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Cap’n Larry Jarboe: The Boat That Does It All

Quite a few years ago, back in the mid-1970’s, I was fortunate to work as a mate then captain of a large passenger carrying boat that took people snorkeling on the shallow coral reefs of John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo, Florida.

I promoted our business with the phrase “If you can swim, you can snorkel.” Twice a day, we hauled up to 61 passengers a trip on a wooden Harkers Island-built boat to witness the amazing coral reefs and tropical fish that are found right here in the United States.

Today, the State Park concession that I worked from has about 4 multi-passenger snorkel boats that have evolved from that one vessel.

Like snorkeling, there are many marine sports that have sprouted over my lifetime.

Obviously, canoes have been with us for many years. But, who figured out that you could sit on top of a kayak or stand up to paddle a fat surfboard? These are relatively recent innovations that have attracted a huge following.

Then, there are those Wave Runners. When I grew up in the Fifties, we never figured you could have a motorcycle that flew across the water.

All of those sports are fun for those of us who swim but owning all four: a canoe, kayak, paddle board and Wave Runner is expensive, space consuming, and a major maintenance hassle.

What if one vessel did all this, and more?

The Wavewalk catamaran style skiff is the stable and portable boat that literally, does it all. A visit to the company website at wavewalk.com will show you the W500 and W700 solo and tandem twin hull kayaks that are easy on your back because they are straddled like a Wave Runner. Fishermen are especially fond of the Wavewalk design because they are so easy to stand up in order to spot or cast to their prey.

These magic boats can be paddled with kayak or canoe paddles or outfitted for gas outboard or electric trolling motor or both! And, they are lightweight enough to carry on top of your car without a special carrying rack or trailer.

I discovered the Wavewalk design while I was searching the Internet for the perfect kayak to establish a retirement rental business in Key Largo. My first Wavewalk was purchased at retail price. That little W500 was so good that I used it in my commercial fishing business in the Chesapeake region to supply Blue Catfish fillets to Linda’s Cafe in downtown Lexington Park and the Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast in historic Hollywood, Maryland.

At present, in addition to two commercial fishing work boats, I have a fleet of Wavewalk kayaks for weekend Wavewalk Adventures in the State Parks and National Sanctuaries that surround Key Largo.

And, I am fortunate to be the exclusive Wavewalk distributor for all of South Florida. Contact me if you are in the Chesapeake region and I can arrange for you to have your own Wavewalk kayak.

On a nearly daily basis, I motor my green W700 skiff through mangrove creeks or out in the ocean to make my own adventures exploring places that are almost impossible to reach by any other method of marine conveyance. This Wavewalk lifestyle is a most wonderful and unexpected retirement pastime that I am most happy to share.

So, if you are tired of being cold this winter and want an excuse to visit the Florida Keys, you have one (as if you really need an excuse to visit paradise).

A trip to my website at floridafishingkayaks.com. will provide all the info you need to schedule a free Wavewalk Wednesday demo of this vessel. Or, a weekend rental with included guide service might be a way to enjoy a complete kayak, canoe, stand-up paddle board package in a boat that “does it all.”

Who knows? You might drive home with one.

Welcome aboard.

Cap’n Larry Jarboe

 

 

More fishing adventures with Capn’ Larry »

 

Wavewalk 500 Battery Pack

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

After all the excitement of the S4 introduction, it is great to see people posting their W500 and W700 pics and modifications.

The narrow twin hulls make these the ideal stable paddle vessels. Also, the W500 and W700 kayaks are easy to convert to electric power with a simple bolt on transom mount available from Wavewalk..

However, most batteries are too wide for the W500 (and some extent, the W700) to fit down into the hulls.

My solution is to put two 35 AH 12 volt U1 deep cycle batteries end to end in a custom made tapered housing that slips down into the hull. These are batteries that are often used to power electric wheelchairs.

70 amps of 12 volt power will run a 30 lb. thrust Minnkota electric trolling motor at top speed setting (4-5 kts.) for a couple hours. Or, troll at half speed all day. Figure about $160 cost for the under 40 lb. battery pack. Compare with the weight and cost of any other 70 Amp Hour battery that will not fit into the streamlined hulls.

I made my battery box from a plastic planter tray and some PVC decking material. It fits perfectly and works wonderfully in my white W500 that was my original Wavewalk investment.

The only issue was the conducting material at the battery terminals. Stainless steel does not transfer electricity very well. It was hard to find anyone in the Upper Keys on a Sunday afternoon who had a pair of brass nuts.

Try asking for that commodity, anywhere.

Yes, I scored on the 5/16×18 nuts.

And, the 70 AH battery box combo carried me offshore for a post-hurricane exploration of the Atlantic Ocean.

But, that is another story…

 

Update from Key Largo

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

Internet service is still negatory in Key Largo. I am at the Mickey D’s in Homestead with a hot signal but it is hot in the car, too. Plus, there is a curfew to get home before the gate closes on U.S. 1.

Still, we now have water and power at the bunker in the sky in Garden Cove (my house). And, all the boats survived. The two work boats will need refurbishing but the amazing Wavewalks weathered the storm without a scratch.

Looking forward to resuming our Wavewalk Adventures guide service at the beginning of October. In the meantime, my white S4 (the White Knight) is performing ferry service and supply delivery for boat people stranded in the local hurricane hole.

These Wavewalk vessels are the best hurricane preparedness and recovery portable shuttle craft that I have ever seen or used. Two W500’s, four W700’s, and three S4’s rode through Hurricane Irma like the powerful steeds they are and are ready to continue rescue duty.

Have to go. Seeking a little T.V. with rabbit ears. Two or three stations that work is better than a thousand that won’t come in thru a busted cable service.

Time to prep for the next one…

Larry J.

 

 

 

 

 

Read more from Larry about fishing, boating and outfitting »

 

Visit Larry’s fishing and diving guide and Wavewalk kayak and skiff Key Largo website »

Wakes are fun??

Jack, a middle aged owner of a motorized S4 from Texas writes  -“Love to jump the wakes of jet skis and other boats.”
Anyone who owns a Wavewalk would immediately understand what Jack is talking about, and identify with him, but other kayakers, canoeists and people who fish out of Jon boats, dinghies and skiffs would probably raise an eyebrow when they read this sentence –

For people who go in small watercraft and fish from them, a wake is a series of fast moving waves created in the water by the passage of a fast motorboat, and it is a threat. Kayakers hate wakes, and canoeists dread them, because a wake hitting their unstable vessel on its broadside can capsize it.
But even passengers on board bigger and most stable boats, such as dinghies, skiffs and Jon boats, are not big fan of wakes, to say the least, and they would not associate wakes with fun. Although wakes are typically not powerful enough to capsize a good size Jon boat or skiff, a wake suddenly hitting such a boat on its broadside is enough to destabilize passengers who stand in it, or on its deck, if they are unprepared for the sudden sideways tilt induced by the wake. And losing your balance in such a small boat can mean that you’d go overboard, or worse – capsize your boat, frequently as a result of your abrupt change in position causing another another passenger on board to lose their balance, in a chain reaction…

It is easy to destabilize a person standing on the deck of a Jon boat, or a skiff, but it is almost impossible to destabilize a person standing in a Wavewalk S4, with a leg in each hull. Why is that? It’s because a person standing this way in their S4 and momentarily losing their stability would simply drop on the S4’s saddle, to the lower Riding posture, which is the same position in which people driving a personal watercraft (a.k.a. “jet-ski”) drive their fast ride, or by extension, the same position offered by all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and snowmobiles.

All these vehicles, namely Wavewalks, PWC, ATV and snowmobiles are the most stable in their domains, and for their size, and they all offer similar saddle seats and riding postures to their users. There is no coincidence here, since the riding posture they offer is similar to the riding posture on horses and motorcycles, and it is naturally stable, namely that a person riding with a leg on each side of the saddle has the full ability to react intuitively, instantly, and most effectively to any change, and thus balance themselves in the most efficient way.

To put it clearly – a motorcycle is a vehicle with no stability it itself whatsoever. It you try to make a motorcycle stand without a person driving and balancing it, or without a mechanical support such as a metal leg or a wall, it would always fall on its side. But give that motorcycle a driver who rides its saddle, and it could go over the roughest terrain, and at high speed. This is to say that all the stability perceived in a moving motorcycle comes from its driver, and only from them, and it is the result of ability to balance themselves effectively while riding their vehicle’s saddle.

In comparison, a Wavewalk kayak offers the same balancing capability, plus its own stability as a twin-hull boat, namely a catamaran.

Read more about kayak stability »

The following video shot by Captain Larry Jarboe’s on board his Wavewalk S4 demonstrates how little effect a fast motorboat’s wake has on him:

 

So what’s fun about driving a Wavewalk S4 in wakes? The fun is that nothing bad happens, and you get to hop and bounce, and maybe get splashed a little, in a worst case scenario.

Back to fish

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

The summer weather and water temperature have turned to perfect in Key Largo.

The water temperature is in the mid-Eighties and the wind has stopped blowing. Though it is August, the air temperature is only in the low Nineties. My wife and I have taken this time to explore the near shore reefs and out of the way places in our “backyard” in Garden Cove.

Garden Cove is located in the heart of John Pennekamp State Park and is directly adjacent to the Dagny Johnson Botanical Hammock State Park. We can visit both these parks from our Wavewalk stable twin hull kayaks every day without waiting at the highway entrance gate or paying the entrance fees. We can also harvest fish and lobster under Florida and Federal regulations but spearfishing is definitely prohibited. Thus, we have a fully stocked pantry of fresh seafood only a mile or two from our house beside the only commercial docks on the Atlantic side of North Key Largo.

This is the perfect place to operate a fishing and eco-tour business featuring safe and portable vessels that require minimal effort to paddle or operate a motor from. And, when business is slow, I can use these same vessels to harvest fish and lobster commercially in accordance with my State and Federal commercial fishing permits.

The Wavewalk S4 is the perfect kayak to motorize and use to fish or find new spots inshore or offshore. Almost every day, I find more areas to fish that most people overlook in their quest to go faster and further offshore.

It must be nice to be able to afford five or six hundred dollars a day of fuel expenses to try to catch a fish. But, I prefer to save my money.

A dollar’s worth of fuel runs my S4 all day. Or, we can take out a couple more S4’s with electric trolling motors and spend maybe twenty five cents more on our electric bill.

Yesterday, I invested a couple hours to catch some fish from our backyard pantry to eat next week.

The proof is in the pic.

 

 


Larry offers guided fishing and diving trips in the Key Largo and the areas that surround it »

More fishing adventures with Capn’ Larry »