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.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Paddle Day 64: Record Cold Snap, Paddling with Dead Cat who Snatched my Record & Safe Passage Host

Kayak at the West Landing Marina
It was great having a paddling companion during this cold snap!
Dead Cat not only paddled with me, but also met me at the marina above the closed locks, and portaged my kayak to the marina below the locks.  It was a brisk 26 degrees when we met up in the morning, but warmed to a balmy 38 by the time we arrived at West Landing.

Dead Cat - fast, endurance kayaker!
We spent much of the day with our heads and hearts down in Florida, as we talked about our experience with the Water Tribe Everglades Challenge.  Great fun swapping stories about the crazy folks who participate in this endurance race for small boats, and sharing tips about light weight survival equipment.  Dead Cat had to laugh at the incredible weight of camping gear and stuff I have on this expedition!

Dressed warm for the start
I opted to not put on my warmer paddle layers under the dry suit, and it turned out to be the right decision.  For the first time, I was almost dry when I landed - not too hot and sweaty.  I think today may be the coldest paddle of the entire expedition.  But I'd better not put that in writing.   I have a bad record for making statements about how things are going to easier, and then falling flat on my face.

Marvelous hosts Debbie and Ted Grail.  Debbie and her daughter have been to Safe Passage for the mother daughter service team week.  Sounds like a wonderful experience!  I'll let Debbie tell you more in her own words.

Debbie, Deb and Ted
"I’m so honored to be Deb’s first host who has been to Safe Passage!  I visited this amazing school in 2011 as part of the Mother/Daughter Week which provides a rare glimpse into the lives of some of the families from Safe Passage.  My daughter, Caroline, and I were in awe of the work being done to improve the lives of the mothers and children there.  Safe Passage is truly a small piece of Heaven surrounded by living conditions that can only be described as Hell.

Inside the walls of Safe Passage you see smiling faces and you hear laughter and singing.  It’s hard to believe that just a few feet away on the other side of those walls, there is such extreme poverty.  To walk away from Safe Passage without being changed is impossible.  My family supports Safe Passage by sponsoring a young girl we met while visiting the school.  And now to play a small part in Deb’s incredible journey by hosting her, all the great memories of the beautiful children we met in Guatemala have come flooding back.  They are still there and still need need our help.  We wish Deb fair winds and following seas as she raises much needed funds for Safe Passage!  She is indeed a superhero!"
Debbie with her sponsor child and friends
Debbie's daughter and friend

A local kayaker noticed the photos of me with a wrist brace and called to set me up with his friendly orthopedic neighbor!  What generous people all around!

Paddle Day: 64                                                        Date: Nov 19, 2014
Start: Chesapeake                                                   End: West Landing
Distance: 10 miles                                                   Total distance: 870.3 miles
Max speed:  4.9 mph                                               Moving ave.: 3.6 mph
Kayak storage:  West Landing Marina                       Hosts: Debbie and Ted Grell
Kayak Launch: Atlantic Yacht Basin

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