I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Paddle Day 44: Beaten to a pulp by the winds and currents and arrive to media and super long distance paddling host

There were many times this day I was ready to give up.
If there had been a dock or even a road in sight, I would have pulled ashore and crawled out of my kayak and kissed the ground. 

I had started early with help from Carol and Clair.
Kayak, Deb and Claire on Joe's dock
Learned a new technique for getting into the kayak.
Claire helps Deb launch over Joe's boat.

Good thing I started early, as I got delayed because I used my NOAA charts and the charts in my GPS.  I should have realized that they were showing the pre-Sandy channels.  I had plotted my new route the night before using the Delorme Explore, which showed the post Sandy channel.  But I hadn't entered the route into my inReach Explorer.  I entered the creek that used to be the start of the little channel Claire had told me about and paddled way too far up several side branches to dead ends before I realized there must be a new channel.

Deb finally decides to turn around - persistence not always good!
I finally got to the correct channel, only to realize... of course the current was against me.  My old skills from canoeing tiny streams in Algonguin came in handy as I used the eddy behind each inside bend to work my way upstream.  I was so looking forward to getting to the other end.

At the end of the channel I was not happy to get there.  I faced a head wind and waves as I needed to cross a four mile bay.  I was so tempted to hug the shore instead, but I learned that lesson the day before.  Using the chart I picked out a spot to shoot for, and slogged across.  This was much worse than the little channel.  I was so looking forward to make it across the bay!

I finally made it across, only to realize... what looked like a little protected stream on the charts was wide open marsh land with the nothing to stop the howling winds.  Much worse than crossing the bay, as I had the current against me as well as the head wind.  I was already exhausted, and I was less than half way to my destination of Atlantic City.  But who should show up but Clair and His wife Kay in their motor boat to check on me.  I was so tired I suggested the ridiculous - him giving me a tow.  We tried, I almost got rolled over, of course.  I was ready to quite, so I asked Claire if there were any roads nearby that I could land on, as I hadn't seen any on my charts.  No deal.  Then Claire went ahead and checked the route and came back to report.  The moral support was great as he and Kay speed back home.

Back on my own, I knew the only option was to just dig a little deeper and slog on.  Forget the pain, forget the exhaustion, just drink and paddle.

Then a power boat took a blind corner very sharply.  Fortunately I was paddling outside the channel where the current was weaker, but their wake was huge and broke in the shallow water and side surfed me and almost grounded me.  Oh how I wished I would get to the section where the currents would be with me.

Then when the currents were swiftest and with me, the wind against them created large standing waves.  It's a can't win day!  I had to dig deeper and deeper to make it to Atlantic City.  I thought of Mirna, one of the Safe Passage mothers who has so inspired me with her paraphrased quote from Goethe, "If you believe you can do it, you can do it."  But, Mirna, I was on the verge of not believing I could do it.  Fortunately there was no alternative, but to keep going.  I looked down at my OMMFG! sticker and just kept going, thinking of Joe Glickman and his positive attitude.  (One More Mile For Glicker!)

I have never been more tired than when I finally landed in Atlantic City.   The press were there to great me, and Margo Pellerino, a hero of mine!  Margo has done many solo long distance paddling expeditions, all to raise awareness for rivers, bays and oceans. (miami2maine.com)

Margo Pellegrino on her outrigger
It was so great talking with Margo about how best to do these long expeditions for a cause.  You have to have a schedule if you are doing it for a cause, she said, but the only way to do that is to have a chase vehicle that carries your gear and makes your arrangements on land.  Oh how envious I am!  Anyone want to volunteer to be a chase person for me for a while?  I'll supply the vehicle!

Did I say something before about how I would miss the excitement of the Atlantic Ocean taking the tame inland route?  I was so so wrong.  I kept wishing I had been on the outside.  Until of course I went and had a look at the outside after landing.
Inside or outside:  a can't win day!
Paddle Day: 44                                                         Date: October 6, 2014
Start:  Tuckerton                                                      End: Atlantic City
Distance: 19.7 miles                                                 Total distance: 575.8 miles
Max speed:  5.3 mph                                                 Moving ave.: 2.8 mph
Kayak storage:  Farley's Marina                                  Host: Margo Pellegrino

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