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 27, 2014

Paddle Day 82: Dying Wooden Work Boats, Vultures, and Safe Passage

Wooden fishing boat gradually sinking into the ICW
The large number of vultures made it feel like the garbage dump in Guatemala City.  The large number of dying wooden workboats, fish houses and piers made me sad for an era slipping into the past.
It was a wet, cold and rainy day.  I feel like a duck - dressed so well for this weather in my waterproof drysuit, hat and neoprene gloves.  I can't feel the rain at all.  I have to look at the water to see if it is raining!  But the weather still effects my mood.

The sights I'm noticing today along this stretch of the ICW are the sad ones.  The old piers that are crumbling and tumbling into the water.
Old sink for cleaning the fish, listing as the dock decays.
The fish houses that have closed and are falling apart, with an old wooden fishing boat listing as it slowly sinks into the muddy bottom.
Old fish house with a dying wooden workboat.
At one point at the end of a barrier island, I saw a huge "For Sale" sign, announcing a "Liquidation Sale".  Knowing that the barrier islands are actively moving as the sands shift with storms, I thought it could also be called an "Inundation Sale".

Fortunately, it is finally the winter solstice.  The days will be getting longer and longer throughout the rest of my expedition.   I'm heading south at about the same rate as winter is getting colder, so I'm expecting the same cool temperatures until about Savannah.
In one spot today I saw a large number of vultures circling overhead.  When I looked at the shore there were trees filled with vultures surveying their domain.

Vultures along the shore
This reminded me of being at the Guatemala City garbage dump where the circling vultures are ever present, and they roost in the few trees at the cemetery that overlooks the huge ravine that is gradually being filled in by the dump.  The overcast skies contributed to my reverie of Safe Passage.  I would love to be In Guatemala and hearing the happy voices of the children and see their smiling faces.  But this is the dark time of the year for them.  Safe Passage closes it's facilities for a few weeks during the long school break in Guatemala.  The children don't get their hot and healthy meals everyday.  They don't have the safety and security of playing in the gardens and playgrounds, or of being with the teachers and volunteers.  But soon Safe Passage will reopen and the children will be back.

It's time for a break for me as well.  I'll take off about 10 days to visit my grandchildren for the holidays.  But first I have to paddle to South Carolina.  On my last stop in North Carolina I was met on shore by Donna and Sue.
Sue about to haul me out of the water!
I had a wonderful visit with them in their house filled with Sue's art work, which evokes strong emotions about the sea.  Hearing Sue talk about being able to remember the particular colors of sky and sea was awe inspiring.  I'd love to attend one of her art workshops to learn more from a true painting sage.  

Their house itself was also interesting.  When Chris had googled their address to see if I could land there, he thought the arial view was showing a huge yurt.  But it's a Deltec hurricane resistant house.  When they decided they wanted to live on the water, they recalled an image of Topsail Island after a hurricane.  There were only two house standing.  All the rest in that area were gone or were just matchsticks.  The two houses that survived were circular Deltec homes.  They wisely decided that building on the shore in a hurricane area with rising sea levels meant building the most hurricane resistant house they could find, one that would last through their lifetimes.

Sue, Deb and Donna
It felt like spending time with old friends, and once again I didn't want to leave.

Paddle Day: 82
Date: Dec 21, 2014
Start: Oak Island, NC                                          
End: Shallotte, NC
Distance: 17.2 miles                                                   
Paddle, hike, bike distance: 1165.3 miles
Motor portaged: 264 miles
Total distance: 1429.3 miles
Max speed:  6.8 mph                                               
Moving ave.: 3.5 mph
Kayak storage: Sea Mist Camping Resort                      
Hosts: Donna Giles and Sue Sneddon

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