Layover #2 Butler Island: Day 45, Florida CT Paddle 3.29.18

Dear Reader, Last night the winds stayed down, as if they had better things to do than flap at our tent fly, but by 2 a.m. they’d returned. And by 6 a.m., when it is still pitch black in Florida and you’d think it was still the dead of night but for the clock on your phone and the hunger in your belly, the winds were at full force and John scrambled out of the tents with the stakes, guying out the rain fly’s corners to prevent damage to our tent. We weren’t going anywhere today. That we knew from …

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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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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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Fog Island, St. Mark’s: Day 31, Florida CT Paddle 3.15.18

Dear Reader, This mid-March morning it was colder at our Florida campsite (near Panacea) than in Seattle or the two Colorado towns where we used to live or the one where our grown son lives. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, where we live when we’re not paddling or camper camping, seems to have the best temps of them all! This is what I slept in: 2 pairs of socks, underwear, long stretch pants, fleece tank top, paddling rash guard shirt, sweatshirt with hood, fleece hat, two sleeping bag liners (I gave up my pillow) and my summer-weight sleeping bag. Oh, …

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Mashes Sands County Park: Day 30, Florida CT Paddle 3.14.18

Dear Reader, We awoke to another cold, dark morning. Since John and I recently crossed into Eastern Standard Time and more recently switched over to Daylight Savings Time, our internal clocks are about two hours off. Since when is sunrise supposed to be at the ungodly late hour of 7:48 am? And with temps then still hovering in the 30s, how is anyone in a tent supposed to get up at a decent hour? We feel like shameful, freezing sloths before our eyelids even fully open. Not inspiring by any means. John dutifully lit our stove out on the picnic …

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Carrabelle Point: Day 23, Florida CT Paddle 3.07.18

Dear Reader, There’s so much to share today. Mostly because last night I published my post before we had a beer and ate at The Hole in the Wall, which was a stumbled-upon hoot! The bar’s owner (left) and the waitress were improvising their own equivalent of a comedy routine, (although I doubt they’d call it that!) and had John and I smiling from ear to ear in disbelief. That hour or so spent in that bar has been a highlight of our trip. We laughed and felt no pain. When you stay at the Appalachicola River Inn, which we …

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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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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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