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Where we last left off

Dear Reader, When I last left you, John and I were surrounded by family, new friends and a recently made new decision. It was April 7, 2018, Day 53 of our Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater paddle. We were in Homosassa Springs, Florida, Mile almost-500 of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, visiting my sister at her friend’s awesome Southern Plantation-style home at the McRae Fish Camp. After a few days of getting ourselves turned around in the labyrinth of swamp rivers just north of Homosassa, back tracking and then turning around yet again, and then not being able to access our …

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Back to the Confessional

Dear Reader, I miss you. I miss me. It has been several months since my last confession. (Haha. Can you tell I spent eight years in Catholic school and went to Confession every Friday?) And yet it feels like I have been indeed away from the confessional. Away from sharing my thoughts and feelings…with someone (you) who, ha, I can’t even see (I bet you never thought of yourself as a priest/ess did you?); away from something sacred, from something that leaves me feeling whole. Yes, I’ve been away too long now from this sharing of my soul. I’ll admit …

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What I Packed on the Florida Circumnavigational Paddling Trail

Dear Reader, I made a list of the gear I had with me during Phase 1 of John and me paddling the Florida CT this year so that when we pick up the trail next winter packing for it will be easy. Or at least not stupid. Yes, I have learned the hard way that my brain is less tormented if I have a list to refer to when it comes time to pack. Despite having packed the same few items over and over again for 50-some days in a row like we did during our Phase 1 paddle. Which …

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FCT Phase 1 Finale Homosassa: Day 53, Florida CT Paddle 4.07.18

Dear Reader, Yesterday was Miss Pink’s and Baby Blue’s last day on the water during our Phase 1 paddle of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. We stripped them both down of all deck bags, under deck bags, spare paddles, contact tow lines and map/chart cases. Then, using two plastic chairs in place of saw horses, we hosed them down and sponged them out. And gave them a good looking over. They’ve held up incredibly well, despite our oyster bar thwacks. We let the hatches dry, lubricated the hatch covers, and then got back in them for their final paddle …

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Homosassa : Day 53, Florida CT Paddle 4.06.18

Dear Reader, I am, uncharacteristically, writing to you in the morning. At least the opening part of today’s post anyway. John and I are still at our campsite, and I am still in our tent, while we wait for the current to switch from ebb to flood and hopefully help us during our paddle. We only have about 7 – 8 nms of paddling today, which should take us maybe 3 hours or less of paddling, depending on the current and successful navigating. We’re meeting my sister, Tania, at her friend’s house at MacRae’s Fish Camp in Homosassa this afternoon, …

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Salt River Narrows: Day 52, Florida CT Paddle 4.05.18

Dear Reader, John and I had a special treat today. Our new friend, Maureen, was kayak guiding a high school group for The Crystal River Kayak Company this morning, and while there she arranged for Buffy, John and I to have use of three of their sit-on-top kayaks for a quick jaunt into the Three Sisters Springs area of King’s Bay. In the winter, hundreds of manatees congregate in the warm springs, and the springs are then closed to kayaks but open to swimmers. As of April 1, though, most of the manatees have dispersed into the warmer Gulf, allowing …

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Crystal River: Day 51, Florida CT Paddle 4.04.18

Dear Reader, Do you want to know what is one of my favorite things about doing this trail? It’s the unknowing. The surprises. The whole day and night spreading out in front of us like a blank slate, with just a map for general directions. And today was an exceptional day for ending in a way I would not have predicted. We woke up to a beautiful, albeit humid and buggy, day and an easy launch atop a broken slab of limestone rock ( our second only sighting of rock on this trip – our first being on Fog Island, …

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Withlacoochee Bay Primitive Camp: Day 50, Florida CT Paddle 4.03.18

Dear Reader, This morning began in a mud bog full of bugs. The tides have been high and the land is low. And when the wind disappears n the evening, and the sun sets or rises, the bugs come out to say hello. For the first time on this trip, we had to take our shoes off in order to get through the mud and into our boats. We paddled a gorgeous 12.38 nm today, through mangrove islands and islets, past oyster bars and reefs. And even at one point, dead ending, and backtracking the way we’d gone in. Egrets …

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Waccasassa River Camp: Day 49, Florida CT Paddle 4.02.18

Dear Reader, Despite our love affair with Cedar Key and our staying up late (for us) to watch Return of the Jedi on tv, we got up at 6 a.m. and got going. It’s been so rare to have calm, beautiful, paddling days from first thing in the morning that we couldn’t pass it up. We were even half tempted to do the 17.5 nm open-water crossing towards the blinking lights of the distant power plant, saving ourselves a day’s paddle. But chose to be conservative because of our age. No need to take unnecessary risks. Paddling the shoreline is …

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Cedar Key: Day 48, Florida CT Paddle 4.01.18

Dear Reader, I’m in heaven! Which is very appropriate for Easter, and fortunately it’s No April Fools joke. The day opened with fog and then progressed from a sky colored white to one colored blue, with various permutations along the way. It was a perfect day of paddling through a navigationally-challenging but fun maze of exposed oyster bars and mangrove islands filled with bird life: Oystercatchers, egrets, great blue herons, pelicans, cormorants and osprey, as well as flocks of sandpipers and shorebirds which we couldn’t approach close enough to identify. The tide was low, exposing both crab traps and scattered …

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