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Everglades Challenge
for
Sea Kayaks, Canoes & Small Boats


CP3 - Flamingo

Roughly 60 miles along the coast from Indian Key Pass you will come to Cape Sable. A few miles around the point and you will find Flamingo.  This is the Southern campground in the Everglades Park. You're almost home free at this point.  The nightmare of Everglades City is behind you and you can almost hear me partying in Key Largo.

Tide Is Still a Factor

Tide is always a factor in a small boat.  The tide can be even more difficult here because there are so many factors that enter into it.  Fresh water flow from the glades, Atlantic flow, Gulf flow, wind, pressure, channels.  The area is very shallow.  You really must get chart 33E.

I plan to pitch my hammock somewhere between Middle Cape and Clubhouse beach and take a nap until the time is right.

You've looked at the chart and noted the shallow water.  Right?

Big Boats Are Everywhere

Even bigger boats are cruising these waters so watch out.  Some of them run at night with no lights.  If you must travel at night, keep lots of lights going on your boat and keep a strong spot light handy.

Access for Family and Friends

Flamingo is located on the southern tip of the Florida mainland with highway access.  Much more info will follow within a few months.  

If You Drop Out

If you drop out at Flamingo, be sure to let the check in crew know.  They will help you arrange for transportation to Key Largo and you will ride back to Tampa after the race is over.  You may have to stay at Flamingo a day or two (hopefully not more) for the transport to show up.

Fresh Water

Fresh water is available at Flamingo as well as a restaurant, convenience store, boat ramp, campground and hotel.

Disgusting Restrooms

The restrooms at the tent camping area are disgusting.  I hope each one of you writes a letter to the park service to complain. Why are the restrooms in the RV are OK?  Are they trying to phase out the tent camping area?  

Physical Check In Station

The Orange Lock Box containing your check in logs in chained to a palm tree in front of the Dockmaster's house at the Marina/Store area.  You can see the lock between fresh water and salt water as you paddle down the channel from either side.

Lock Combination is as follows:     3 - 1 - 4  
Line up all the numbers on the black line.
The same combination is used for all check points.  IMPORTANT -- After you log in, you must lock the box.  Be sure to hold the clasp into the lock and the SPIN the dial.  If you do not spin the dial while holding in the clasp, the lock will be open.  Check it before you leave.

Lat/Lon of Flamingo Lock Box 

025° 08.55 N
080° 55.37 W

The box is chained to a palm tree outside the Dockmaster's office.  The office is where the sail boats and big boats are docked.  (See pictures below.)

If you navigate to this Lat/Lon from the water, you will run into the basin concrete wall.  Instead, navigate to the canoe landings or the campsite and then find the box.

NOTE:  The rangers have the combination and could decide to move the box.  If you can't find the box, ask the Dockmaster.  It could even be in their office.

Lat/Lon of Canoe Landing 
Bay Side 

025° 08.55 N
080° 55.34 W

This is a floating dock in the yacht basin.  (See pictures below.)

Lat/Lon of Canoe Landing 
Fresh Water Side 

025° 08.56 N
080° 55.34 W

This is a floating dock on the fresh water side of the lock.

Beach Landing and Camping at Flamingo

You can camp in the Everglades Park campground.  You must make your own arrangements.

Lat/Lon of a Camp Site 

025° 08.19 N
080° 56.03 W

This is the last campsite on the east end of the camping area.  It is close to the outdoor theater which is a good marker to look for as you paddle down the channel.  The rangers refer to this area as the group camp site.

WARNING:  The restroom by the campsite is disgusting.  If you want a clean shower, you will have to walk over to the RV campground about 15-20 minutes away.  Write letters.  There is no excuse for this. (Note that campers in the 2003 EC reported that the restrooms were better.)

Everglades Park

If you haven't already phoned for your Everglades Wilderness Trip Planner, you better do so ASAP.

Click on each picture for a larger view.

A view of the group camp from the water.  There are only a few trees.  The beach is firm but slimy mud with about a 2' bank.  Note that no reservations have been made.  Another group could be here.  The Lat/Lon given earlier is right under this tree.

The outhouse by the group camp. Inside it is disgusting.  The water tub on the outside works but a filter might be a good idea.  Note that there are three of these.  The one in the middle is so bad it is closed.  (Note: I have heard second hand reports that the restrooms in this area have been improved.)

The outdoor theater near the group camp.  The screen can be seen from the water once you are in the channel.

This is the trail behind the outdoor theater.  If you take the right hand turn you would see the previous picture.  If you go straight ahead you will find the visitor's center, restaurant, marina, and the lock box.  It's about 15-20 minutes walking time.

Restaurant hours of operation.  I haven't tried it.  Nice t-shirts and stuff in the gift shop if you are looking for presents.

Marina and store hours of operation.  It is a fairly well stocked store and even has some fresh vegetables and fruit.  Lots of water.  Much better stock than Everglades city.  Probably because the workers live out here and the nearest regular store is ~ 40 miles.  But don't expect a super market.

The canoe landing on the bay side.  Another landing is on the freshwater side.  A portage will be required if you take the inland route.  NOTE the roller on the end of the landing.  If you use it to pull your boat out and the ends each have 100 pounds of gear, your boat could crack.  Thanks to Hellbender for that tip.

A view of the lock from the fresh water side.  You can just make out the canoe landing behind the boat top.  Don't even think about using the lock.

NOTE:  Both landings are used by a commercial canoeing company.  If you see them loading or unloading paddlers, defer to them.  Wait your turn or you can use the motor boat landings -- one on each side of the lock.

Motor boat ramps.  One on each side of the lock.  If you use these ramps, your portage will be about 1/4 mile.  If you use the canoe landings, your portage will be about 20 yards.

A view of the water from the group camp site.  Note the shallow bar in front of the camp.  At low tide you may have to go past the camp site in the channel and then swing back in.  You will have to read the water.

If you walk to the marina from the campsite, this is the view looking at the Dockmaster's hut.  If you look carefully, you may be able to see the orange lock box by the palm tree.

If you land at the canoe dock, this is the view of the Dockmaster's hut.  Note the orange box at the base of the palm tree.  Beware that the Dockmaster could decide to move it.  If it isn't here, ask the Dockmaster or find JohnnyG!

Here is a view of the Dockmaster's hut and the lock box from the Marina Store.

And a close up.

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