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, December 15, 2015

Paddle Day 26: Birds galore!

Flock of Black Skimmers takes flight
Another nice paddle with lots of entertainment: first manatee sighting, tug goes aground, new on-water exercise routine, deafening speed boat races without mufflers, collected trash from the waterway, developed new technique to pee.  Then rest days filled with fun: carol service, walking the beach and working at a thrift shop.

An easy start to the day as the huge forklift lowered my little kayak into the water.

Fork lift lowering the loaded kayak into the water
Once on the water I passed several rowing shells out for a morning practice.  I got into the exercise by stopping every hour to do some stretches in the kayak.  I'm hopeful this will reduce the number of knotted muscles at the end of the day from the repetitive motion.  Also hope that passing boats don't think my waving arms are trying to signal them for help.
Arn rotations on the water
Had my first manatee sighting, but don't get too excited.
Manatee mosaic on the piers of a Daytona Beach bridge.
I found bottle floating along, and decided to fish it out to reduce the pollution.   It looked like it had a message inside.
Message in a bottle
It was not easy corralling the bottle close to the kayak and even then I kept missing it, as I didn't want to reach out too far and tip out of the kayak.  With a little perseverance I finally got my finger in the ring and hauled it aboard.  What was the message?
And the message is...Carlo Rossi.
Being a warm weekend day, there were loads of folks out on the water in all kinds of crafts.  This caused a challenge when I needed to go to shore to pee.  First problem was all the folks going past and nowhere for me to hide.  Fortunately the front apron of the spray skirt forms a very nice modesty garment.  But the larger problem was the near constant boat wakes that threatened to push my kayak up onto the sharp oyster shells while I was peeing.  The solution was to straddle the kayak on the rear deck, so that my legs could hold the kayak facing into the oncoming waves.  That turned turned the kayak into a very handy seat for relieving myself.  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Speed boats were out in force, and one large one was zooming u and down the channel, apparently trying to break a speed record, and definitely breaking the sound record of the expedition with it's high revs and no muffler.  It was painful each time it passed me.

Near Ponce de Leon Inlet I saw a tug run aground trying to turn into the ICW at low tide.  It's powerful engines were strong enough to back them off the sand bar.  They backed out and turned several times at the junction until they had figured out a route that they thought would be deep enough.  They did make it in the end.

Tug that went aground
I've started seeing more and more jelly fish in the water, but it's hard to capture them on my video cameras.  So I was glad when I went for a walk on the beach at Ponce Inlet and found the cannonball jellyfish washed ashore.  These are the ones that the Georgia fishermen are catching and processing to be shipped to Asia as a delicacy.  I was not tempted to taste the dead ones on the beach.
Jelly fish and mangrove seedlings on the beach
The Ponce Inlet beach was covered with black skimmers and other birds.
Black skimmers on Ponce Inlet beach with light house in background
When surfers or others walked past, they would take to the air in huge flocks.
Birds over surfers at Ponce Inlet
Another highlight of my visit with Molly and Charlie was the carol service on Sunday.  Wonderful music!  On Monday I joined Molly in volunteering at the church's "Gift and Thrift Shop".
UCC Port Orange carol service
Another highlight was getting together with Jim and Louise who hosted me as well last time.  Folks welcome me like family.  I am so fortunate.

Sadly, this is the last of the hosting on this expedition,. The character of the expedition will change on Tuesday when my husband Chris arrives and starts providing land support, and I move to a fully supported expedition.  This was the mode that so many people had suggested for the expedition, including others who have done major kayaking and canoe expeditions for a cause.  It will certainly be much easier on my body not having to haul my gear, but it will be less interesting as I will be meeting fewer folks.  That means less friend and fund raising too for the next 500 miles.  But I'm glad I already have some media interviews and speaking engagements set up for the coming weeks.  If you know anyone from Daytona to Key West who you think might like to have me talk with a group, please let me know!

Gratitude List:
  1. Doing my little bit to clean up the ocean by collecting glass and plastic from the water
  2. Large flocks of birds
  3. Friendly marinas
  4. Wonderful hosts
  5. Above average water and air temperatures
Date: December 12, 2015                                              Restart Paddle Day: 26
Start location: Daytona Beach, FL                                  Launch time: 10:45 am
End location: New Smyra Beach                                     Land time: 3:00 pm
Average speed: 3.5 mph                                                Max Speed: 5.9 mph
Miles: 16
Total expedition miles with kayak: 2016                       Motor-portage miles: 397
Kayak Storage:  Gerry's Marina
Hosts: Molly and Charlie Baskin

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