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.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

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.

The Florida Centennial Paddling Challenge put a kink in my plans.  Although I had paddled in many Florida National Park service properties, I needed to paddle in one more property in 2016.  So we travelled inland to Big Cypress National Preserve.  As we drove along a back road lined with cyprus swamp and alligator holes, I was tempted to put in my kayak, but the holes were too small to even turn around in so I doubted that would count.
Heron in the cypress
Ended up circumnavigating Monument Lake, all 0.7 miles of it.  But Chris took the required photo to document my paddle.  No spray skirt, no PFD.  Don't tell the authorities.
Deb kayaking the unmonumental Monument Lake
Spent another grey day paddling through Biscayne Bay.  Made the crossing over to the keys using the cover of a few small keys and the very shallow Midnight Pass.  I don't recall seeing depths of 1/2 foot on nautical charts so far from land, except when I paddled Florida Bay.

Once I reached the keys the wildness was replaced by lovely gated communities,  private jets landing overhead and an upscale fishing club that generously allowed me to use their marina.  Captain West spent time going over my charts for the upcoming areas and sharing some of his years of knowledge captaining in the Keys.
Captain West sharing his knowledge
It felt great to finally be in the Florida Keys, on the last leg of this expedition.

Gratitude List:
  • seeing the rare tree snail
  • seeing lots of alligators - from a distance
  • Captain West's enthusiasm for the expedition
  • close-up experiences with the mangroves
  • wide open waters of Biscayne Bay
Date: January 14, 2016                                               Restart Paddle Day: 46     Paddle Day:133
Start location: Cutler, FL                                            Launch time: 10:00 am
End location:  North Key Largo                                    Land time: 1:30 pm
Average speed: 3.4 mph                                             Max Speed: 5.1 mph
Miles: 12
Total expedition miles with kayak and bike: 2364        Motor-portage miles: 404
Kayak Storage:  Key Largo Angler's Club
Host: Chris Percival

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