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, 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.

I walked from our campsite on Knight's Key over the old railway bridge that now serves as a walkway for the two miles over the Moser Channel to Pigeon Key.  It was awe inspiring to look down on the breaking waves and ripping currents, while holding onto my hat and hoping my glasses didn't blow away.  It was a strange combination of being on land (sort-of) and being at sea (sort-of).
Walkway to Pigeon Key
My reward was seeing magnificent frigatbirds flying overhead.  With their wingspans of seven to eight feet, their graceful soaring, and their home in the tropical seas, why do I find them so romantic?

All along the bridge were plagues and memorials like these:
Is it was a popular suicide place?  Is it a good place to scatter a loved one's ashes?  So many stories are here, and it is hard to read between the lines.

After arriving at Pigeon Key, I found the ramp down to the Key was closed for repair, so headed back to Knight's Key.
Walkway over Pigeon Key
It was still windy as I approached Knight's Key.
Gotta love the wind
On my way back to the campground I stopped in an old railway car turned bookshop, and looked through three different books about kayaking the keys.  I had wondered about kayaking on the Gulf side versus the Atlantic side of the Lower Keys.  The geology clearly is different as you can see from any chart.  Instead of linear keys, with a few tiny mangrove  keys around, there is a wide area of land and seas.  The difference is because of the underlying limestone.  It is very porous in the Upper Keys, but less so in the Lower Keys, so dirt can build up to create more areas of solid land with trees.   I bought one of the books as it showed a third option for me.  I could paddle through the middle of the keys.  Using the book as a guide I mapped out new routes that would allow me to explore the very shallow water (they call it skinny water down here) that no sailboats and even few fishing skiffs venture into.

The high winds were a part of the build-up of winter storm Jonas, and I read reports of flooding on Money Island and along the NJ shore.  I remembered all of the wonderful people I had stayed with in those areas.  Last year they were still recovering from Sandy, and now they are flooding again.  Money Island floods even without a storm.  All it takes are the bimonthly high tides of the full and new moons.  My heart goes out to them.

 Gratitude List:
  1. Magnificent Frigatebirds
  2. The wonders of geology
  3. Alternative forms of locomotion
  4. Looking down onto high waves instead of trying to power through them
  5. Coming back to a cozy campsite
Date: January 23, 2016                                               Restart Paddle Day: 53    Paddle Day:140
Start location: Knight's Key, FL                                    Launch time: 11:00 AM
End location:  Knight's Key                                           Land time: 1:00 PM
Average speed: 3.0 mph                                              Max Speed:  5.3 mph
Miles: 6.0
Total expedition miles with kayak and bike: 2446        Motor-portage miles: 404
Sailing Miles: 1025                                                      TOTAL Expedition Miles: 3472
Kayak Storage: Knight's Key Resort and Marina
Host: Chris Percival

No comments:

Post a Comment