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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Adventures of Patito Amistoso: Chapter Six

At the "The Rocks" in Florida
Dear children of Guatemala and everywhere else,

It's been way too long since I picked up my quill and wrote a blog.  It has been so hard to be away from the water for so long.  So let me tell you the story about why Deb and I are not kayaking these days.  We did finally get out on the water in a pontoon boat and saw a garbage dump from thousands of years ago!  I'll tell you about that too!

Jacksonville Again: Water Projects in Guatemala and Planning the Return by Kayak

Telling Etivina's story at the Zoo (North Jacksonville Rotary)
Fourth trip to Jacksonville post surgery!  The Rotarians just keep arranging speaking engagements for me.  While my presentations are about Safe Passage, we ended up also talking about Rotary water and sanitation projects in the highlands of Guatemala, comparing the ones I've lead with the projects they have done.  At the same time we are planning the speaking engagements for when I return to Jacksonville by kayak.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Getting ready to Sail to Guatemala

SV Polaris - my ride to Guatemala
Switching gears from rehabilitation to preparing for the sailing portion of the expedition.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Amelia Island: Landfill Art and Kayaking Disaster

Chris taking photograpghs at Ferandina Beach Rotary Meeting
When speaking at Rotary meetings, learned of interesting landfill art.  Visited the spot of one my worst kayak disasters from years past.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jacksonville: Sharing the Safe Passage Story: Today and Yesterday

Deb on the First Coast Living TV show in Jacksonville
Safe Passage supporter, Pat Ellis, did an amazing job of organizing publicity and presentations in Jacksonville.  A great extra was speaking to the East Arlington Rotary Club.   I felt I was back in Guatemala when Pat shared lots of photos from Safe Passage from over the years.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Port Orange: Great Support for Safe Passage and PT Challenges

Deb speaking at the Port Orange United Church of Christ
Great hospitality and generosity from Port Orange, Florida!   But tough going with the rehabilitation - who knew it was so much work holding up a head!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Getting my Kayaking Fix by Watching Other Expeditions

Now that I'm not kayaking, I have to get my kicks by following some other kayaking events: circumnavigating South America, kayaking UP the Mississippi, and the Everglades Challenge.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Seven Weeks Post Surgery: Port Orange and Good News on my Surgery

Jim, Deb and Louise with the kayak
Arrived in Palm Coast for physical therapy and received great news! We are being hosted by the twin brother of a Rotarian who hosted us in Connecticut.

Six Weeks Post Surgery: Palm Coast and Jacksonville Rotary Hospitality

Chris and Joey on the day of the official start of Turning Points Kayaks
Traveled down and up and down the coast of NE Florida, meeting Rotarians and seeing Joey Schott, who redesigned and rebuilt my expedition kayak.  Joey now has opened a new business building kayaks (Turning Point Kayaks).  I can't wait to try out his carbon fiber Petrel!

Monday, March 9, 2015

1,000 Mile, $1,000 Paddle Challenge for Safe Passage

Dr. Deb Walters was kayaking alone from Maine to Guatemala to help raise awareness and funds for the Safe Passage school for the children living in the huge Guatemala City garbage dump community.  After 10 months and over 1,500 miles, she had to stop for emergency spinal surgery.  She will be unable to kayak again for many months.  Now she and her rubber ducky mascot are continuing the speaking tour along the coast by car.  Local paddlers have volunteered to kayak and canoe to help her reach her fundraising goal help the children.

How can you help?
Grab a paddle and your favorite mascot (rubber ducky, garden gnome, whatever) and paddle your favorite waterway during March or April.  Have friends and family sponsor you with a tax deductible donation of at least a dollar for every mile you paddle. Use this website for donations: Safe Passage First Giving.

Not a paddler?
Sponsor someone who is or just make a donation towards this $1,000 challenge!

Paddle.  Photo.  Publish!
Donate by April 30th to be entered to win prizes donated by outfitters.  The paddlers or clubs that the collect the most funds will win.  Post a photo or your paddling trip on the Facebook timeline: Kayak For Safe Passage Kids   Please note where your photo was taken.

Deb, back when she could kayak!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Five Weeks Post Surgery: Back to Savannah, Recalling Arctic Misadventure and First Expedition Alligator

Arctic canoeing with Dave in my canoe - complete with homemade full cover.
Diving out of the snowy northeast, we were lucky not to encounter any white or icy roads.  Along the way we visited family and friends in my hometown, Waynesboro, Va. and talked with a friend who had the same surgery as I did, but four months earlier.  In Savannah we stayed with long time paddling friends and relived our arctic misadventure from twenty years ago that we call "The Incident."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Four Weeks Post Surgery: Cold and Snowy in Maine as we Resupply

Deb in front of her Maine house and gazebo
Couldn't stay away from the snow!  Chris and I made a quick trip to Maine to resupply for the upcoming speaking tour in Florida and sailing trip to Guatemala.