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. And get here right before the storm, we did.
We’ve got a room out of the rain.
A semi-dry area to cook in.
A charming proprietor in Kevin.
Solid ground for Miss Pink and Baby Blue.
A visiting dog.
A hammock for the five minutes without rain or too much wind.
Visiting Alabama fishermen for hotel mates.
Rural roads upon which to stretch our legs when the rain lets up.
And a view out to the distant churning sea.
We watched movies. Until the electricity went out. We did laundry. We spread our gear all over our room to let it air and dry.
I’m reading The River of Doubt, about Teddy Roosevelt’s expedition in the Amazon right after his Presidency. Unlike them, we are not surrounded by hostile cannibals. We are not threatened with starvation or loss of supplies. We are not pioneering an unmapped route. We are not witnessing the loss of life of work animals, pets or comrades.
But yes, we are out for months. Yes, we seek ground, amongst unfriendly vegetation or sea or (private property) land, to land on every day. Yes, we are battling weather, exhaustion, cold, heat, cleanliness and possibly worst of all, just like in Roosevelt’s case, biting bugs.
We have motels to stay in at least once a week. And grocery stores here and there, and post offices with our resupply boxes. And charts and maps and gps. And hi-tech camping and paddling gear.
We have internet for information and to combat isolation. We have a marine radio and a phone and a credit card, should we ever need or choose to bail. We have family less than a two-hour drive away.
Today I spoke to our insurance company on the phone, did our banking online, reviewed our son’s first purchase contract to buy his first home, read my book on my kindle which holds hundreds of books in a smaller space than any single book probably carried by Roosevelt’s expedition. And I write to you, dear reader, all but one night without internet so far, and you can read it within seconds.
I shake my head in wonder, as the wind howls outside and I scratch desperately around my bites, applying Neosporin to the open wounds and hydrocortisone to everywhere else.
We are alive.
We are healthy.
We are adventurers.