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, February 10, 2016

Paddle Day 57-144: Expedition completed!

Made it over 2,500 miles!
Had to wait two days for the wind to lay down, but found a perfect day to glide onto the beach after over 2,503 miles of the Kayak for Safe Passage Kids expedition.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Paddle Day 56-143: Fabulous paddling in the backcountry

Paddling into the wind
Wonderful kayaking in skinny water with skinny paddle.  Rivals Maine as a kayaking mecca.  Lovely scenery, challenging navigation, and heart pounding paddling all in one day.  Seventh day in a row on the go, as I race for the end of the expedition

Completed Florida National Parks Centennial Paddle Challenge

Ranger Yelitza Sepulveda giving Deb the 100 mile patch
I finally finished the Florida's National Parks Centennial Paddle Challenge with a total of 105.8 miles on January 30th, 2016.  It included paddling in Biscayne National Park, Everglades National Park, Big Cypress Preserve and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge.  Ranger Yelitza wanted me to be the first to complete the challenge.  I wonder if I was?  This is a great way to celebrate the National Parks Centennial!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Paddle Day 55-142: Paddling the "Skinny Water"

What kind of sponge is this?
Finally the winds lay down enough to kayak.  A few crossings and much twisting and turning in uncharted channels marked only by fishermen's informal poles and stakes.  So much fun to glide over the many sponges growing in the shallow water.  Six days in a row of pushing forward, with the end in sight.

Paddle day 54-141: Biking the bridges and contemplating community

Signpost beside our campsite.  Let's bike to Cuba!
Yet another windy day.  Too hazardous to make the seven mile crossing by kayaking, so resorted to biking over the Seven Mile Bridge.  Lots of time to think about the meaning of community here in Florida, and at the Guatemala City garbage dump.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Paddle Day 53-140: Hazardous high winds, can't paddle, can't bike, resort to walking

Magnificent frigatebird flying above me as I walk two miles out to sea.
Marine forecast of hazardous winds, so couldn't kayak.  It was even too windy to bike across all the long bridges between the keys along my route.  With a strong itch to finish the expedition, I felt I had to keep moving.  I resorted to scouting the route by walking two miles out an abandoned railroad bridge to the next key.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Paddle Day 52-139: High Winds and Downpours Biking

Thought I would take a rest day today.  We wanted to take the boat tour to the Lingumvitae State Botanical Park, but the trails through the mangrove tunnels were closed because of the rain causing the sap of the Poisenwood trees to drip down onto people and cause serious skin irritations.  Decided to bike two sections of the expedition in the rain instead.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Finished the expedition!

More details and pictures to come,  but here's the front page of the local paper today!

2,503 miles.  Over $425,000 for the Safe Passage children! !  Success!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Heading out for the last day!

This is it!   Last day of the expedition.  Today I will cross the 2,500 mile point!   Yesterday I found out we have also crossed the $425,000 point in fundraising!   Thank you everyone!

Will land in Key West at Higgs Beach at 1 pm.  Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Day 51-138: Marathon along Marathon

Leaving Grassy Key Marina
Too windy to kayak the more open sections of the route, so jumped ahead paddle through Marathon.  Calm on the bay side, but dicey turning through the waves and currents to round Knight's Key to land at our campsite.  Then had fun with a kite boarder.

Yet Another Quick Update

Higgs Beach in Key West on Thursday, January 28th
Drove to check the surf of Higgs Beach.  I was planning on landing there on Friday to end the expedition.  But the surf conditions made it look like a chance of ending the expedition and maybe my boat as well.  Not being a big risk taker, I'm postponing the final landing.  The wind will shift tonight, but I'll give it a day for the wind to "lay down" and the swells to relapse.  Saturday, January 30th at 1:00 pm now looks like a good time to land.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Paddle Day 50-137: Glorious Underwater Creatures and Fascinating Live-aboards

What was I seeing on the bottom?
The highlights of the day's paddle were the sea life at the beginning and end.  First was a sea bottom covered with strange creatures.  My next excitement was being flagged down by a live-aboard sailer for a fascinating talk.  Finally, at the end of the day, we were welcomed into the gregarious world of the folks who anchor offshore and use unofficial dinghy landings for their frugal lifestyle.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Quick Update: Almost there! The end is in sight!

The end is in sight!
I've just completed seven days in a row of slowly moving along the coast towards my final goal of Key West and over 2,500 miles (in a addition to the 1025 miles by sail boat).

Haven't caught up with my blogs, but hope to do so soon.  Just one more day to go!!!  Hope to have favorable winds on Friday to kayak into Key West.

Thanks for all of your support to make this expedition successful for the children at Safe Passage!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Paddle Day 49-136: Wind and Breaking Waves in the Keys

Key Largo Winds
North winds and breaking waves forced me onto my bike to peddle today's route.  As the winds are predicted to be even higher tomorrow, I'll try to avoid pedaling by kayaking on the south side along one of the longer keys.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Paddle Day 48: Perfect Day in the Keys!

Start of a sunny day in the Florida Keys - Key Largo Angler's Club
Uneventful paddle under clear skies and over smoothish waters.  Hit the populated part of the keys with yachts, kayaks, sailboats, fast fishing boats and even a little helicopter with floats.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

El Nino making it very wet in Florida this winter

Look out Florida Keys!
The world is experiencing it's third ever super El Nino.  The related weather predictions for Florida this winter are grim.  Way above average rain.  Even more than predicted for California.  Could be a very soggy time as I kayak along the Florida Keys!  We have already been flooded in one campsite, where we had to walk through six inches of water surrounding our camper.  In biking I have often had to ride through flooded streets.

Earliest ever Atlantic hurricane forms.  I thought I had already made it through both hurricane seasons of the expedition, but the weather it is a changing.

Record rains today.  Normal is 0.75 inch month to date, but this year it's 3.74 - five times the usual rain!  Todays rain was a record 1.46 inches.  The older record was 1.22 back in 1944.  We are so lucky!  But then all my friends in Maine and the northeast with their snow and cold will not get too excited about a little water down here in Florida

Friday, January 15th, 2015

Paddle Day 47: Finally arrived in the Florida Keys

Paddling along the mangroves
Another grey day paddling Biscayne Bay, crossing over to the Keys and being rewarded with a warm welcome at the Key Largo Anglers Club.  Visiting Big Cypress National Preserve the day before for paddling and birding.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Paddle Day 46: New Challenge and Rescue in Biscayne Bay National Park

Leaving the Deerling Estate for Biscayne Bay National Park
Left the metropolis of Miami and entered the more wilderness area of Biscayne Bay National Park.  Didn't feel like the expected tropical paradise on a cold and dreary day.  Impromptu rescue (is there any other kind) along the way, and then a new challenge appears.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Peddle Day 45: National Bike Route 1 and Olympic Sailors

Talking with two British Olympic sailors with their 49er FX
Biked today on the national Bike Route 1 that goes from Key West, Florida to Calais, Maine.  Also learned more about Olympic sailing on the 49er FX.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Paddle Day 44: Miami!

How did I end up in Venice?
Kayaked past Miami.  Lots of interesting architecture.  Accidentally paddled through a construction site.  Later appeared to be in Venice.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Paddle Day 43: Homes and no homes

Lots of condos and a few large houses
Another day of contrasts, this time by kayak.  Luxurious single family homes.  Towering condos.  A damp piece of grass along the river.

Peddle day 42: Planes, Trains and Bicycles

The winds were blowing
Another day of hazardous winds, says NOAA.  No kayaking possible.  Biked instead past the Port of Everglades.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Adventures of Patito Amistoso: Chapter Seven

Dear Safe Passage friends and children everywhere,

I am so excited to share with you lots of great news!  First, people are asking me what I did back in Maine when it was so cold.  As you know ducks do not stay around in such cold weather.  They fly to warmer areas.  But I wanted to stay with Deb, so I adopted very un-duck-like behavior.  I hibernated.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Paddle Day 41: Decision Time

Paddling the narrow sections of the ICWW
Almost to one natural stopping point.  Will I stop?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Peddle Day 40: West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Contrasts - The Poor and the Rich

Palms alongPalm Beach.  What a concept!
Headed out to kayak, but a flat tire on our truck took up most of the day.  Biked instead.  A study in contrasts of pedaling through decrepit looking neighborhoods full of pawn shops and the homeless, and then past massive, elaborate mansions on the beach.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Peddle Day 39: New Year's Eve Celebration: Medical Clinic

Our home for the next week, including screen tent "office" where I write.
Finished the back and forth and finally back on the most southerly leg, going south, but by bike again.  Still waiting for Deb and kayak to heal.  Excitement was a New Year's Eve trip to a medical clinic.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Paddle Day 38: Rain, Rainbows and Islands

"Go towards the light."
It was a day of darkness and light, sun and rain, rainbows and manta rays.  At the end of the paddle was a long interview with a reporter from Vero Beach Magazine, with great questions about Safe Passage.