As the 1,200-mile "Ultimate Florida Challenge" small-boat race completed Day 4, Monitor staff writer Warren Richey (race name, "Sharkchow") was ... stuck. But he was co-leading the Class 1 (expedition kayaks and canoes), single-male category, including those "just" doing the 300-mile Everglades Challenge to Key Largo. (See "Around the Coast in 30 Days," March 2.)
The March 4 start had been eventful, as a freighter was in the shipping channel. The 50-plus racers were instructed to wait it out or get out ahead of it. Richey went for it. As the "Chief," who runs the race, said, "There's nothing like the approaching bow of a freighter to motivate you to paddle harder."
Richey made good time. By Checkpoint 3, in Flamingo, he was 1 hour, 17 minutes behind fellow Class 1 racer "Manitoucruiser," a Kruger canoe-builder from Irons, Mich.
Then came this: "Manitoucruiser called in at 00:15, 3/8 to report he and Sharkchow were firmly planted in the mud of Florida Bay waiting for the tide to reverse. Both were comfortable; however, they remain stationary." As of 7:12 a.m. EST Wednesday, they were back under way and headed for Key Largo, 14 miles distant.