I was a little disappointed at the minimal opportunities for expedition style kayaking available from the Florida Keys and after some inquiries discovered that most of the “backcountry” kayaking was done from Everglades National Park. I went to the Everglades with ambitions of doing a four or five-day kayak camping trip through the offshore islands in the park. I obtained a permit from the ranger station in Flamingo and proceeded to set up my campsite and prepare for the trip which would begin the following day.

It was late afternoon and the bugs started coming out in full force. Sand flies, no-see-ums, deer flies and horse flies were all temporarily held at bay by repellant, but not for long. I quickly set up my camp and cooked my dinner inside my tent. By the time it started getting dark, the mosquitoes started collecting on the outside of my tent. I didn’t even think of leaving the safety of the tent and slept a fitful night, awakened numerous times by the incessant buzzing outside.

In the morning, while I was still in my tent, I began waffling about whether or not to continue with my trip. I couldn’t decide, so I flipped a coin and the result was to abandon the trip. I sprayed up with repellant and got out of the tent and began to break camp. The mosquitoes were so persistent that they would find any tiny spot that I missed with repellant and were biting me through my clothes. I packed up as quickly as I could and as I drove away, I thought that the coin toss had been unnecessary.

It was no wonder that no one else was camping there. I decided I would have to try again sometime in the winter when the bugs are more manageable.

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