Layover Day, Spoil Island: Day 7 CT Paddle 2.19.18

Dear Reader, Yesterday we began Segment 2 of The Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail when left the Navarre Waterfront Best Western, just west of the too-pricey Navarre Campground shown on this map, far left. Arriving at the Spoil Island primitive camp exhausted, we decided to stick to our plan of making today a layover rest day. The day broke windy and overcast and remained so most of the day, which was great for this layover day. The wind meant no bugs. The overcast meant no desperate searching for shade. And both meant none of the beach-loving crowds that were so …

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Spoil Island near Fort Walton: Day 6 CT Paddle 2.18.18

Dear Reader, Tonight I’m exhausted and cranky. Maybe it’s because we’ve paddled 37 nautical miles in the last three days, since our layover day. Maybe it’s because today’s 11.4 nm paddle was in a fully loaded boat, after shopping at Winn-Dixie this morning, and it was mostly against the current. It could be that I stayed up late last night, fielding birthday phone calls and FB messages, and a Whatsapp business meeting with our Nicaraguan property manager. Hotels and electricity. You’d think last night’s comfort would’ve been relaxing. We awoke to an absolutely flat sea and paddled back across Santa …

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Navarre Waterfront Best Western: Day 5 CT Paddle 2.17.18

Today’s my birthday: Sixty-two spins around the sun! What better place to be than on a grand adventure? It started with fog and sweat and a head net to ward off no see ums. And ends with me sitting in a wooden Adirondack chair along the seawall overlooking Santa Rosa Sound with country music and tiki torches in the background. Our clothes are washed. The tent fly, which is saturated every morning in dew and was packed wet this morning, is dry. My hair’s washed and we’re both well fed, with leftover tacos for lunch tomorrow while on the trail. …

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Big Sabine Point Camp: Day 4 CT Paddle 2.16.18

We woke to dense fog at 6 am. Not the best conditions to cut across the intracoastal waterway at the entrance to Pensacola Bay but fortunately it burned off as soon as we got on the water and came upon a large barge threading its way through a pinch spot. A huge flock of gulls, mixed in with pelicans, rose as one and screamed overhead. A small school of porpoise raised their fins, dove, surfaced, dove, as John and I crossed from green buoy to red buoy which marked the outer points of the deep, central channel and worked our …

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Layover Day Perdido Key Camp: Day 3 CT Paddle 2.15.18

Yeah, I know, it seems kind of early in the trip to be taking a layover day (meaning we don’t break camp and move on). But we have 80-some days to get to Key West and we want to be smart about our bodies and work into the long-distance paddling gradually. Tomorrow’s stretch is 15 nm (nautical miles) to the next camp. That’s going to be a long day for us so we wanted to be rested up. So what do we do all day in camp, on a strip of sand between the ocean and a lagoon? Right off …

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Now officially on the CT Trail! Day 2 CT Paddle 2.14.18

Second day paddling (8.5 nm yesterday) but first day officially paddling on Florida’s Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail! Woohoo! We woke to wind, fog and drizzle at Big Lagoon State Park where we camped at their CT kayak camp spot with neighboring flush toilets and sinks (read: water source). It was a sharp contrast to yesterday’s gorgeous weather and night sky. But oh well, here we go! At some point Florida will surely start living up to its name as the Sunshine State. Today’s destination was to a primitive campsite on Perdido Key, just a 4 nm (nautical mile) paddle. It …

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We Start our Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddle: Day 1, Perdido Pass, AL to Big Lagoon State Park FL 2.13.18

Hooray! We’ve begun! What a gorgeous day to start our three-month sea kayaking paddle to Key West, Florida, along the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. My 90-year-old dad and his wife Sara launched us this morning near their beachfront condo in Orange Beach, Alabama. So we paddled 8.5 nautical miles (nm) today to get us to the starting point, technically, of the trail at Big Lagoon State Park, FL. Two months ago today we left our home in Nicaragua. Our son Cliff graduated from college in Colorado and then we had a family reunion over the holidays in Orange Beach. …

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Final Florida CT Paddle Trip Preparations

Tuesday, February 13 is our launch day. We’re launching from right behind my dad’s beach-side vacation condo in Orange Beach, Alabama and paddling 7 nautical miles to Big Lagoon State Park, Florida, which is the official start of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. We’d planned to start a few days ago but the weather forecast looked crappy and sure enough it’s been rain, wind, and lightning all weekend. Tuesday morning looks like the start of some better weather. Dang I just looked at the current forecast (see photo below). We’ll keep our fingers crossed for Tuesday!We’ve spent the week …

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Day 5 Final Reconnaissance of CT

Day 5 Final Reconnaissance. We made it back to my dad’s and Sara’s beach condo in time for the Super Bowl game yesterday. But first the day started with rain and wind and fog and cold at camp. We lowered our pop top and got back at it: John behind the wheel of our truck/camper and me at command central in the passenger seat with three mini computers (aka 2 iphones and 1 ipad mini), a road atlas, guide book and maps. Having a choice to make as to whether we paddle the outer coast or the intracoastal waterway in …

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Day 4 Reconnaissance of our upcoming Florida CT Paddle

Day 4 Reconnaissance of our upcoming Florida CT (Circumnavigational Trail) paddling trip. With only one day more of reconnaissance left to go before we arrive at my Dad and Sara’s condo on the Alabama coast (aka Our Staging Ground), today started with a shopping spree at Tallahassee’s Costco and neighboring Super Walmart for some hard-to-find grocery items (Via coffees, Coffee mate 2Go, packaged chicken, flavored tuna packages, instant green teas and Arny Palmer’s) which we’ll include in the boxes my Dad and Sara will be shipping to 5 post offices c/o General Delivery for us along the route.   Then, …

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