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.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Paddle Day 62: Big Ships, Navy Police and the End of the Chesapeake Bay!

Navy Police herding kayakers out into the shipping channel.  Yikes!
Finished up Chesapeake Bay by crossing Hampton Roads, joined by four local kayaking experts, and herded by the Navy Police out into the path of large ships in the shipping lanes.

George, Fred, Deb, Al and Jose about to leave Malo Beach
Had a great group to kayak with, and a huge crowd to see us off in the morning.  It was George's third day paddling with me, and he was in yet another boat!   Jose, Al and Fred joined us as well making a very congenial group.

Deb's elegant seat first kayak entry technique!
Despite the dire warnings about how this day's paddle would be the most challenging of the whole trip, it turned out to be a gentle walk in the park.  The wind was low and the currents, while not with us, were not strong.  

Saw my first marine mammals of the entire expedition: romping dolphins!

Al showing me General's Row at the Monroe 
We passed Fort Monroe, which was until recently the longest operating military establishment in the US.  During the Civil War Fort Monroe was in Union hands.  It became a symbol of freedom, as slaves who fled there were not returned to their owners on the grounds that they were "contraband".  Jefferson Davis was imprisoned there at the end of the war.  We passed the gracious southern mansions where the generals stayed.

After crossing the James River and entering the Elizabeth River, we passed miles of aircraft carriers and other warships.  Had another encounter with the Navy Police, who wanted us to move out into the shipping lane!  Okay, but do they realize there are very big ships in the shipping lane?  Guess not, as they herded us out alongside a huge container ship! 

Finally I am out of the Chesapeake Bay and almost into the Intracoastal Waterway!    Another major milestone in another six miles.

My big surprise when we arrived at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club was seeing Salli O'Donnell, an extreme kayak racer that I had heard of, but never met.  In fact, Salli (a.k.a. Deadcat) was the one who last March finally bested my Class 2 record for the Water Tribe Everglades Challenge, kayak race which had stood for eight years!   Salli agreed to paddle with me sometime during this expedition.  Yeah!

The marine weather forecast looks grime.  Small Craft Advisory for at least two days.  I've learned that just because I'm on the "inside" doesn't mean I can ignore such forecasts.  But if I don't paddle the route tomorrow, I'll have to skip the section, which I really don't want to do.  So I'll start at sunrise with the tide and the wind against me, but with the lightest winds of the day.  Hopefully I can make it.  My host Ann has shown me a marina near her office that could be a bail out point if the winds and tides turn out to be too much.  Stay tuned to see what happens!

Paddle Day: 62                                                        Date: Nov 16, 2014
Start: Malo Beach                                                    End: Norfolk
Distance: 12.2 miles                                                Total distance: 844.6 miles
Max speed:  5.2 mph                                                Moving ave.: 3.1 mph
Kayak storage:  Norfolk Yacht and Country Club        Host: Ann Sullivan and Steve Burgess

1 comment:

  1. Good luck , Deb. Jon and I wish we could be there. You are missing the first snows of the season and raking leaves. Keep pressing on, good luck, and we wish you well. xoxox