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.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Paddle day 19: Back on the water moving through Jacksonville, Florida

Pat snaps and Deb grunts.
Went flying down the ICW today with Sharon and Joey.  Following current and a tail wind!
Great to be back in the kayak after almost a month of traveling Florida to Maine to NYC to Maine to Chicago to Maine to Rochester to Maine to Florida.  Plane, bus, car... but no paddling.  I was suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms, going cold turkey before turkey day.  Felt so good to be back to sitting down on the job.

What made it even better was paddling with Joey Schott (they amazing guy who redesigned and rebuilt my kayak) and Sharon Sugden (who may join me kayaking the Florida Keys).  I noticed when I went through the videos of the day's trip that most of the time I was laughing and smiling.  That doesn't happen without great company!

The first few miles were battling against a moderate current, but once we crossed the St John river and turned back into the ICW, we had the current pushing us along, and the wind blowing against our backs.  We could stop paddling and drift at over 4 knots.  

It was a short day as I lost a lot of my kayaking conditioning over the past few weeks, and my aging body takes longer to rebuild it's endurance.  But the paddle turned out to be even shorter than expected.  Two hours on the water, and over two hours of shuttling cars and gear.  Joey and Sharon were so generous to spend their holiday weekend helping me out!

I landed at Beach Marine, the first time that I hadn't been able to contact the marina in advance, but they were most accommodating.  The dock master, Joe Crespi, even gave me the contact info for other expedition paddlers who can give me lots of local knowledge about the upcoming sections.

Judy Smith and her two grandchildren (Max and Emerson) met me at the marina.  The children asked about sharks, so I shared some of my stories about wildlife encounters via kayak.

Max, Emerson and Grandma Judy
During lunch with the grandchildren, Judy and Chet, and their son Zak, the children asked me about the children at Safe Passage.  It was wonderful to share stories about the children of the garbage dump to such a rapt audience.

Gratitude List:
  1. Being back in the kayak
  2. Great paddling companians
  3. A following breeze
  4. Following seas
  5. Children to interact with
Date: November 28, 2015                                                Restart Paddle Day: 19
Start location: Jacksonville,  FL                                       Launch time: 9:15 am
End location:  Beach Marine, JAX                                     Land time: 11:20 am
Average speed: 4.4 mph                                                  Max Speed: 7.0 mph
Miles: 9
Total expedition miles with kayak: 1918                          Motor-portage miles: 397
Kayak Storage:  Beach Marine
Hosts: Judy and Chet Smith


  1. When will you be kayaking thru Marineland via the Intracoastal??

  2. I'll be paddling past on Tuesday, Dec 8.