Winter birthday triad on Florida Bay with the ‘Banana Boat’!

This one is all about threes. That’s the theme!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens satellite

I call this the Florida Bay “Birthday Triangle”!
Three days of paddling, photography and other assorted triplets!

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 A three day triangular route across about half of Florida Bay was the basis for this theme.

First and foremost however was a birthday celebration – for my kayak. You see on February 3rd, 2016, my kayak the ‘Banana Boat‘ turned 24 years old!

This Florida Bay birthday cruise will then introduce a special guest ‘Hubble Jr.’ and finally a planetary alignment as intertwined parts of the triad and other assorted triplets.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens 1992

I purchased my Seda Glider brand new on Feb 3, 1992 from Dave Berman’s ‘Mangrove Coast Sea Kayaks’ in South Miami. At the time it was quite the deal! 🙂

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This Seda Glider sea kayak was my very first ‘real’ kayak. At the time I just wanted a fast boat to scoot around in. I had no concept at all of going camping out in the wilderness and was just learning about paddling in general. I guess my choice was wise as I still regularly paddle it and this kayak is still in production today!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens 1992

On of the earliest pics of me testing out my new Glider off Ft Lauderdale beach in 1992.

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There was no internet to speak of in 1992 and getting good  information or reviews amounted to reading magazines, going to the library (remember those!) and talking to people and trying out boats if/when available locally. One thing I did pick up on at this early stage was to get the kayak, the paddle and a skirt plus a paddle float all together.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens 1992

Putting the new Glider through it’s paces the only way I knew how back in 1992.
Note that I had yet to discover high bracing and was pulling on the paddle!

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I sure was glad to have the inflatable paddle float because I needed it the very first time I took the kayak out in the ocean. I successfully deployed it to re-enter my new boat after capsizing off the beach. Later I got a pump and life jacket to complete the setup. I had a lot of fun cruising around South Florida and enjoyed the freedom of being the captain of my own boat! 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens 1992

When the ‘Banana Boat‘ was just a Seda Glider.
Kayaking off the beach in Ft Lauderdale with local sailing guru Jon Grau.

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This Pentax Zoom 90-WR was a great camera for a kayaker back in the 1990’s. It used film, of course, and more importantly was water resistant! I would regularly rinse it in the sink after paddling. It also came with a useful wireless IR remote that made ‘selfie’ shots like these possible. Note the remote duct taped to the middle of my paddle shaft above!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens selfie cam 1992

Many people aren’t aware that I was an early ‘selfie’ pioneer back in 1992!
This Pentax WR90 film camera produced excellent results and is the common ancestor to all of today’s GoPro and other tough action cams.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens 1992

Good result from the kayak selfie cam in West Lake, Hollywood, Florida in 1992.
Note the Werner ‘San Juan’ paddle which I’ve since shortened and turned into a surfing blade!

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I like to name my boats, so the Seda Glider quickly became the ‘Banana Boat‘.

That simple name was the start of an ongoing customization campaign that actually continues to today!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens sombrero

I have been a big sombrero fan right from the start!
CLICK for story: A kayaker’s tribute to the multi-versal Sombrero!

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Fast forward 24 years to February 2nd, 2016 !

I am headed out to Florida Bay with the ‘Banana Boat‘.

What better way to celebrate my kayaks’s 24th birthday than with a nice three day open water paddle!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens turnpike quarry

On the road again: Sunrise on the turnpike over a rock quarry and palms.
Heading out to a birthday celebration!

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Little Rabbit Key is a beautiful little gem of an island just about in the middle of Florida Bay. On the day of my trip, the tides were favorable and I was able to make a straight 13 mile run from Flamingo across the flats banks.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens little rabbit key

Final approach to Little Rabbit Key in central Florida Bay.
The poles on deck are the latest incarnation of my 35 foot pole aerial photography rig.
CLICK for: A Kayak Aerial Photography Method – a behind (and above) the scenes look!

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Aerial view of beautiful Little Rabbit Key from a previous trip.
CLICK for story: Little Rabbit Key – a camping jewel in Central Florida Bay

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The island hasn’t changed much over the years. Sometimes when it rains a lot, like this winter, it can get partially flooded out. I had neighbors, a father and son team doing some extended camping in the ‘Bay in their powerboat.

I pointed out to them that this island is about as ‘middle of nowhere’ as it gets.

“That’s why we’re here” was their reply!

🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens little rabbit key

Sunrise over camp at Little Rabbit Key. These were the two ‘sure’ dry spots on the island!

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When it rains a lot, the water soaks into the slick marl prairie mud. During the afternoon it also evaporates leaving just the slick mud. But when the tide comes up at night it pushes that water back up and it then sits there until the morning. So even though it didn’t rain a drop, the island became more flooded overnight!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens little rabbit key

The Banana Boat on a very wet Little Rabbit Key in the morning. The muck is a mix of fresh and salt water on top of a slick marl mud with sea grasses and bird guano added in!

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There’s gorgeous views to be had from Little Rabbit Key in the mornings!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens little rabbit key

“Wish you were here.. a tranquil morning at Little Rabbit Key”
CLICK for story: Chickees and Keys in Florida Bay – Kayaking, Camping and Nice Dreams!

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Flex Maslan Kayak Florida Bay Everglades kayakfari little Rabbit Key panorama camp fisheye photography landscape chickees keys 180 view

“A view to a Chill” – from Lil Rabbit Key!
ART of the Bay – Florida Bay Landscapes

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Paddling the second leg of my trip was actually very easy thanks to a steady 15 knot SE tail wind that really pushed me along NW towards the Cape. This direct ‘hypotenuse’ route turned out to be 19 miles in about 5 hours of paddling with a couple of pit stops along the way.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens little rabbit key

The Rabbit Keys disappearing into the distance as the fresh 15 knot wind pushes me away!

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Some people don’t like open water paddling, but I really enjoy it. It’s a neat kind of feeling to see nothing but ocean for miles around in every direction with maybe a distant island just visible on the horizon. The human pace of paddling generates a great sense of communion with the seascape around me!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens beach

On the beach at East Cape in the afternoon.

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The ‘Rule of three’ – “Omne trium perfectum”!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens selfie

I and I and I representing the resident alien on the beach!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens triple trippel beer

When a Trippel turns into a triple, but certainly NOT a tripple!
CLICK for story: Take a Ranger-led Pour of the Everglades!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens triple trippel beer

I might be seeing triple after that Trippel!

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Time really does fly when you’re having fun, and it goes even faster when having photographic fun!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens sunset

Delicious Gulf sunset with the high wispy clouds!

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With the fast approaching sunset comes the second part of this triad. Allow me to introduce ‘Hubble Jr.’, a gentle giant of a lens at 1000mm. This is an old school but still very capable super-telephoto lens that I wanted to bring out on the ‘Bay for some experimental long distance photography.

Some people might call this a monster lens, but I’ve dubbed my copy ‘Hubble Jr.’ because of the distant details it can pull in.

At close to 15 lbs, it’s the kind of lens you have to plan to take out because it also requires an equally large and heavy tripod for support!

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Introducing the business end of ‘Hubble Jr.’ – a gentle giant of 1000 millimeters.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens

Hubble Jr. really pulls in the setting fireball in the sky even on an APS-C sensor cam!

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Darkness also brings the third part of the triad – a celestial alignment.

But first, let’s enjoy the night sky!

Thanks to the SE breezes, it was mostly bug-free on the Cape this time. 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens sunset sky stars

Afterglow of the sunset and a nearly whole sky view as the stars make their appearance.

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It’s dark enough at East Cape to easily make out the Milky Way, but it isn’t always as distinct as when viewed from a landlocked location. It’s intensity has not been exaggerated. What you see below is very close to how you’d see the sky when laying flat on your back, staring straight up!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens stars sky

The whole sky in winter with Orion and the Big Dipper all ‘rotating’ around the pivot of Polaris!
CLICK for: ART of Darkness – Camping with the Stars! Part II

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Finally, the third part of the triad and why I came out to the ‘Bay on this trip – the winter 2016 five planet alignment in the pre-dawn sky! 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens planets sky

The third part of this triad – a cool planetary alignment in the southern sky just before dawn!
CLICK for another celestial alignment story: Harvest moon, Super moon, Blood moon and High Tides of the final tetrad Eclipse of 2015!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens sky

The winds continued through the night and presented these beautiful wispy high clouds as threads across the whole sky!

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After the sunrise wiped away the stars and planets I was treated to a show of colors and clouds and birds!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens sunrise

Classic sunrise over Florida Bay at low tide.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens east cape

East Cape at low tide in the early morning light.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay aerial 1000mm lens

Beautiful morning aerial view of wide low tide mud flats at East Cape in the Everglades.
CLICK for more Florida Bay & Keys Aerial VR Panoramas!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens

I spy ‘Hubble Jr.’ in the wild on the beach!
Look for a story on this travelling gentle giant coming soon.

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The Hubble Jr has a fairly steep learning curve, but once balanced on a gimbal head it’s easy to move it around. Focus is by a rack and pinion setup and takes some practice to get spot on right. Enjoy these early outtakes from an APS-C cam!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens

A Heron in the distance courtesy of ‘Hubble Jr’.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens osprey

A close up of a perched Osprey!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens heron

A tricolored Heron wading and foraging!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens

A white Pelican comes in for a landing!

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‘Hubble Jr.’ also pairs well with the small sensor Pentax Q cam to provide a tremendous 5600mm (equivalent) super reach!

At this kind of magnification any vibration or movement becomes an issue and focus is really tricky.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens Pelicans

A peek 5600mm’s deep into a gathering of white Pelicans courtesy of Hubble Jr.!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Florida Bay johnson key chickee Kayak Everglades Camp Flamingo tower flats turtle grass Keys photo 1000mm

‘Hubble Jr.’ with a 2x tele-converter added yielded an absurd 11200mm effective focal length. Yes, that’s an Osprey nest on top next to the strobe beacon.
The cell tower at Flamingo six miles away as seen from another trip.
CLICK for story: Camping on the Johnson Key platform in Florida Bay

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens

I am always sad to have to go – I never really want to leave Florida Bay!

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The final and third leg of the trip was just 11 miles back to Flamingo, but this stretch nearly always seems to take longer than it should. C’est la vie!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens

Happy Birthday to .. my kayak! 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayakfari Banana Boat kayak photography everglades adventure Seda Glider camp tour Florida Bay 1000mm lens nv200

The ‘Banana Boat‘ ready for high speed transport home on top of my versatile ‘personal size’ NV200 cargo vanlet.

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Happy Birthday ‘Banana Boat’!

Thanks for the triad and the delightful 43 miles!

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Enjoy!

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! Trinity – Bless UP

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© 2016 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com / decoratedreality.com. All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

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