wouldn’t mind getting a soak.

Why did he take the cell phone in the kayak?   No doubt to make those calls for which he has no service while paddling through tight spaces and a sea of breadsticks.   :-)


Any suggestions?  Please!!

If you have any suggestions for how to resurrect a phone that has been dropped in water and hung out there for 30-45 minutes, PLEASE let us know.  Carrie will read the comments, hopefully posting them and getting the information to us via our One Suite 800 phone calls to her.

Not a great way to end a really fine kayaking day.   I do think this is a paddle that could be done by the narrower of the sea eagle kayaks.  It’s not too shallow, not toooo narrow and there is nothing sharp on the bottom.  So come on down and do it.   Just don’t bring your cell phone.  :-)


  1. Might want to consider a waterproof bag from the sporting goods store. Since I kayak solo I always carry my cell phone and ID in my bag. It is worth a shot. You can even clip it to the boat or vest for safekeeping. IF it was not for those marker poles, I would be out there still!

  2. Check this out. http://www.fiscalgeek.com/2009/06/ff_water_damaged_cellphone/
    Also, putting it in a jar of rice. I was looking at your pictures wondering how you would ever get back home then I read about the numbered poles. Whew!!! You have lunch in some of the most interesting places.

  3. It's probably a lost cause, because of half hr in the water, but blow dry with hair dryer and put in uncooked rice overnight. Take out battery first.

  4. Yes... there are waterproof bags ... we used to do canoeing and forever tumping over... had kids with us ;)

    As far as reviving a soaked cell phone?

    Here's Wiki's advice


    "Whoever is in charge of eating this stuff is seriously neglecting their duty."

    LOL ... that's a lot of bread sticks!

  5. WE never did buy a kayak...but everytime I read one of your blogs...I start thinking about it again. Very nice tour. When my phone got wet I took the battery out and let it dry out for about 3-4 days. Once it all dried completely..(phone and battery) then I booted it up and it worked so-so ! From what I hear also putting it into a bag of rice works...who knew????

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  7. Opps.........let's do this again.
    Thanks so much for all the cell phone suggestions. Keep them coming!!

    The phone is currently in a bag of rice. We do have dry bags of course. I use them, David does not. :-( Not sure there's much hope for the phone or for him. :-)

  8. Most important...HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARRIE!!!!

    Sorry about the phone David...bummer;o((

    Great paddle, we be down tomorrow:o)))

  9. Sorry to hear about the cell phone. I hope the rice works, that would have been my suggestion. But don't blame David too much, I have the same problem getting in and out of my Sea Eagle kayak, it appears there is no elegant way to get in-n-out.

    Those vultures in that ghost tree were certainly eyeballing you closely. They'd have been licking their lips (if they had any).

  10. Rice works great! David needs a water proof case. I've got one that's waterproof and shockproof... Good luck with the phone and great pics today!

  11. Yup, ditto all the above. Dropped my (former) cell phone in the sink disposer in my stix & brix (thank God the disposer wasn't running!). Took it all apart, did the rice thing, and voila, was fine ;) Swear by dry bags too, for phones & cameras, and wallets, etc!

  12. Hope the dry rice works for you.....it did for us! Great trip and pictures! Has it been especially dry there this winter or are the roots always like that this time of year?

  13. Glad you're trying the rice. I've heard that works well but might take several days. It's certainly worth a try. In David's defense, I always take my phone with me too, signal or not. You just never know :) I do keep mine in a dry box though, along with my camera and some granola bars :) It stays clipped close to me and easily accessible. Hope it all works out.

  14. I'm glad the markers were out there...I can definitely imagine getting hopelessly lost in breakstick land! Neat paddle though - love the lunch spot. I hope life comes back to Dad's cellphone. I have to say that vultures are not attractive in the slighest - they play their role, but they're quite spooky and evidently not well behaved! Nice sunrise pictures yet again :)

  15. The trick with rice worked well on my phone that just slipped into the dish water. But it didn't help the one that I had in the pocked of my swim trunks in the hot tub. I noticed that one when the phone shorted out and over heated in my pocket. And I had said to myself when I put it in my pocket, "Tom, this is a bad idea." But I assured myself that I'd remember to take it out before going into the water. Should have listened to my 'smarter' self.

  16. Sooooo glad you are having so much fun !!!!! My Dad was partial to the sunrise and he savored it so ...... Your photos were terrific and the progression was great ....... Go with the sealed baggie of rice ..... Will usually work ......
    HAPPY BRITHDAY, CARRIE !!!!! That 80 miles was a real shout out !!!!! Keep having fun !!!!!!

  17. Happy birthday to Carrie!!

    Good luck with David's cell phone. Sorry we can't offer any advice -- knock on wood, we haven't had to rescue a soggy phone yet. Hope it's able to be revived.

  18. Happy birthday to Carrie.

    Now I know how you don't get lost in those swamps. Wow, I wouldn't want to miss a marker.

    Keep us posted on the cell phone soaking/rehab.

  19. I think he should keep the stuff in a mesh bag and hook it inside the boat. Then if you get out it might come along, but it will still be tied to the boat so you will notice it.

  20. They say to burry them in rice but It's to late now. Need to be done almost instantly. But at least you know for the next time.

    Sure looks like lots of fun out there.
    And Happy Birthday Carrie, mine is Sunday we are great people. LOL

  21. We always bring our cell phones and my camera....but before we get in or out of the kayak, they are in a waterproof bag. I usually give the bag to Al to hold while I'm getting in or out....just in case.

    Sorry, I don't know how to save a waterlogged cell phone. I would sure suggest a small waterproof bag though. We got ours at Walmart years ago...the ends velcro shut and they're pretty heavy duty, but small enough not to be in the way.

    Happy birthday Carrie!


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