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, October 31, 2015

Paddle Day 17: Made it to Florida!

Two reporters and Art and Theresa at arrival
Last minute route change added six miles, but made the day much easier.  Like coming home staying with the Schusters!

Friday, October 30, 2015

The tides are not cooperating: I don't want to paddle at night

Demonstrating the Greenland paddle to the press
Plans change with the tides and the wind, and great people help me out.

Paddle Day 16: High High Tides and Deep Deep Conversation

Fort Frederica with soggy cannons 
Wet and windy day with strong currents.  Record high tide flooding they say.

Paddle Day 15: Going with the flow is great. Against it not so much.

Spanish moss of dead tree
Moment of terror in Darien.  Moment of terror on the Hampton River.  Yikes!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Paddle Day 14: Long day in the marshes, followed by southern hospitality

Sunrise on the marsh (credit Bill Watson)
After an amazing sunrise, I spent a long day on the water, zigzagging along little creeks.  Then exceptional southern hospitality at church and home.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Paddle Day 13: Disaster Averted, Crab Balls and Jelly Balls

Shrimp boats and paddling a skiff
Touch and go to avert disaster, then clear sailing to coastal culture.

Paddle Day 12: Windy Trip to an Island Paradise

Up close and personal
After four days not paddling, it was good to get back on the water, but the wind beat me up, and I landed tired and hurting.  Meeting my hosts who took me by boat to their island paradise revived me!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Adventures of Patito Amistoso: Chapter Seven

See with Sandy!
Dear Children in Guatemala and around the world,

It's been a while since I have written, because we had a little halt in the expedition while Deb recovered from her neck injury.  Now we are back on the water, and I had a great day yesterday.  I guess I should also tell you about the celebration in Guatemala last spring as well.

Rotary Hospitality: We are all connected.

Happy Rotarians: Bill Jahn, Karena and Tom Macek, Deb, Karen Jahn and Tonnie Marwitz
I spent four days being hosted by great Rotarians, and found so many connections, and even people I already knew.  It's a small world.  Wonderful discussions about Safe Passage, garbage and the economics of poverty.

Monday, October 19, 2015

7790 PDG Deb Walters to be Honored at the United Nations

Dr. Deb Walters
Rotary International President K.R.Ravindran announced that six Rotarians from around the world have been selected as Global Women of Action.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Foiled again! Small Craft Advisories

Deb on dock in Hilton Head - back when there were no small craft advisories!
Feeling good after four days of paddling.  Glad to have one day of rest.  But now have two days of Small Craft Advisories and cannot paddle!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Paddle Day 11: Flying down the river, but floating cars, dressers and sofas???

Talking with Patito in my pocket
Fast day going with the current - until the last two miles going against the peak current.  Scary tales from sailors who navigated the flooded rivers in Charleston.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Paddle Day 9: Reached Georgia!

Taking a short cut by lining the kayak in the Savannah River
Hard day going against the wind the whole time, and against the tides half the time.  But great to see old paddling friends in Savannah!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Paddle Day 8: Rotary, Interview, Beat up by the Wind, and Magic on Daufuski

The Island Packet Photographer on the dock
What a day!  Breakfast Rotary meeting, followed by conference call, then a media interview and  onto the water and paddling into the wind.  Finally reached Daufuski to a huge reception, a chance to give an impromptu talk about Safe Passage, and then a wonderful evening with inspiring conversation.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Paddle Day 7: Currents, Thunderstorms and Big Crossing

Yellow headless kayaking monster
Two hours of just floating with the currents, ten minutes of terror, one hour hard work crossing Port Royal Sound, and another hour of easy paddling.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Flooding, seafood bonanza and Guatemala landslide

Throwing back a female blue crab
So happy to have made it safe and sound to Beaufort, SC, thanks to so many generous people.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Still pinned down in Charleston: 24.23 inches rain in 24 hours

Rain pummels Charleston (and me)
As my routes over the next few days require going upstream up sections of the rivers that drain South Carolina, this storm will prevent me from paddling until the rivers go down.  Flooded roads mean I can't get a ride for me and my kayak.  Pinned down in Charleston, South Carolina.  Hearing about mudslides in Guatemala.  

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Trapped in bad weather in Charleston, South Carolina

Atmospheric River pumping tropical rain right to Charleston, South Carolina
National weather reporters are calling Charleston, South Carolina the worst place in the US weather wise with a once in a lifetime weather event.  National Weather Service calling it a 1/200 or even a 1/500 year event with over 16 inches of rain.  An "atmospheric river" is pumping tropical water up from Hurricane Joaquin.  There are flood warnings on the rivers and rip tide warnings on the coast.  It would be a very dangerous time to be kayaking, especially as I would be paddling these flooded rivers.

While glad I'm not on the water, I'm not feeling real comfy staying here in Charleston on one of the creeks.  It is a small tidal creek, so hopefully the rain based flooding will not be too bad.   The tides today are predicted to be one of the ten highest tides ever recorded.  I'll feel better after high tide at 1:00 p.m.  Isolated tornados are also being predicted.  Although this is rare, there were tornadoes here on James Island earlier this week.

If there is an evacuation notice I will have to beg a ride with neighbors, as there is no vehicle where I am staying.  I'll keep you posted.

Gratitude list:
  1. Watching the heavens pour from inside a dry house
  2. Time to reflect on the purpose of this expedition
  3. Messages of support from Maine to Florida
  4. Time to create the biography, the photos and the presentations for the award to be announced October 20th
  5. Sleeping with the lovely sound of rain on a hot tin roof.
UPDATE:  CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- All traffic to Charleston, Folly Beach and Edisto Beach are shut down and Dorchester County set a curfew from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. in response to widespread flooding across the Lowcountry.

President Obama declared a state of emergency in South Carolina.  The list of road closures is long, including the roads to get me by road to Edisto Island tomorrow as planned.

Walked to the grocery store to get food for today, but many refrigerated shelves and cases are empty because of frequent power outages.

So glad to be safe and dry.

Deb and Ellie

Date: Saturday, October 3, 2015
Location: James Island, Charleston, South Carolina
Host: Ellie Maas Davis

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hurricane Skip and Stories of Generosity

Photo from Charleston Post and Courier
The hurricane prediction has gotten better for this area, but the heavy rains and thunderstorms were still enough for me to do a "weather skip."  So no paddling for a few days, just stories of generosity.