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.

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.

Local knowledge is what it takes to navigate in the shallow water of the Lower Keys.  Fortunately I had spent time with one of the experts at Cudjoe Gardens Marina the day before.
Getting that crucial local knowledge
He even gave me a chart, and marked it with the best route, telling me about where I would see "picket fence" markers, and where I should go between two poles, and where I should keep two stakes on my starboard.  He saved me so much grief, by showing me the shortcuts through the shallows.

Ad hoc channel markers
Some of my favorite markers where painted PVC pipe, with little garden solar lights taped to their tops.  Gotta love the ingenuity!

On the crossings, it was fun working to match up all the little pieces of mangrove keys with the charts.
What is what out there?
Even more fun was looking down into the shallow water, as I glided over so many different types of sponges and corals.  I lowered one of my rePlay XD video cameras to capture some of the scenes.
Lowering the video camera over the side.
Vase sponges...
Vase Sponge
Little corals?
I don't know what...
On shore in the wilder areas I could see the tiny Key Deer.   Can you find it here?
A Key Deer is here
In the more built up areas I was entertained by the architecture.
Round blobs house being built.
The antics of the birds were added accents of delight.
This guy kept trying to eat a huge piece of fish innards.
It was a long day, but a happy day back on the water.

Gratitude List:
  1. Sea sponges galore
  2. Local knowledge shared so fully
  3. Tiny Key Deer
  4. Winds that didn't exhaust me
  5. The seas and the skies
Date: January 25, 2016                                               Restart Paddle Day: 55    Paddle Day:142
Start location: Scout Key, FL                                       Launch time: 9:00 AM
End location:  Cudjoe Key                                           Land time: 2:30 PM
Average speed: 3.3 mph                                              Max Speed:  5.1 mph
Miles: 16
Total expedition miles with kayak and bike: 2476        Motor-portage miles: 404
Sailing Miles: 1025                                                      TOTAL Expedition Miles: 3501
Kayak Storage: Cudjoe Garden's Marina
Host: Ruth Montegue

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