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.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Paddle Day 20: Still going through Jacksonville

House moved from JAX by boat to this ICW location
Another perfect weather day paddling the Intracoastal Waterway.  Great company with Sharon again!
Seventy-two degrees, sun, following breeze and congenial currents.  Life is good.  Today's paddle went really quickly.

Paddling with a local means you learn so much that you wouldn't have on your own.  The land we were paddling past was cow fields pack in Sharon's childhood, and now it is covered with Mac-Mansions.  One dock had a small shed built out of corrugated material that looked so much like one of the houses in the newest garbage dump community.  The houses start as simple poles holding up a blue tarp, and sides of cardboard.  Later, as the family's fortunes increase, they replace the trap and cardboard with corrugated metal.   Then after more time, they might get to the point of cinderblock walls.

Sharon pointed out a house that looked older than the neighboring new builds.  She explained the amazing sight of that house being floated down the river from an older part of Jacksonville as it was moved to this new location.

Monday was a rest day for me, so I used it to exercise my legs, which tend to atrophy from long hours of kayaking.  Although I get about 30% of my power from my legs as I kayak, it's not nearly as much as I get from a normal day of living.  But as in many things, I overdid the walk a bit.  I opted to walk the 8 miles from my hosts' home, out over the Wonderland bridges that cross creeks and the ICW.  Since Jacksonville is so flat, the only way you can walk up even a little hill, it to walk across the bridges.

I could look down on the ICW and check out possible spots to camp.  While I have only camped once during this expedition,  I will be camping for seven nights in a row south of New Smyrna Beach.  My tent sponsor, Hilleberg, will be pleased to see my wonderful Staika tent that I have been hauling around in my kayak, finally be set up and used!  It's such a roomy tent, and so easy to set up, and so well ventilated.  Can't wait to be using it again!

Hilleberg tent being tested on a Maine Island
The power lines along the bridge provided habitat for large birds.  On one pylon was just a single osprey nest, while another pylon had eight nests of herons, with a heron on each nest!
Looking down from the bridge onto a heron nest.
It felt great to be out walking in the sea breeze, until I realized my heels were getting hot.  Oh no, that means I am getting blisters!  I immediately put on socks with my sandals (a wonderful fashion statement).  By the time I walked back to my hosts' home the blisters completely covered each heel.  I will be stumbling along for a few days as the blisters heal.

Gratitude List:
  1. Great kayaking companions
  2. Wonderful hosts
  3. Being interviewed by WJCT "First Coast Connections" (listen here)
  4. Being able to donate volunteer hours to HandsOn Jacksonville
  5. After a long walk, relaxing in the hot-tub and watching the sunset
Date: November 29, 2015                                                Restart Paddle Day: 20
Start location: Beach Marine,  FL                                     Launch time: 9:30 am
End location:  Rosco Blvd, JAX                                         Land time: 11:20 am
Average speed: 4.3 mph                                                  Max Speed: 6.5 mph
Miles: 12
Total expedition miles with kayak: 1929                          Motor-portage miles: 397
Kayak Storage:  Palm Valley Outdoors
Hosts: Judy and Chet Smith

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