Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shooting the Search for the Perfect Day Episode 2

We just returned from shooting the Search for the Perfect Day Episode 2 on location in Florida's 10,000 Islands, Everglades, and Keys. This is just a brief outline of what we were up to. Look for more detailed reports of each event in the near future!

We're still editing and adding photos. If you'd like to see the pics we've posted so far, click HERE.

We arrived in Tampa the night of 2/13. Wind and rain had followed us from Oregon. We picked up boats from Valley Sea Kayaks and Russell Farrow at Sweetwater Kayaks the next day and drove South to Naples, where we met up with Brandon "Mango" Gunderson from Naples Outfitters and adjusted our plans according to the harsh weather conditions; Temperatures dropping into the 30's, 40mph wind, and torrential rain.

We decided we'd hike and explore the area on foot while we waited for the weather to break, and headed off towards the everglades to see if we could spot some gators. The trail was beautiful, but the gators were hiding from the cold.

The next day we met with Rich Jones and Capt. Jason Sine of Calusa Outfitters in Everglades City to explore Big Cypress while kayak fishing. We found a bit of litter in the mangroves and managed to remove it. Jason caught and released a juvenile goliath grouper. The sun brought out the alligators and soon we had seen more than we could count. On the way back to Naples a front pushed through with 40+mph winds, forcing us to pull over and rearrange our boats on top of the car. The storm continued through the night.

Sunday 2/17: The weather finally broke and the sun was shining! We paddled the mangrove tunnels around Marco Island and the 10,000 Islands with Jay Rose and Brandon Gunderson of Naples Outfitters, experiencing white sand beaches for the first time.

That night we were invited to the home of local paddler Win Turner for dinner, where we interviewed his father, a 75 year resident of the area. One of the local rivers bares their name.

Monday 2/18: We're off to Big Pine Key! Upon our arrival we found a pelican pierced through the neck with hooks and tangled in fishing line. With the help of the staff at the Old Wooden Bridge Fishing Lodge and Maya Totman (quite a serendipitous meeting) of Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue, we were able to free it.

We got on the water Tuesday morning with Bill Koegh of Big Pine Kayak Adventures and did a cleanup of Bahia Honda Key, removing mostly foam floats and line for crab and lobster fishing. Thunderstorms and high winds closed in quickly and we were off the water by mid day. We explored No Name Key and removed trash as the sun set after the storm.

Wednesday 2/20: Nothing but blue skies and temps in the low 80's. the wind remained a brisk 20mph for the remainder of the trip. We travelled down to Key West to interview Karrie Carnes of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary/NOAA, before heading back to Big Pine to interview Maya Totman of Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue.

That evening we were back on the water with Bill Koegh fishing, followed by fresh caught fish tacos and cold beer at his house.

Thursday 2/21: SUP session and interviews with Susan Hewlings of Paddle Board the Keys and Bill Koegh, followed by another cleanup at Bahia Honda Key.

Friday 2/22: Interviews at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon Key, and a cleanup at Long Key before traveling back to Tampa for our plastic presentation at Sweetwater Kayak's Florida Gulf Sea Kayak Symposium on Saturday 2/23. The presentation went great, and we were honored for the opportunity given.

We conducted an interview with Russell Farrow of Sweetwater Kayaks before jumping on a flight back to Portland the next day, arriving late Sunday 2/24.

The entire experience was amazing. We can't wait to share this story with you in the upcoming video!

We're off to shoot Episode 3 in about a week and will post more when we return!

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