Something Different for a Sailor's Feet - Keen Uneek Review

"Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else." -Margaret Mead

A good shoe for sailing has a few unique ingredients - good grip, toe protection and waterproofing or quick drainage. Add to that some degree of comfort, durability and style for gracing the marina and you've got a winner. Keen has taken two cords and a sole and turned them into a really fantastic sandal that's versatile enough for the deck or the trail.  Aptly named the Keen Uneek, these new sandals check all the boxes by providing wet deck grip from the non-marking rubber outsole's razor siping, a degree of toe protection courtesy of the hand braided cord and fast draining and drying due to the microfiber footbed.

What was unexpected was just how comfortable the Uneeks are on my feet. The polyester braided cord is form fitting and flexible enough that there are no pressure points anywhere yet the fit is still secure and stable. Now that I've had a chance to wear them on the sailboat for a weekend, I can confirm that the grip on deck is quite good. I also appreciate just how airy they are since my feet tend to sweat in just about every shoe I wear without socks. I personally also really like the braided cord look, which comes in a variety of color options.

All in all, Uneeks are the un-sandal. Totally functional, unique and at home on a boat or beach.

Pros: Very comfortable, very airy, good grip
Cons: Minimal toe protection from cleats, etc.
Buy these shoes if: You need a sturdy sole with an airy and comfortable upper.

Can't get enough of sailing shoe reviews? Try the others we've written:

Stand Firm - Sailing Shoe Reviews

A Sailor's Sole - The Original Reviews (including Keen Newport H2s)

Astral Porter Sailing Shoe Review

Deck Shoes or Dive Boots - Zhik ZK Boatshoe Review

Looking for a High Power Flashlight? Pelican 7000 LED Flashlight Review

"We all walk in the dark and each of us must learn to turn on his or her own light." -Earl Nightingale

Flashlights are seemingly simple devices charged with a straightforward task of providing light on demand. The new Pelican 7000 LED flashlight is my favorite for three reasons: brightness, toughness, and size. Pelican says this pocket-sized flashlight puts out 602 lumens of intense LED light. In fact, this is the first tactical light from Pelican to break the 600 lumen output barrier. I don't have a way to test for lumens and frankly, I'm not sure what a lumen even is. But what I do know is that this flashlight is seriously bright. In fact, bright enough to be used for a spotlight. For some perspective, two other very impressive lights I've tested in the past (Inova XO3 and Streamlight Waypoint Spotlight) put out 200 and 300 maximum lumens each respectively. So the Pelican 7000 is indeed very bright.

Pelican 7000 LED Tactical Light

And it's perfect for use on a sailboat because it carries an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it can withstand being submerged to 3.25 feet for 30 minutes. While it does have an integral belt clip, I'd like to see a lanyard so I could keep it securely attached to my PFD during deck work. Build quality feels and looks excellent. The aluminum case and polycarbonate resin lens make this a durable yet very lightweight (5.6oz w/ batteries) pocket-sized (5.31" in length) light.

I suppose this is also a "smart" flashlight too since it has four programmable modes: high, medium, low, strobe. I'll probably just keep mine programmed to simply turn on in "high" mode with the single push button on the bottom of the flashlight. There's also a battery status mode to check how much juice you've got left, but accessing it requires an awkward sequence of half-presses of the button. Speaking of batteries, the Pelican 7000 LED is powered by two CR123 Lithium batteries. These aren't exactly cheap and possibly not always readily available in foreign ports, so you might consider switching to rechargeable CR123s depending on where you'll be cruising.

Programmable modes and the lack of a lanyard aside, if you seek a bright flashlight that's as tough as your crew, the Pelican 7000 is up to the task. This isn't your Harbor Freight or Dollar Store variety LED flashlight, so it shouldn't come as a shock that the Pelican will set you back ~$70.

Ready to get your own Pelican 7000?

Get it here on Amazon and support SFLF.

Back in the Sunshine Again

"I'm back to my deck shoes with holes in the toes. Fish on the line, sails in the wind. Cooler of beer on beach with my friends. Back in the sunshine again."
- Lyrics from "Back in the Sunshine" by Jim Morris

I knew it was going to be an epic getaway when one of our friends said, "I could pee on her, but it would smell like coffee and feel less weird if Kevin did it." So, I reluctantly mustered up the courage and wrung out a kidney in an empty water bottle. I then proceeded to pour my pee on my wife's neck and shoulders.

Does urine really take away the stinging from a run-in with a jellyfish or is that a myth? Scientific American says it's a myth, but we were nearly 5 miles offshore and Erin's shoulders and neck were on fire from the man-o-war she just snorkeled through. Actually, Erin's analogy was that it felt like someone was putting out a pack of Marlboros on her skin. The good news was that she didn't show signs of going into shock, so a golden shower seemed like a decent option to quell the pain. None of us had any better ideas.

So yeah, I peed on my wife. I can cross that one off the bucket list now. Myth or not, my "remedy" did provide some temporary pain relief until Erin dipped back into the water to rinse off her shoulders. Eventually the burning/stinging went away on its own, but Erin's skin showed marks for a week or more. Her ego recovered too.

Regardless of potentially dangerous sea life and urban legend cures, we still had a blast that day snorkeling at Alligator Reef Light and Cheeca Rocks.

No man-o-war can keep this crew down!
We took full advantage of the rest of our week in the Florida Keys too. Islamorada proved to be a good central location for exploring, relaxing and enjoying time with our good friends and marina neighbors from back home in the Great Lakes. Water and sunshine dictated most of our activities, which makes sense since both are key ingredients for my happy-place recipe.

Later in the week we rented kayaks and a standup paddle board at Key Largo's Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to meander through the maze of mangroves. Hannah actually had to lay prone on the SUP to sneak through a few low and narrow passes, which she relished. The middle of the paddle was highlighted by a visit from a friendly and curious manatee who grazed on mangrove leaves from Isabel's hand as we all quietly watched. For a polar opposite to sailing, we finished the week by renting jet skis for a circumnavigation of Key West by water. Amazingly, Soleil actually fell asleep while underway. Usually it's Izzy that falls asleep when we're out sailing, but somehow the salt spray and fast, bumpy ride over the waves was the secret elixir for Soleil.

I confirmed for myself that the Keys would make for an excellent sailing cruise someday. Shoal draft would be a necessity for all of the tucked away anchorages and gunkholes I spotted. Awareness of channel markers and a reliable plotter are another must, both on the Florida Bay side where mangrove islets and shallows lurk and the ocean side with its abundance of reefs and rocks. Good fishing, excellent snorkeling/diving, quiet backwaters and lively waterfront bars seem to be a way of life down here. And Sandbar Sunday brews from Islamorada Beer Company on the sandbar with friends is an ironic treat.

We're thankful to have created some wintertime fun-in-the-sun memories with close friends to go along with all of the summers we've spent together over the years since we started sailing.

Picture this: Dear ocean...

"Dear ocean, thank you for making me feel small." (Photo from Islamorada, FL by K. Walters)