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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paddle Day 50: High Winds Lead to Change of Plans and Plenty of Paddling Women

Rock Hall women spring a surprise welcome!
Started out before dawn to paddle with the tide from Chesterton to Eastern Neck.

So many eagles, and heron, and vultures and cormorants were active in the predawn.

Pre dawn in Chesterton
The atmosphere reminded me of a Turner painting.  The marine forecast told me it would be a great day for paddling, but it also showed that the next three days would be small craft advisories.  For Wednesday the winds would by 20 to 25 knots with gusts to 40 and waves of 4 feet.  Did I once say how glad I was now that I'm on the inside and all will be easy?  While I already had great respect for the oceans, I know have learned great respect for the bays.  I decided not to make the same mistake a fourth time of paddling during a small craft advisory.  But that means not paddling across the Chesapeake to Annapolis.  I had been looking forward to that paddle for over a year, when I first took a photo of the crossing area.  If I was doing this expedition on my own, as I did on the Arctic and elsewhere, I would just camp out for a few days and wait for better weather.  But with hosts to meet, money to raise, speaking engagements and press events to attend, my only option is to skip sections.  One thing that made this difficult decision a little easier was reading Freya Hoffmeister's blog where this super-woman paddler decided to skip 1000 km of the coast of South America during her circumnavigation.  If Freya can skip a section, then I feel better about doing it myself.

As I headed to Eastern Neck, I would have stayed out in the current and traveled point to point to my destination.  But I had heard that some paddlers in Rock Hall were planning to surprise me by paddling out to meet me.  So instead I hugged the shore by Rock Hall.  I saw a women in shorts and a lycra top look out, see me, and then run away.  It occurred to me that if I just kept going at my usual rate, the surprise paddlers might not be able to catch me.  So I opted to pull up on a beach, make a pit stop and eat a banana.   Then I finally made my way to the breakwater at Rock Hall.   No kayakers sprang out to meet me.  Oh well, I thought, they must have decided not to join me.  But after a few minutes I started noticing little speaks along the shore up in front of me.  Kayaks!  So I paddled over and was surprised by a great group of seven women in kayaks of all sizes and shapes.  

Before we started to make paddling dash down to Eastern Neck, I let them know that I wouldn't be crossing to Annapolis the next day.  They suggested we just paddle around for fun for a bit instead.  Great idea!  Then after a few minutes, someone suggested we pull ashore and have Bloody Mary's at a friend's house.  Even better idea!  Since I can't paddle tomorrow, my time is best spent today in friend and fund raising.

Friend and fund raising while raising the Bloody Mary's
While we were enjoying the sunshine on the deck, with drinks in hand, we noticed three more women kayakers coming from the other direction.  "Laura!" I called out.  It was the women who had kayaked to meet me the day before, along with two more friends.  So of course they had to come join us for drinks.  All in all there were 12 kayakers who came to meet me that day.  The twelfth was Dan Ryan, who I finally met back at Rock Hall. 

Laura cooling off by laying backwards in the water, using Pat's bow for support.
My host, Kate Johnson, was the one who organized all of this!  I am continually amazed at how many people have helped me out along the way, and how much fun it is to meet them all!  We had a wonderful homemade dinner with Kate and Carol.  Then I spent the night at the cosy Black Duck Inn - maybe in the room that Eric Clapton stayed in when he visited.

Deb and Kate with her view of the harbor.
Dan Ryan loaded up my kayak on his Morris Mule trailer and carted me across the Bay Bridge to Annapolis the next morning.   Looking down on the bay full of large breaking waves and feeling the high winds on the bridge made me so happy not be be kayaking!

Kate, Deb and Dan with the Morris Mule.

Paddle Day: 50                                                         Date: October 21, 2014
Start:  Chesterton                                                     End: Rock Hall
Distance: 14.7 miles                                                 Total distance: 663.8 miles
Max speed:  5.2 mph                                                 Moving ave.: 3.0 mph
Kayak storage:  Dan Ryan                                          Host: Kate Johnson, Black Duck Inn 

1 comment:

  1. Now I understand why your GPS wasn't working yesterday...you weren't using it! I was trying to time my arrival with yours. Have a great few days in Annapolis and don't forget to try Mason's famous lobster rolls on Main street! (I think that's the name).