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.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Paddle Day 31: Finally Successful Rocket Launch and Kayak Launch

Following seas and paddling backwards does the trick
This fully supported expedition provides many new options.  After three days of not being able to complete my distance for the day, I finally managed to complete a full day's paddle - by paddling backwards.
When the winds and the currents are against me, I suffer and can't make the distances I expect.  Today I had the realization, that since Chris was driving me and my kayak to the put-in and picking us up at the take-out, that I could paddle either south or north.  So now I switched direction and paddled from the planned end point to the starting point.

The wind was not as strong, but still enough to generate breaking waves.  It was an up and down day, as I would be in tough conditions until I passed a causeway, and then I could tuck behind and be sheltered for a while.

At my last causeway of the day I was looking forward to tucking in and resting....
Power station with Keep Out signs
But once I turned I saw the area was restricted and boating was not allowed.  I thought it was because of the fear of terrorists at the power station, as had been the case at other locations along my route.  But this one was different, as the restricted area was only from November to March.   It was still because of the power station, but for a different reason.  In the winter the manatees gather here in the warm water of the discharge, so that they don't go into "cold shock" when the water temperature along the Indian River goes below 72 degrees.

Had lunch at Steve's Diner, and the staff there got very excited about the expedition and ended up telling lots of customers about me.  Got to chat with lots of folks and tell Safe Passage stories, and ate free cake.  Had to pose with my waitress outside.

Deb and Waitress at Steve's Diner:  Get Your First Lift!
In the evening we celebrated winter solstice by watching Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket launch at Cape Canaveral.  We are camped right across the water from the launch pad and had a great view.  The red flare of the rocket was reflected on the water.  It seemed a long time before the sound reached us with the intense roar of the rockets.  We could see the first stage of the rocket booster separate and come down.  We heard a sonic boom when it returned.  We saw some history, as this was the first time a rocket had been landed safely on land, upright.  SpaceX plans to reuse the rocket.  Exciting.

SpaceX Photo: Long exposure of launch, re-entry, and landing burns of Falcon 9
The best part of winter solstice is that the days will get longer, and I'll have more time to paddle with the currents and with the light

Gratitude List:
  1. Chris supporting me
  2. A tail wind
  3. Fins I saw being dolphins and not sharks
  4. Figured out how to dry my gear while camping
  5. Longer days
Date: December 21, 2015                                             Restart Paddle Day: 31
Start location: Cocoa, FL                                              Launch time: 9:07 am
End location: Manatee Hammock Campground              Land time: 11:56 am
Average speed: 4.1 mph                                               Max Speed: 5.5 mph
Miles: 12
Total expedition miles with kayak: 2064                      Motor-portage miles: 397
Kayak Storage:  Manatee Hammock Campground
Host: Chris Percival

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