Twelve teams of locals and visitors came together at Sombrero Beach last Saturday to raise funds for The Heron and WestCare, organizations that provides services and support for low-income residents who have been diagnosed with mental illness.
The 40-foot-long racing “dragons” are propelled by a team of 20 along a 400-meter racecourse parallel to the beach. Four of the teams were semi-professional groups from the mainland — Wun Fun Puff won first place overall. And about eight local teams also competed with The Conch Republic Navy, headed by veterinarian Dr. Gerry Diethelm, taking top honors.
The dragon boat paddlers from Amelia Island discuss strategy on Sombrero Beach.
Jolene Wilson, Nick Allen and Daniel Price imbibe some pre-race fuel.
Members of the Rock ‘n’ Row team — mostly Boot Key Harbor liveaboards — head to the ‘deck’ to assemble and race again.
Monroe County Sheriff deputy Willie Gonzalez ditches the boat in favor of two wheels to keep the peace.
There’s a winning team, but this wasn’t it. However the Conch Monsters, lead by Kirsten Difender, lower right, put on an awesome display of paddling power. They declared themselves the winners of the ‘loser’ heat.
City of Marathon public works director Carlos Solis gives Madeleine Vogelsang a hug for good luck.
The boats are imported from the mainland for the special event.