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, September 19, 2015

Celebrating the end of an Expedition (Tom's!)

Tom Tieman nears the end of his expedition along the coast of Maine
I was honored to be part of the last leg of Tom Tieman's expedition paddling the entire coast of Maine.  Kayak camping with my kayaking group was a great way to get back into shape, but being part of the celebration of Tom's expedition was priceless!Ton Tieman quit his job, moved out of his house and dedicated his time to kayaking for a cause,  He wanted to raise awareness and funds for brain cancer research, and chose kayaking the coast of Maine as his expedition (https://www.facebook.com/ttieman).   There's no Intracoastal Waterway in Maine, so that meant paddling out around rough headlands, and by long sections of rocky coast, with few possible landing sites.  He dealt with fog and wind and rain, and has written an exciting journal describing the trip.  Several times my friend Karen Wilcox kayaked, camped and hiked with Tom.  Just like in my expedition, there were times when the waves and wind didn't allow him to safely paddle a section.  So he skipped those sections.  But over the next few years, Tom went back and paddled all of the missing sections - except for one.  He had about seven miles from Cutler to Cross Island left to do.

Over Labor Day weekend, Tom invited my kayaking buddies to join him to paddle this last short section.  I hadn't paddled with the group for over a year, so it was fun catching up.

Anne Perron, Angela Foss, and Karen Wilcox, about to explore a sea cave
Karen Wilcox and Anne Perron are my closest kayaking friends.  They have taught me so much!  Anne is the expert at making twig stoves out of tin cans.  I just built a gasifer double wall twig stove to take for the the Caribbean leg of my expedition (http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/build-ultra-efficient-diy-wood-gasifier-backpacking.html).  (It's hard to fly with a gas  or alcohol camp stove, and to find fuel in Central America, so a twig stove is a great solution.)  Karen first introduced me to using a stirrup for rescue, and that's part of my safety kit now.  Tom helps me to make my stroke more efficient.  More torso rotation!  Karen and Jon shared stores of their recent trip hiking in Iceland.  Need to add that to my To Do list.

Jon hiking back from exploring another sea cave by land
We camped two nights on Cross Island at the site of an old Coast Guard station.  We set up our tents in the field by the large house that is still there.  We had Champagne to celebrate the end of Tom's expedition, and enjoyed reading his journal, sitting on the rustic Outward Bound furniture in front of the house.

Karen, Deb and Tom discussing Tom's journal
Jon captured the sunset reflected in a window.
We made several hikes on Cross Island, crawling over and under blowdowns along trails that haven't been maintained in a while.  We climbed to the lookout tower, and reached the top of the tower first, as it had blown off the tower and was resting part-way down the hill.  We circumnavigated the island by kayak, stopping along the way to explore more sites.

We always find heart shaped rocks, but this one was red!
On our paddle back to Cutler was the kayaking highlight of the trip.  The winds were up and a small craft advisory was in effect.  We waited until the tide shifted before departing, as we didn't want the extra big waves you get when the wind blows against the strong currents.  And the currents are strong in this Bold Coast area of Maine, where the tidal range is 18 to 22 feet.  We set out into the growing currents (about three knots) with a following sea.  As we passed the rocky cliffs, the waves were five feet.   It was fun paddling along in parallel, constantly correcting our course as the waves lifted us up, twisted us around and then lowered us into the troughs.  In a trough you couldn't see anyone else, and had to wait till up on a peak to make sure we were close enough together for rescue in case someone flipped, but far enough apart not to surf into each other.  I had a video camera on my deck to catch all the action.  It would have been really, really nice if I had remembered to turn it on!

When I got home, I rinsed all of my electronics in fresh water, to get rid of the salt water.  The next day as I unpacked the dry box with the cables and power blocks I use for recharging when camping, I noticed the screw cap from the RePlayXD Mini video camera.  Oh dear!  Not only did I forget to turn on the video camera, I forgot to make it waterproof with it's o-ring and screw-on lid!  In a panic I found the camera and placed it in a bag of rice hoping it might dry out.  Amazingly, the next day the camera worked fine!  Now that is one little rugged video camera!

My kayaking friends mean so much to me.  We have shared years of kayaking adventures.  Karen and Anne even went to Guatemala with me to help out at Safe Passage.  Karen involved the students from her school.  I went and talked with them about Safe Passage before we left.  Karen sent them updates everyday so they could learn bout what it's like for students their age to live in a garbage dump community in Guatemala and become the first in their families to attend school.  We could tell how engaged the children were from the great questions they were asking.  They raised money for the children in Guatemala.  You never know how sharing the story of Safe Passage is going to affect others, and how that helps the children at Safe Passage.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Deb. We were on Cross I. last week and found an electronic device at the landing. Anyone in your group lose something?