Layover Appalachicola: Day 22, Florida CT Paddle 3.06.18

Dear Reader, This morning we awoke to a forecast of a south wind with gusts up to 25 mph, 80% chance of rain and some thunderstorms. We had a 20 nm stretch to paddle with a seven-mile crossing. Winds out of the south would hammer us. At 5:00 am John told me to go back asleep. I was happy to oblige. But first I had to photograph the sunrise. And yes, that is another bridge, as seen from our hotel room at The Apalachicola River Inn. Even with our recent layover day at Spoil Bank 2, we were still tired …

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Appalachicola: Day 21, Florida CT Paddle 3.05.18

Dear Reader, Last night the sky was spectacular! Out along the spoil banks, far from Panama City and heading into the deeper wilds of the northeastern panhandle, we were finally away from light pollution. And noise pollution. No drone of traffic in the background. No roar of military aircraft. Sure we were camped by a high energy power line but that was the only opening in the bush large enough for us to get off the water and camp. A pack of coyotes yipped and yapped and howled at the stars just as I too marveled. It was a cold …

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Layover Spoil Bank 2: Day 20, Florida CT Paddle 3.04.18

Dear Reader, It is totally my fault that we didn’t paddle today. And I didn’t know that it was going to happen until 3:00 am this morning when I woke up shivering. Anticipating a cold morning like the one before, I’d gone to bed dressed in my fleece sweater over my usual sleep-attire tank top and in my stretch pants over my undies. And I’d put on my thin cotton socks. Which is more than I wore the night before. But it wasn’t enough. So I added long underwear bottoms, a pair of wool socks, another fleece top, a fleece …

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Spoil Bank 2: Day 19 Florida CT Paddle 3.03.18

Dear Reader, Last night we had Zero internet at our camp in the ditch. Then this morning at 5:00 am we had three bars! How odd! How does that even happen? But we were happy and since the temperature was a cold 46 degree we made it a two-cup of coffee morning in bed while we surfed the net. We got on the water at 10 am by which time it had warmed to a cool 67. And tonight we are still in the Ditch. We paddled 12.5 nm, from descriptively-accurate Spoil Bank 1 to Spoil Bank 2, entirely in …

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Piney Point: Day 17 Florida CT Paddle 3.01.18

Dear Reader, This morning we woke early after another night of pissing in a cup in the tent to avoid the swarm of mosquitoes plastered to the underside of our tent’s rain fly. By 7:45 we were on the water, hoping to beat the worst of the day’s predicted high winds with gusts as high as 30 mph. Our goal was just to reach our intended camp for last night, Piney Point, six nautical miles away if we paddled in a straight line. But in wind and around landforms you seldom paddle in a straight line. The wind, for a …

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Ferry Point: Day 16 Florida CT Paddle 2.28.18

Dear Reader, This morning we were on a lovely boat, drinking coffee under a comforter in front of a fireplace. Now we are under a rain tarp, eating cold fried chicken leftover from our grocery store run yesterday and drinking hot tea. I will have you know I’m wearing my down jacket and yes, we are still in Florida. We are also camped shy of our original destination, Piney Point, by around 6 nm. As it was, we paddled 10 nm today in probably the hardest, and consistently hardest, conditions yet on this trip. The wind picked up as soon …

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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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