Thursday, December 20, 2012

We all look the same? Really?


I must talk to you about a recent interaction…I know I have been raised to be open in my mind and heart…this kind of blew my mind though…

I ran up to Crystal River to see 2 Notch (or let her see me is more the point), so she would not come into open water looking for me…the gulf is too cold for her right now and like me she is older- let’s just say I worry…
CrystalRiver Kayaks had a Yak ready for me…really great place…I paddled out and headed for the 3 Sisters Spring…the air temp was 50f and the water was 72f making very urethral fog …about ½ way there I ran into Huggy Bear…he was being so funny and introduced me to another youngster- I call him Billy…a BIG bull manatee approached to see what was going on and to let me know what he was there to protect the kids…I chuckled and named him Sealy Booth…
Sealy and the boys swam around the corner beside me as I continued to paddle…up in front of us, freakin snorkel people…I pointed to a canal we were passing and told him to take the boys were they would not disturbed…they turned off and I continued…due to the paddle, I know most of the manatee between Crystal River and Ft Myers (5 family groups)…suddenly I was noticing them plus more, this was like a huge family reunion…a young bull stopped me before I floated into the NO HUMAN ZONE…I giggled as he scolded me
Sitting there I was looking in the Manatee Zone for 2 Notch when one of the volunteers for fish and wild life asked what I was doing…several Manatee were trying to get my attention…since she was up on a walk 3 foot higher than me or them, I asked her if she saw 2 Notch…I started to describe what 2 Notch looked like and she said ‘How can you tell them apart? They all look the same to me.’…at that moment, I was angry…I asked ‘when you see children- do they all look alike?’
Ya…I know- I am a wave hugger…the young male pushed my Yak toward the springs and the current towed me the rest of the way back…in front of me was a young male (approx 9- 10 month) with 5 propeller marks down his back…tears fell down my cheeks that one so young should have them- not that any should, but he was so young…he came up and snorted me up…lol…I asked if he was taking a break from the old men and got another snort…I told him to take it easy and paddled back to the channel…
I asked the young bull if he had seen 2 Notch…he swam away quickly…Taking pics, sitting waiting and watching…Tap Tap Tap…it was my big girl…the bull went into the Manatee Zone…she went back down the canal with me…this big female swam up and stared pushing my Yak and cornered me…all I could picture is when vacations attack…lol…she swam up on the inside and gave birth…OMG…2 Notch acted as midwife sort of…I was so befuddled to be entreated to such a thing
Furtherer up the channel was a bull I call Durante…he has a cute snoz…then another mother and baby thought to play with my boat like a Tonka Truck…the mother and child come from down by the keys…you could tell by the color and attitude- really fun…we are doing better, but not well enough to come off the endangered list yet

I was so amazed how well they all got along and how different they all are…some had more hair, different color skin, birth marks, etc…it was then I wondered if they think we all look alike…in my head I laughed…I paddled back and jumped on the road home…I stopped at Emily’s in Homosassa for an awesome burger and as I sat there going over all that had happened…I showed the kind waitress my camera of photos and asked ‘do they all look alike to you?’…she flipped through the pics and thoughtfully said no…sweet girl…

So now I ask you ‘Do they all look alike?’

You’re Captain,


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ride the Peace Train

It has been a busy week in my paddle world…today is a day of peace…did you find someone to hug today…GREAT news has found me…the doctors have found my issues thanks to a truck driver for the shelter…it is nice to know what is wrong and how to cope with it:)
Today was the Peace Breakfast for Sunrise of Pasco to say Thank You to all of those who try so hard to make our community a wonderful place…it was heartwarming to see how many turned out…my videographer Taylor was there to take the opening of our new TV show…the stories of a few women were told- for me this is bone chilling and can transport me back to the worst beating…I am proud of how much better I am doing with this…pull from the inside and rise from those ashes…

SunshinePaddle 2014 is starting to book…Debby will meet with me after the new year to sit and plot the trip with me…As Terry and Yoda taught me- Plan Your Paddle, Paddle Your Plan…Volunteers will be needed in every state- this does involve actual work, if you think you can or want to handle it please give me a call at (813)907-6279
Sun Ray 2013 is our Pasco Paddle…I have been running like a chicken with my head cut off getting with many local business about goodies for the welcome packages…I have been paddling in the areas looking for any interesting things or things to watch for…I am so excited to show off my county and how amazing our gulf coast is- it will be so cool to share this with all of you…the entrance forms are up and ready to fill out

My friend Tim got a new kayak…we took it to Anclote River Park…I felt special that he chose me to help him break it in…it was a stable ride, though I missed having a rudder…It was an Old Town that he bought off Amazon…got to him in good shape and on time…we had fun

May you always have a shell in your pocket and sand in your shoes…

Your Girly Pirate,
Captain D

Monday, November 26, 2012

Girly Pirate Strong

Sun Ray Paddle is a go 4/13/13…I am currently working with businesses that wish to help with whatever they can hook us up with…in a brainstorming session with the crew, I was informed that the crew would like a choice of where there donation will go- Sunrise of Pasco Abuse Shelter/ Atonement Food Pantry/ Katie Walk and Ride for Organ Donation/ Pasco County Parks…you will be able to choose on your entrance forms…Greg was nice enough to aide with the wording on the forms and Chris converted the file for me- much easier said than done and it is now live on the website…Forms and donations should be sent to:

Sun Ray Paddle

30131 Clearview Dr

Wesley Chapel, FL 33545

ATTN: Catherine Cooper

Mrs. Cooper will be sending out all welcome packages on March 15, 2013…she will also be presenting all donation checks on April 15 and 16…all personal information will be shredded the day following the paddle – nothing will be shared unless you request it…I have paddled the course in the last week and find it to be challenging and enjoyable…


The Sunshine Paddle 2014

I have started to prepare for my paddle again…I feel much more aware and know we have much better strategy’s in place…I have started putting together marketing and am looking to secure hotels for the journey- I am just too old to camp…lol…Debby and I are working a better food routines…we have also started plotting the trip…I want a car to make the trip in this time too


This month is about being thankful…I have so much to be thankful for…wonderful family, awesome friends…the ability to help others in need…the ability to work at what I love…may you all be so blessed:)

Your Captain,
The Girly Pirate

Monday, October 29, 2012

Responsibility is Not a Dirty Word


I have been a busy Girly Pirate…opportunities have presented themselves to have me in the water- and you know I am not complaining:)
A friend called me at 5 am and asked if I would tandem with them off Dunedin Causeway…it was a foggy, damp morning…we were on the water by 630…as we paddled through the Smith Islands, I found Fred…I was so happy to see him…I did not have my camera, but she had her cell…the picture is not great- he is much cuter in person…

I got home late that morning to a death threat because I feel that Anclote River Park should be a no wake zone… children and animals are omnipresent in this area- I helped save a dolphin and watch one be saved from the swim area...if you are a good boater or want to ride the jet ski go out to the channel where you will do no damage...these are not my children or my just means I look out for drive slow for less than a quarter mile should be no big deal...if it is you are a sad person
My husband was so kind as to take me to Hudson Beach for his birthday and let me paddle…it was the first time in a while that I had been on water in the afternoon…birds, jumping mullet and dolphins seemed to be everywhere…it was fun to see 2 Notch…I seem to paddle much father when she swims with me…she was headed to Crystal River…when I came in, he and I went to Sam’s on the beach…Good food, but the menu itself was limited…good service…kind of pricey- though anyplace on the water is, this place has an amazing view

I gathered and dropped off donations for the Helping Hands food pantry and for the Sunrise Shelter…with money being beyond tight, every little bit helps…if you do not have time to drop your donation off leave it with me and I will see they get it…Helping Hands can use donations of food or Store gift cards…people are hurting and a little goes a long way right now…Sunrise Shelter could use diapers…young women from every race color and creed use this place…so if you have extra, please donate- clothes, hair product, etc…things you would need if you had to leave everything behind…also any old cell phones as they are refurbished for emergency purposes for these women…
As Hurricane Sandy battered the east coast, I ran up to Crystal River…It was my thought that 2 Notch should be there by now and I wanted to make sure she got there okay…I was blessed when the owner of Crystal River Kayaks loaned me a kayak to paddle out to check on my friend…I did not find her at the 3 Sister’s Springs, but I did paddle out some and then saw the snorkel people…I quietly paddled around the dive boats…Suddenly, the familiar tap on the bottom of the boat made me giggle…It was then I understood she wanted out of there, so I headed for open area where she could avoid the scene…In open water she swam beside me for a while until it was time for me to go…I told her that I would be back soon and asked her to wait there for me…
Whenever I travel through Homosassa, I like to stop in at Emily’s Family Restaurant…My waitress was even dressed as a girly pirate…The food was great as always- love this place…For the second year in a row Deb (the owner) is standing behind the paddle…I am always impressed by how many women in her own area she has helped- directly and personally…

Chris has just finished the artwork for The Sun Ray Paddle in Pasco and is helping put together the forms we will use for the paddle…I have finally got the website caught up…I am more amazed everyday with the number of women (young and old) that send me their ‘girly pirate pictures’…it is truly humbling...

Someone asked ‘why would you take on so much work?’… I turned and asked ‘When did responsibility become a dirty word?’…to make time to help the community in some way is the ‘civic responsibility’ of each member of that community…it is sad when some people think they are above that- the sad truth is, that just means someone else will need to carry their own weight plus yours if you choose not to help…I am at a point, I can still carry my own weight and refuse to shame myself or my family by not doing so…one should do what is right whenever given the option or opportunity…

May the current push you along the river to the ocean…


Captain D



Monday, October 15, 2012

Sun Ray Paddle in Pasco

Sun Ray Paddle in Pasco County on April 13, 2013

Launch at approximately 6 a. m.

It goes from Hudson Beach to Anclote Gulf Park.
The paddle is almost 14 miles in length.

There will be several places to stop along the way-

-         Brasher Park *restrooms

-         Durney Key *get out and walk around

-         Miller Bayou *get on or off water

-         Eagle Point Park * restrooms/ get on or off water

Entrance forms can be obtained shortly online
(this does have a sliding fee scale)

This is an all day event in Florida please remember sunscreen, sunglasses and hat. I would also recommend a camera as these areas are quite beautiful and contain some fun animals.

(pic from Easy Kayaking)

I am currently setting up family friendly/ affordable hotels and restaurants lists. I have found a young man who will handle kayak rentals for this event (in case you are coming from out of town)- his name is Luis and his phone number is (727) 422- 2736.

Cars will be parked at Anclote Gulf Beach for safety and security.  Those launching from Hudson Beach will be shuttled in the morning. For those joining at Miller Bayou, please need to set up your own transportation.


I love to listen to suggestions or things that may improve the paddle…you can call, e-mail or stop me in person at one of my many appearances.


I also spoke to Pastor Scott of Atonement Church. I will be speaking and taking suggestions, at his church in Wesley Chapel on Nov 28, 2012, after Sunday Services about the paddle.
Come Paddle With Us:)


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Paddle Excitement

Gather the Crew,

I have started training again- back to boot camp…a busy few weeks has pumped the blood back into me:)…so much news to share with you…first- I would like to thank the many Girly Pirates and their Moms’ for the very awesome pics…please keep sending them…I do treasure each one
I am starting to work my float plan for the Sunshine Paddle in April of 2014 that will go from Gamble Rodgers State Park on the east coast of Florida, up the Atlantic, until I reach Wiscasset, Maine…I will post an approximate plan next month…I am very excited about this…if you have any ideas, equipment or thoughts- as long as they are constructive, I am willing to listen, try or talk about it…I will need hotels along this paddle- can anyone find or maybe know of cheap digs along the coast…I am thankful for any and all help

As you know I have been ill, I am feeling better…I am still under doctors care, but have been released to be back on the water…can I get a ‘HELL YA’…as a Captain it is my obligation to my boat and my responsibility to my crew that come before my own personal wants or needs- much like being a parent…I hated being off the water for so long, but being a Captain means doing the right thing even when you don’t want to:(…thank you all for the encouragement and healing energy
Many of you have heard me speak about school…I have been working hard and it has paid off…I now have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Alternative Medicine…the actual degree came in the mail- it did not seem real until I saw the paper with my name on it…I always dreamed one day- that day is here and now…have faith and believe in your dreams! I am currently working on my Masters…

Okay…the Pasco County Sun Pay Paddle is being set up for April 13, 2013…this will be set up for all skill levels to enjoy…newbies’ will  have fun safe areas to learn…for the medium  and advanced, it will go south down the Gulf of Mexico coast for about 15 miles with rest areas set up every 5 miles…At the suggestion of County Commissioner Pat Mulieri, I got an appointment with the head of Parks on October 15, I will be meeting with Fred Buckman the head of Parks and Recreation of Pasco County to discuss where would be the best start and stop- this way we get the best paddle and least damage to the animals…this is a great paddle and a great place to see amazing amounts of wildlife…I will also be speaking to Pastor Scott of Atonement Church as they have a kayaking group that has been full of good ideas…Chris Bilton is putting together the artwork, I am lucky…I am open to suggestions and thoughts, feel free to call or e-mail me your ideas…the entrance fee will help Sunrise of Pasco…because this is a family event- if you cannot afford the entrance fee please let us know and we will take care of you…I am putting together a hotel list- close by paddle areas and affordable…I am doing the same for restaurants…for those coming from out of the state or out of the country- currently I am putting together rental yaks and a truck or two with kayak racks…lots of great stuff happening there…if you are a vendor and wish to be part of the paddle please let me know
My first paddle back, I was so happy…as the boat cuts the water the world around you changes…it is a view that very few can see…I do not believe it is something you can take for granted…as I paddled my way around, many of the animals came up to say hi…after a little more than an hour, 2 notch the manatee showed up, paddling beside her is like most people who go running with their friends…she communicates very well even though she never uses words…she is on the way to Crystal River…I told her I would be up to see her soon…

Taylor my Videographer and Computer Guru and I were looking at my pics talking about my workouts and the amount of wildlife that I get to see in its natural habitat…we thought it would be fantastic if we could share this…we thought it would be great to do a show on the paddle and everything leading up to it…I have my fingers crossed as we will be pitching the idea in the next 2 weeks to Animal Planet…we already have the camera equipment because of the paddle…I am a little nervous…please send all positive energy our way


May the wind fill your sails and head you to warmer waters…

You Captain and Girly Pirate,


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Good Bye Yum Yum



When I chose to set on the path of the Sunshine Paddle, my friend volunteered the loan of her Kayak…she felt because it was small and had no tracking, I would either give up or really build the muscles I needed to do what I was planning…

I named her Yum Yum after Yum Yum Yellow- the color she was…maybe all the adventures turned me onto are what got my kayaking addiction rolling…as a boat she may not be huge, but she and I have gone 10 miles into the gulf of Mexico, not on purpose- no I do not recommend it, and she brought me back safe

I woke to a raining morning and drug my husband out of bed…the truck was loaded and off we went…just before we got to the beach, the rain cleared and sun came out…I got her in the water as dawn broke and I was facing low tide…I did not care…I would have faced rain or even the Cracken to be able to take her one last time…she jumped along the top of the water…her low draft would let me paddle through a puddle…my husband watched from shore as we became a spec in the distance…as we went out into the gulf, she parted the water…2 notch the manatee found me…I remember the first time she tapped the boat…I think she is headed up to Crystal River…she looked happy to see me and swam beside me until I headed for shore…Yum Yum seemed sad to be headed in and so was I…

Tomorrow, I will return her…I am ever so thankful for the time she was allowed to be in my care…I feel very special to have been entrusted with her

She will be missed

Captain D

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shiver Me Timbers

Call the crew and meet me on deck…

We have had to face the fact that due to current health issues, I am losing precious training time on the water…My first responsibility is to be a good Captain and not to go on the water when I could endanger myself or others…due to the loss of this training time, my body may not be ready to do the east coast launch Until April 15, 2014…I was very sad about this, but saftey should be first priority…it does however give me a chance to have more ducks in the row for the trip…

I refuse to lose a year…many people have contacted me and brainstorming has been going on…Since the Sunshine Paddle will not happen until 2014, we will plan The Sun Ray Paddle in April 13th of 2013…It will start at Anclote River Park and go North to Hudson Beach- I am checking with the head of parks and recreation for Pasco county about parking…I will see if we can have kayak and canoe rentals and maybe even a bus service…The Sun Ray Paddle is a Paddle that encompasses most of Pasco County’s Gulf face- how cool will that be, you will see manatee, dolphin and the birds- bring a camera (I always get excellant pics here)…I expect this paddle to encompass a whole day- even at a slow speed it will be exausting and for those who do not wish to drive that night- there are many (green) hotels that have reasonable prices around the area- I will try to get a list put together…I will also be searching some good restaurants to cater for us at a good price- I think it will depend how many wish to go…ALL entrance fees will be taken in By Sunrise of Pasco…I request you donate $10 per person, $15 per family…if you cannot afford this please let me know and we will handle each case as we can- the important thing is to share our coast and have a good time…I will keep you with news of the Sun Ray...please make time to join us- come to see our wonderful animals and play in the warm gulf water:)
(pic from Easy Kayaking)

Your Captain,

The Girly Pirate

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dry Dock


 I have been hearing many rumors circulate and it is my thought to ease your mind…I still plan to paddle:)..I am currently in a doctor imposed dry dock…I am having a few medical issues and they say it is wiser that I remain on land at the moment…
Needless to say I am having major saltwater withdrawals….I have waxed and washed both boats and gone through my gear…taken another safety class…helped other paddlers with maps and info…I am going buggy…The weather has been really crappy over the last few weeks- I keep telling myself that I could not paddle anyway….I so want to though…
I hope to be back in the water by my birthday…I see doc on Friday and hope she gives me the okay…I will keep you posted

Your Girly Pirate,

Captain D

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Workin the Dream


We are currently in port getting ready for our next voyage…most of the crew is on leave and I feel there are a few things to keep you up on…

I have graduated with a Bach of Science in Natural Medicine…I am currently going after my Masters…honestly, never dreamed I could make it to grad school…education is good at any age…it does however make you work you rear off- in the end it pays off…

I have been dealing with an area soaked in rain with flooding all up and down the coast…I went back to Anclote River Park…many of the animals have started to return…I had a helicopter buzz me…I got a hoot out of it…there was a tribute to a Captain Mike on one of he islands- I stopped long enough to pick flowers and place them, I did not know him- it just seemed the right thing to do

One of my workouts was done at Wet-n-Wild in Orlando…Walter and Tristan went with me…what a great time…I was impressed with how well it was operated and how clean it was…we had a really good time…I was able to get a Florida resident weekday discount tickets for Walter and I, this way when friends come to Orlando we can meet them over there and I can go over monthly to work out in their pools…too cool

Cherie will be going with me tomorrow to Siesta Key…I called Lance at Siesta Key Bike and Kayak- he is psyched…I have not had a chance to see anyone down there since my trip…I am really looking forward to it

I was asked about how often I am in the water…the answer is 3-4 times a week (weather permitting)…at least 3 times a month I do swim sessions…after a recent attack on a female rower, I have been asked about my safety…I have several panic buttons that call the USCG and police around my person at all times…the boats and my PFD are rigged with security webcams….smile you are on candid camera…I want to go over to the other coast in the middle of August…anyone got any ideas where is cool to paddle over there???

Your Captain D
The Girly Pirate


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Batten Down The Hatches

Greetings to you,

A couple of days after I got home, I saw on the weather we would be getting a few days of rain…my body was getting tight, so I went to paddle before the storm…I went to Hudson Beach with Yum Yum…many animals were about and playing…a mother duck even brought her children to check me out…this is a wonderful inlet with next to no current until you hit the gulf…a quiet family beach and people here are friendly…it is $2 to park, but so worth it…the swim area is rocky bottomed…I had gone about a mile in the gulf when the weather started to change…waves started crashing over my feet and I turned back…I had just gotten everything loaded in the truck when the sky opened up…little did I know it was not going to stop for days...

The rain fell and fell and fell…overnight it went from rain to Tropical Storm Status and her name was Debby…coastal communities were flooding and the rain was still falling…yes, I paddled the storm culvert in front of the house…this coast has become a part of me…I worried over the animals and the damage to the shore…around town tents and carports were crushed by the weight of water…houses were flooding…seeing people step up and help each other was heart warming

When the rain finally stopped, many neighborhoods were closed as were many of the parks…as soon as it was allowed, I was a Hudson Beach…the water looked like glass, but just 2 inches under the surface was another story…it seemed as though I had a different/strong flowing current about every 50 feet…my friend Debby had come with me and she took pictures of my paddle in the air an Yum Yum on the move with the current…even though it was low tide, the water was elevated approx 3 feet above normal high tide…from the sign posts in the inlet I could see the water had dropped by about 21/2 feet…the sea grass beds looked slightly worse for wear…not many animals were to be found…I saw the Momma Duck- her ducklings were missing and I fear they are dead…this was a hard paddle on many levels…I paddle year round on average of 3 times a week with an average of 10 miles or more per paddle- My chest hurt for 2 days…fighting the many currents was fun, but my arms were screaming…This paddle worked my paddle skills- my wide blade was handy…with the current so strong, I used the paddle more like a rudder…I was happy to have the 8 foot Yak- in this situation- it gives you more control…I paddled around the inlet for several hours and thought about how far I had come as a kayaker- my skills 2 years ago would not have been good enough and my muscle endurance was crapp…this is NOT a beginners paddle

I have a friend in that lives in Holiday and I asked her to let me know when Anclote was open…about 2 days later, she let me know as soon as Anclote was open…I loaded Debby into Wilma and we were off…we arrived right after the park opened…the water was a mucky brown…healthy sea grass was strewn about the beach…though it was low tide, the water was the lowest I had ever seen it…the current was so strong…my paddle did not stop for 3 hours…flood waters carry what one might call confused currents and can turn into a bad day very quickly if you are not careful or do not have the skill level…the mullet had returned and a few of the birds…Debby planned to get some sun- only the beach was full of bugs, I now keep the insect repellant in the truck…lol…the bugs were due to the receding water and are not normally there

I am now in my last class for my Bachelor’s Degree- Acupuncture…that has been hard as my computer has gone down twice this month due to humidity ruining some components…clients are playing catch up…so if I am slow returning a call, message or e-mail- please bare with me…do not take it personally…

We are arranging days at Orlando and Cocoa Beach in the next month…if you wish to come and hang out let me know…I will keep you posted on times and places…

I hope you are having a safe and happy summer:)

Captain D