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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just saw this article in today's Miami Herald (5 Feb)... it's a cautionary tale for sure. Hope the guy survives and regains his health...
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article239942753.html

There's supposed to be some video of the rescue so we might see other news outfits pick up the story... All of this happened in the Lopez River area... after someone found bits of his gear floating and brought it to authorities...
 

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Foolish to just paddle off without a float plan and some kind of gps I see this all the time out of Chockoloske people who just go hap hazadly into the Everglades he's lucky to be alive.
 

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So the guy was out there for 12 days with the intention of making it to Flamingo and only made it out by the Lopez River area?
 

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Definitely would like to hear more details, a first-hand account. Hope he regains his health as well
 

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Man, that's some scary stuff.

We found a kayak with almost all gear, rods, bag, dry-box with fishing license in it, etc... last year in the marsh up here in St Marks. Thankfully, I remembered seeing a post on a local forum that matched the description of the kayak that drifted away from the angler 20 MILES AWAY a week prior. things can happen so fast. Glad he was wearing a PFD.

*edit* FYI - we loaded up the kayak and mothershipped it back to Tallahassee where we met the angler and handed everything back.
 

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He's very lucky to be alive. Waiting for the backstory, but at first blush sounds like a classic case of unrealistic expectations of abilities and lack of common sense.
 

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Jut speculating here, but I wonder if there was some sort of medical issue going on. Like a stroke possibly that caused him to loose some of his motor skills and/or mental clarity. Why would someone be in the water after being lost for multiple days? I know it's tough to find dry ground out there but you can get in the mangroves or something.....
 

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I was on the Lopez on Monday when the rescue took place. We left the Choko ramp around 10am....waiting for the water to warm. Three LE skiffs we’re launching behind us....two belonged to the USCG and one to FWC. All three craft were manned by two-men teams. They didn’t say anything to us...so we thought maybe they were doing some sort of special enforcement operation. The two USCG skiffs appeared to head up the Turner River....we headed up Lopez, followed by the FWC skiff. We fully expected to have our license and gear checked. Nope....they were headed elsewhere. Soon after leaving the ramp we encountered a group of six to eight canoes....loaded with camping gear and paddlers. They were headed to Choko so we assumed they had been camping in the backcountry.

We followed the Wilderness Waterway a bit before peeling off at Sunday Bay. FWC continued on up the Lopez. Around 11am I was landing a small snook when a helicopter circled our skiff and then left. I think the kayaker was rescued around noon. Water temps on the Lopez were between 61 and 68 degrees around noon. We saw small sharks and one 8-foot gator during our day. The officers never mentioned they were looking for a missing kayaker....which would have been nice to know since we were in the area and mobile.

I’m purchasing an Inreach this week. My buddy had his in his dry bag.
 

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This is the very reason I always have a trip plan when I'm doing a multi-day camping/fishing trip in the Glades. I call my sister and give her the trip plan, who then relays info to my brother-in-law (her husband) who camps and knows the Glades like the back of his hand. When I'm out, I then touch base with her that all is good. If there is a problem, they can launch a boat within 1.5-2hrs from that point and run my trip plan route. They also do the same with a friend that lives closer than I do and can serve a quicker response.

I can't understand why the guy stayed in the water since the shark and croc count in the Glades keeps rising and can be very aggressive. Personally, I wouldn't swim anywhere in the Glades for that very reason and would rather stay onshore and make some signs to catch the eye of a passing boater or just stay put at some camp site. I honestly think they should open shark fishing commercially for a few years there to thin the numbers down and also allow harvesting of crocs (not talking about gators either), because they are actually an invasive specie that swam here from Cuba. Crocs are way more aggressive than gators and I wouldn't be caught dead taking a canoe in some parts of the south Glades in the Florida Bay area with all the giant crocs, where I've had no problems with multiple gators around my canoe in other areas of the Glades and 10K.

Ok, back to the subject. It would be interested to see what this guy's story was. I don't understand why that tourist decided to take that long Wilderness Waterway trip alone, without another party, in-case something like that happened. It wasn't a bright idea doing that trip alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Very typical of supposedly well trained rescuers not bothering to check in with possible assets in the area... Any one of the paddlers on the water in that area might have had important info (maybe without knowing it...).

In my very checkered past I was in a similar line of work.
 

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This is the very reason I always have a trip plan when I'm in the Glades. I call my sister and give her the trip plan, who then relays info to my brother-in-law (her husband) who camps and knows the Glades like the back of his hand. When I'm out, I then touch base with her that all is good. If there is a problem, they can launch a boat within 1.5-2hrs from that point and run my trip plan route. They also do the same with a friend that lives closer than I do and can serve a quicker response.

I can understand why the guy stayed in the water since the shark and croc count in the Glades keeps rising and can be very aggressive. Personally, I would swim anywhere in the Glades for that very reason and would rather stay onshore and make some signs to catch the eye of a passing boater or just stay put at some camp site. I honestly think they should open shark fishing commercially for a few years there to thin the numbers down and also allow harvesting of crocs (not talking about gators either), because they are actually an invasive specie that swam here from Cuba. Crocs are way more aggressive than gators and I would be caught dead taking a canoe is some parts of the south Glades in the Florida Bay area, where I've had no problems with multiple gators around my canoe in other areas of the Glades and 10K.

Ok, back to the subject. It would be interested to see what this guy's story was. I don't understand why that tourist decided to take that long Wilderness Waterway trip alone, without another party, in-case something like that happened. It wasn't a bright idea doing that trip alone.
Where do you get that the American Crocodile is an invasive species to South FLorida. Also,commercial shark fishing in The Glades? This post was all a joke right?
 

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I’m trying to hypothesize the guys line-of-thought. I’m guessing he capsized in current and his kayak floated away in a strong current....although last week the tide swings were relatively minor. Otherwise I don’t see how he could get separated from his boat. As many of you know....there is very little dry land in that area....except for maybe an occasional exposed mud flat or oyster bar at low tide. As I mentioned...water temp varied with a low reading of 61 to a high of 68 in the early afternoon. I’m guessing he may have climbed onto mangrove roots at night to get out of the water and chose to swim during daylight hours. Fortunate for him the bugs were virtually non-existent this week due to the air temp. I saw the video and it looked like he had an inflatable PFD. If he hunches over in four foot of water, the PFD could provide enough buoyancy to allow him to push against the muck without getting stuck.

Still....I hope we get the firsthand account. I foresee a movie in the works.
 
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I saw this man on Tuesday, the 28th. He was in the mouth of the Lopez river paddling toward Choko at about 11am. I asked him where he camped the previous night and he couldn't recall. He said he had been out for 5-6 days then, but couldn't recall where he last camped...

I don't understand how you could be around the Lopez for two days without boats seeing you. Yeah it's the backcountry and all but around the Lopez I figure at least a half dozen boats would pass by you.
 

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The guys that found gear floating had excellent presence of mind in notifying LE- that's what saved the guy's life- not his cell phone. I'm not sure I would have (of course now I will) had that presence of mind, I mean there is so much trash in the lower 48's "wilderness" I might have just assumed it blew out of a boat.

Interesting that his trip was supposed to last 8 days and he was found 4 days later on day 12. In Alaska (where I'm from) the average time to be rescued once they know where you are is 4 days- mostly due the weather.

I fly bush planes in Alaska (for fun) and I carry the following:

1. A Personal Locating Beacon (PLB) that I wear around my neck. For those that don't know it is a Satellite/GPS signaling device notifying rescuers to come get you and where you are.

2. A Garmin inReach (Satellite/GPS signaling device). Similar to a PLB but also allows you to track your movement (and save it) and provides a website address for loved ones (or whomever you give the address to) to follow your progress. It also allows two-texting to your rescuers and anyone else you desire. I joke that if I ever need rescuing I'll text "Bring Pizza".

3. A Satellite phone with important phone numbers (rescue, family, friends) already programed in.

And the aircraft has a built in Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) that is supposed to be activated upon crashing (sometimes that works) and can be manually activated.

All those when I'm flying anywhere- not just in Alaska.

Currently when out fishing in Florida, Louisiana and soon to be Texas I'm carrying just the Satellite phone. A smart idea would be for me to bring my PLB as well and keep it on my person in case for whatever reason I can't get to my phone- like I get thrown out of my boat and it keeps on going.

Glad the guy survived. I've had severe hypothermia once before and it doesn't take long to perish from that.
 
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