Layover Butler Island: Day 44, Florida CT Paddle 3.28.18

Dear Reader, Last night the marine weather forecasted another day like yesterday – windy in the morning and lightening up in the afternoon. And so we are going to try a new strategy for us. We are going to spend the morning and early afternoon in camp and then launch when the winds are calming. In the Pacific Northwest, where most of our paddling has occurred (John and his friend Bruce were the first to thru-paddle the Inside Passage from Skagway, Alaska to Olympia, Washington in the early 1980s, we met sea kayaking on Barkley Sound on Vancouver Island a …

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Butler Island: Day 43, Florida CT Paddle 3.27.18

Dear Reader, Today was a grueling paddle! Ten nautical miles of paddling straight into a 20-25 knot wind, with gusts that practically stopped us. And two miles paddling in less wind. For a total of 12.37 nautical miles of paddling today. Imagine swimming the crawl stroke in one of those tiny wave pools. And not being able to stop. For fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. Thirty. And then you can take a break. For five minutes. And then you start again. And keep at it for six hours. When we’d come to a headland of grass, we could tuck into the …

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Layover Sink Creek: Day 42, Florida CT Paddle 3.26.18

Dear Reader, Yes, you read that right. Another layover day. Again we’ve been laid low by the wind, and a cold one at that. Last night’s marine weather forecast had a small craft advisory for today. And Miss Pink and Baby Blue are nothing if not small, with their not-quite 16′ length and their skinny little waists. So today we slept in. Under gnarled trees. And beside others that have lost all but their core. Except to cook, eat and do dishes, we’ve stayed huddled in the tent reading. We hang our food bags in trees if we can, during …

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Sink Creek: Day 41, Florida CT Paddle 3.25.18

Dear Reader, This morning we had a grand sendoff by the local pelicans at the Good Times Motel in Steinhatchee, and then were escorted by motorboat wake out the river and onto the gulf. Gone was the flat, clear water of two days ago. Instead, our 9 nautical mile paddle to Sink Creek was in a headwind and light chop. The tide was high so our only concern with getting grounded was as we made our way between grass mounds. And it was pretty deep around their edges as well. For a pee break, I just paddled straight into some …

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Layover Steinhatchee: Day 40, Florida CT Paddle 3.24.18

Dear Reader, Last night we had a special treat. Fifteen days ago, a twenty-three year old Marine named Esteban Blyar began solo paddling the Florida CT at the Florida Alabama border. He has a facebook page called Kayaking Around Florida, which we started following. He is blitzing his way away Florida, with the goal of beating the current record of completing the trip in 60 days. We’ve been looking over our shoulders for days, expecting him to pass us with a huge rooster tail blasting off his stern. We wanted to make sure we weren’t blocking his way. Last night …

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Steinhatchee: Day 39, Florida CT Paddle 3.23.18

Dear Reader, Today was a perfect day of paddling, and my favorite so far on this trip. It had all the perfect ingredients: Flat seas Blue skies 66 degrees Variety Underwater views No pain Anticipated destination Sense of accomplishment New things to think about We pulled into Steinhatchee after paddling 13.9 nautical miles today from Sponge Point, with only one quick jump out of the boat in the shallows to take a pee. The sea was so incredibly calm and clear, you could see right through its surface to the grasses and sands below. We saw fish and a turtle. …

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Sponge Point: Day 38, Florida CT Paddle 3.22.18

Dear Reader, This morning we said goodbye to Spring Warrior Fish Camp, our home and respite from the storm for the past four nights. What a friendly and quiet and chill place to be. We packed our 5 Ikea bags’ worth of gear and stuffed dry bags, along with our assorted food and water bags into our kayaks, much to the amazement of onlookers, and said goodbye to Kevin and a fellow guest/fisherman from Michigan. It was a cold morning and the breeze was biting as we headed out the river channel into the gulf. We wound our way around …

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Storm Layover, Spring Warrior Fish Camp: Day 37, Florida CT Paddle 3.21.18

Dear Reader, Today was as lazy as a day can be. The wind blew such that John couldn’t use his stove, so we ate what we could using the microwave this morning, and thank God for the coffee maker. Of note: Sea to Summit bowls are not, repeat NOT, microwave safe. Yes, our bowl now is as bubbled as parts of my skin. Sigh. We did use the barbecue downstairs for our dinner though, with leftovers to eat on the (hopefully) trail tomorrow. I initially couldn’t imagine what I’d be doing by day three in a motel room during a …

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Storm Layover, Spring Warrior Fish Camp: Day 35 & 36, Florida CT Paddle 3.19-20.18

Dear Reader, We are in Florida’s remote Big Bend, where the panhandle ends and the mainland heads south (blue and white dot). The smaller blue pin shows where we started and the red pin shows our intended destination for this season. I like looking at this map. It makes me feel like we’re making progress, no matter how slowly. And it makes me feel less frustrated about being held up again due to weather. We arrived here at Spring Warrior Fish Camp and Motel on Sunday after paddling our second-longest day yet in order to get here before the storm. …

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Spring Warrior Fish Camp: Day 34, Florida CT Paddle 3.18.18

Dear Reader, This morning we awoke to the buzz of mosquitoes in our thicket and quickly broke camp, slipping into the calm mist of the river, beaten only by one fishing boat. Water like glass. Sky like calm water. Sixteen and a half nautical miles of glorious paddling through the white of fog was our reward. We paddled all morning by compass to the charted mound of Rock Island. I love paddling in the flat and silence of fog. Tilting the rudderless Miss Pink starboard, the compass heading nudged east, and tilting port it would nudge west. Thus we kept …

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