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.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Paddle Day 80: Today's Moral: Don't Give Up!

Coasting along at 3 knots!
Nice day with the current with me, until... against me so strong!  I lost faith in my navigational skills and was about to bail.  I had thought this area would have very strong favorable currents at this hour!Nice start to the day, up a little creek, with help from Wanda and Randy.
Up a creek.  With a paddle.  Good day!
It's tough figuring out the currents through the ICW, and they are especially strong in the Wilmington - Cape Fear area, so I had spent a lot of effort figuring out the best timing for the day's paddle.  It started out great with the favorable currents I expected.

I hear about sailers going down the ICW and meeting the same sailors again and again all the way down, as they leap frog each other.  Not so easy for a kayaker.  I have seen no other kayakers on the ICW, except for ones coming out to meet me.  But today I did leap frog two sail boats!

About to be passed by a young couple from Quebec
A couple from Quebec passed me, but then they had to wait for a bridge to open and I passed them.  About an hour later they passed me again.  The day before I had passed a lovely old wooden boat while it was docked, and today it passed me.  I think this will be the end of my leap frogging with these sailboats.
Passed by a lovely old wooden boat 
There were pleasant spoil islands with a few trees and bushes.  They would be perfect for camping, but I am enjoying being spoiled by having folks put me up every night.
Ideal campsite
I was making such good time with the currents behind me that I stopped to do a little Christmas shopping for the grandchildren.
Out to pick up some Christmas gifts
On a little beach I picked up some shells and sea glass for the new collections the grandchildren have started.

Back on the water I was beginning to get worried, as the currents were being too positive for too long.  I knew I had to go through a tidal current change.  But I was rapidly approaching the section with the very strong currents.  My NOAA tables had said I should expect favorable and strong currents in Myrtle Grove Sound.  But once I reached the Sound, the currents were increasing, but against me!  That made more sense from looking at the charts, but made no sense based on the tidal current tables.  Could I have gotten the ebb and flow timings backwards?  If so I would have to paddle against currents that were stronger than my normal flat water speed.  Impossible to paddle!

As the current kept getting stronger, I gave it all I had, but knew I couldn't keep up the pace.  Soon I would have to pull over and stop.  I made sure I was on the side of the sound with road access so I could get picked up when I stopped.  How could I have made such a bad navigational error?  I lost confidence in my skills and was completely discouraged, as well as rapidly approaching exhaustion.

Then I noticed I was nearing an inlet that poured into the middle of Myrtle Grove Sound.   Oh!  That's the explanation!  The tidal current chart was for the part of the sound below the inlet!  In just a few more minutes I was past the inlet and the currents rapidly started going strongly with me.  It was such fun just relaxing and letting the currents sweep me along to the Carolina Beach State Park Marinia.  It was even better having my navigational confidence restored!

At the marina a guy came up to me and asked how my trip to Guatemala was going.  He had read about me on The Shipping News from Oriental.  I was so glad to see Chuck and have him help me carry up my kayak and even give me a short ride to my hosts home!  Chuck even had local kayaking experts call me to check out my route for the next day of paddling.  Thank you Chuck!
Surprise of help from Chuck Amos!
Now for a rest day and a dinner party with friends of Randy and Susan, so I can share the Safe Passage story with more folks.  It's been wonderful staying here and talking university politics and fundraising!  Susan took me to the clinic today to get my ear ache treated, and then we went for a walk near where I'll be paddling tomorrow.  Great to check out the feared Cape Fear River.
Susan, Deb and Randy
Dinner party crowd
Paddle Day: 80
Date: Dec 18, 2014
Start: Wilmington, NC                                          
End: Carolina Beach, NC
Distance: 19.4 miles                                                   
Paddle, hike, bike distance: 1130.8 miles
Motor portaged: 264 miles
Total distance: 1394.8miles
Max speed:  6.4 mph                                               
Moving ave.: 3.8 mph
Kayak storage: Carolina Beach State Park                       
Hosts: Randy Gilliland and Susan Sinclair

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