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, 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.
The wind was from the south, so the waves were pouring through the many open channels I would have needed to kayak past from Islamorada to Grassy Key.  To make it even worse, since the bay side waters are higher then the Atlantic waters, the flow is often from north to south at all tide levels.  That means wind against the current, which makes for breaking waves.  Not a good day to paddle there.  But it was a decent day to paddle along the Marathon Keys where there were not wide channels.  Thus I jumped ahead to paddle, but will return to cover the skipped sections.

Looked like a huge odd lobster jumping out of the water as I left the marina in Grassy Key.  But the Florida lobsters don't have big claws like our Maine lobsters.  Haven't felt the need to eat one of the Florida ones yet, as the snapper is so good.

It was an uneventful day of paddling: so uneventful that I continued listening to Bill Bryce's "A Short History of Nearly Everything."  It's exciting listening for a physics major like myself.  I liked the humor as well, but I wished he wouldn't keep talking about wave theory.  I was already worried enough about waves myself.  I knew I would be facing my own wave challenge in the Moser Channel at the end of the day.

As I neared the channel, I could see all the white patches of surf.  I prepared for a tumble by removing everything from my "office", my SnapDragon sprayskirt.  Although everything is tethered to the kayak deck, it's convenient in good conditions to move things closer to me by laying them on my sprayskirt.  But if I had to do a wet exit, those items could get tangled and make it hard to release the skirt.  I would hate to be upside down in the water fumbling for the release tab on the skirt and being unable to quickly swim out from under the kayak.  As I approached the whitewater I re-stowed my NRS chartcase, my Garmin GPS, and my Platypus hydration tube.  In the end it wasn't too bad as I broke through the eddy line and powered through the edge of the channel.

Waves as I rounded Knight;s Key
After rounding the key, I headed for the channel into our campground.  This is a lovely spot right on the water with amazing sunset views.  In fact this property has been found to be too good for a campground, and has been sold to a developer who will build a luxury resort here.
Campground beach and tiki bar beside the channel.
It was fun to paddle right up to our campsite on Knight's Key.  Chris didn't even have to meet me, as I knew there were always guys hanging out around the boat ramp, and sure enough, one came over and helped me haul up the kayak.

Kayak pointing right at our red truck and Aliner camper.
After having a quick lunch at a Cuban cafe, Chris and I went to a Marathon beach where we were entertained by a kite boarder doing all sorts of acrobatic tricks.

Kite boarding fun
He waved to us as he passed.  We found his van in the car park.  It looked like my kayak, covered in decals from water sports companies.  I had an extra decal from a local kayak shop and thought about adding it to his collection.  I wondered if he would notice?
Deb getting up to a little mischief
In the end I only left my card for him on his door.  I was happy when he got in touch, offering to help with my expedition.  Water folks are great folks.

Gratitude List:
  1. Sea birds on the water
  2. Watching the kite boarder dance up and down the waves, going airborne at times
  3. Helpful fellow campers
  4. Bill Bryson's humor (and science)
  5. Being there for the last days of a great camping spot, before gentrification.
Date: January 21, 2016                                               Restart Paddle Day: 51    Paddle Day:138
Start location: Grassy Key, FL                                      Launch time: 11:00 AM
End location:  Marathon                                              Land time: 1:15 PM
Average speed: 3.6 mph                                              Max Speed:  5.6 mph
Miles: 13.1
Total expedition miles with kayak and bike: 2416        Motor-portage miles: 404
Sailing Miles: 1025                                                      TOTAL Expedition Miles: 3441
Kayak Storage: Knight's Key Resort and Marina
Host: Chris Percival

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