Monday, December 28, 2015

Hail Me Mates

Hail and Good Day to You,

            The year of 2015 has been productive…eighteen donation drops in twelve months goes above and beyond our goals and hopes…at the Sunshine Paddle we are so thankful for all of those who have helped make it so special- our ability to give is because of what you do for us…it was really amazing to be the one to make the drops, a really humbling feeling…

            The birth of 2 Notch’s baby was so special…the kayak breaking in the middle of 25 miles during the paddle was a challenge…The Blue Springs and Exotic BirdSanctuary were fun appearances and I learned a good deal…Crystal River, WeekiWachee, Hudson Beach and Anclote were great places to practice and build skill…SunWest and Grand Prix were not only great appearances but, a lot of activity…a great year

            Onward to 2016 we go…we are looking for a new kayak…sit on top 14L or bigger and not yellow…our 5th Paddle will launch from Hudson Beach on April 20th at 6 am…Our goal last year was one donation drop a month- I would like to continue the number of drop but, enlarge the amounts…if you have a kayak for sale or want to join me on the Paddle or would like to donate…I am always thankful for help
May you have a great New Year!!!!
The Girly Pirate



Monday, October 26, 2015

Endless Summer


            It has been a long summer. So much has happened and we have grown. The excitement grows when we think of the amount of people we have been able to help in their hour of need and the number of children that are safer is heartwarming. I am so proud of all who volunteer and donate. I am thankful and blessed to be the conduit that facilitates such good works.

            We have been busy practicing for next year’s paddle. The Weeki Wachee is a great place to learn paddle control, speed and endurance. The five miles is a beautiful backdrop for such a workout. I was called to Crystal River by a friend because 2 notch wanted me. My heart stopped to know a manatee thought of me as such a good friend. I was so amazed. Anclote is the place where I can feel the pirate blood pump in my veins. Sam the eagle likes to ride on the front of the kayak. This is a beautiful place with loads of wild life. The dolphins like to play with me here and I enjoy their company.
Hudson beach was calling my name and I had to answer. I got to see 2 notch and her calf and Sam the eagle. I paddle into the gulf from here and got to play with a dolphin pod who have recently settled in the area. Always fun to be had. In September, I turned 50 and we celebrated at Sun West Park. I made a new friend with an osprey who felt he needed to hang out and observe the humans (lots of laughs). I also found a new secret spot on the Hillsboro River to put in. It is closer to the gulf so there are much fewer gators.

It was a great summer to make appearances. The Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary is a wonderful lively place in Hudson. Every parrot needs a Pirate. The birds were happy, clean and clung on to me. This was a visit that was all of that and a bag of chips. The Grand Prix in Tampa was really entertaining. Feeling the wind whip across my face as I sped around the track was wholly exhilarating.  The whole crew had such a good time.

Donation drops are why we are here. So far this year we have done one drop for Pasco County Parks and Rec, one drop for State of Florida Parks and Rec, ten drops have been made to Sunrise of Pasco Battered Women’s Shelter, three drops went to the baby shower for indigent mothers held at Atonement Lutheran Church, and four drops at the Helping Hands Food Pantry to help people of our local and state level communities. The website we maintain is to give hope, help educate and to bring a positive note to our global community. Donations are always a blessing time, money or goods. We are an all-volunteer staff and no one gets paid but, we do have a lot of fun and it is nice to watch whatever we give have a direct effect on so many levels. If you wish to donate to us, we have a PayPal account under

What are you doing to make your space better? If not you, then who? If not now, then when? Please take time to reach a hand out for those who need. If you can’t please give a hand to those who do. Over the last 20 years we have watched the once mighty fall. The aid you give, may be the help you or a loved one may one day need. Think about it.
Carry On,
Captain D

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Giving it Away

Ahoy Mate,

            The paddle being extra hard this year took a good deal out of me. It took almost 2 weeks to recover, I am not as young as I once was….lol. Many things are going on. The Blue Horizon has been sold to young Britney who will be making a 100 mile trip to survey and raise money for river clean up. It killed me to do it, but I could no longer ride in her due to my hip. The Horizon has gone to a good home with an awesome purpose and a great new owner- I could not ask for more. I am looking forward to obtaining a new sit on top.

   Our fourth Donation Drop went to Sunrise of Pasco. For in-shelter we brought a check, diapers, sheets and sippy cups for the kids. For shelter workers we brought 2 bags of pens and many prizes that will be given in office to brighten spirits. For the police we brought in phones cases with super protection or extra battery life for them to aid shelter clients. We also dropped off 2 bags at the thrift shop along with half a truck of cardboard. To see how happy this made the workers was an amazing feeling- in the end we have become part of the healing process:)

            As a new experience we went to Blue Springs Park in High Springs. We drove down a long sand road and the woods opened up to the most beautiful spring. The fish came over to check me out while I was snorkeling. This is such an amazing place with crystal clear water and a great deal of bio-diversity. We got neat video.

   Donation Drop five was at the Helping Hands Food Bank. It was a blessing to be able to help. We brought them a check and a bag of dog and cat treats. The woman who runs the pantry has started to worry as she has been collecting to put together backpacks for the kids getting ready for school. To help here is humbling.

        I have started collecting for the holiday challenge. We have also added to the website with an updated ‘Friends and Supporters’ page. Yum Yum has been sent out for repair and then she will be given back to her owner. I will get to see one of the best kayaking trainers in the world, Mr. Greg Pflug from Adventure's in Florida, in the next few weeks. Then it will be time to paddle Ft. Lauderdale again and maybe a run to the keys. I am so stoked:)

Your Captain,


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Paddle 2015

It started like any other big paddle…the two weeks before, everything that could go wrong did and then some…my husband had to work so, my receptionist would see me off…the forecast called for crappy weather…many were counting on me so I had to at least try

When we got to Hudson Beach…the sky was black and clear…the water was smooth as glass…I told Dale, if I got past the rocks, I would complete the paddle…once I shoved off, I knew my next stop was Durney Key

I passed the rocks and headed for open water…it was high tide and though the water was like glass, it seemed to have quite a bit of movement…the dawn broke behind me and I was treated to a special surprise- 3 different views of the same sunrise…this was really amazing…it is here a pod of about 15 dolphins started swimming with me…the babies were so cute...I was in awe of how close the momma dolphins allowed them to get to me...

Suddenly, the waves began to build…I started to paddle hard for Durney key…the clouds were getting lower and lower…it was here the strap for my seat broke…problem: if I lean back even slightly, it would push the seat back into my milk crate and push it off the boat…the power equivalent of one stroke was now 10 strokes…Durney Key was now in sight

It was still not raining when I got to the Island…walking around to eat my sandwich, I saw a horseshoe crab and sea turtle…calling Dale, I found out it was already raining on land…at this point any shore point was going to take just as long and the dolphins had been good company so, I told Dale that I would continue…I tried to fix the seat to no avail and I shoved off

Dale was so worried, he tried to keep an eye on my from land…the rollers were picking up and unhooked part of the milk crate…so I was now trying to paddle while holding onto gear…my back screamed in pain…the dolphins would come and balance me so I could arch my back…amazing creatures…

Dale was waiting on the shore and got me to the truck as the rain came down…my sugar began to crash so, he stopped and got me baby food bananas…it was late when I got to the house and my poor husband was worried as it had been raining on land all day…he brought me in the house and took care of me…my arms and back hurt so bad…to make our community a better place, it is worth it…another year with another successful paddle:)

The Girly Pirate

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Kickin at the Stall Door

Hail and Good Day Me Hearties,

          My nerves are starting to climb as we draw nearer to the launch of the fourth annual Sunshine Paddle. My mind is whirling. I expected to only do the one but, the job of the paddle is to raise money and awareness of domestic violence along with helping the community and the community still needs us. So here we go again.

          Practice has been hard and heavy. I have been to Anclote River and Gulf parks doing training in working with currents. Time in the training pool allowed me to work on stroke technique and reentry. Hudson Beach was so clam it was really a pleasure to do the five miles around the inlet.

          So far this year we have been able to do 2 donation drops to Sunrise of Pasco Battered Shelter. We have dropped off a pickup truck of cardboard to the shelter and the ALC youth group each. We have also dropped a few bags of cans to the food pantry to help feed the homeless. The Children’s Holiday Challenge will happen again this year, we have started collecting. We hope to do better this year:)

          It is a wee bit jumpy I am feelin. I wish I could afford a bigger sit on top but, it will not be for this year. Yum Yum will be making the trip with me. The Horizon is 17’ but with the damage in my hip, I just cannot do it. I wonder about the weather. Will I be able to secure enough pledges? I set up a pledge page and hope people use it. Any long paddle (even the best planned), has issues- did I think of all possibilities (Zombie Apocalypse- Zombies can’t swim, in my yak I will be fine…lol). I am trying to keep my mind busy or the rabbit hole would suck me in.

          Rose Bilton, Cathy Cooper, Judy Gavinski, Walter Rooney, Paul Cooper, Dale Thrall, Chris Bilton, Greg Lee, Greg Pflug and I make this happen. No one here gets a paycheck. We wish to make the community a safer, happier space and hope you will join us in this endeavor.

Carry On,

Captain D
The Girly Pirate

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Big and Beautiful, 2 Notch

Speak to me your tidings,

            The salt water was calling my bones and I needed to write in the log, when the phone rang. It was Mary calling to tell me that the manatee who thinks I am her pet (2 Notch) was hanging out by her property. In my e-mail was the pic of the big girl- guilt at its finest. It did not take long before I caved in and agreed to come. I got ahold of Crystal River Kayaks and they had no problem squeezing me in.

My husband reluctantly went with me as it was about to storm that day. The trip from my house was 2 hours and we left at 6 in the morning. We grabbed breakfast at Mc Donald’s and enjoyed the journey. I was excited to be on my way to see my friend, I had missed 2 Notch and was glad to know she was okay.

After getting our kayak and hitting the water, life began to feel normal. When we paddled and got to 3 Sister’s Springs, we saw the amount of snorkel people- I was thankful fish and wildlife had shut down the springs. I looked over all the Manatee I could see but, could not find her. We paddled over to the nursery and none to be found. The storm clouds began to fill in so we began to paddle back. I was a little disappointed. Suddenly the familiar tap on the bottom of my boat. It was my Big Girl. She had brought many of her friends and family. I sat still as they all played around me. Then I saw 2 Notch swing around and push her pup forward for me to see. I began to cry, the baby is beautiful and looks healthy. I got video of 2 Notch’s Surprise to share with you.

On the way back, I felt light as a cloud. Walter and I made several stops to act like tourists (lots of laughs). This coming week, I will be in the water between the Smith Islands all the way up to Hudson Beach. I will also be making an appearance at the Pasco County Fair Rodeo on Friday- Hope to see you there.

Good Day to You,


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Recap of 2014- Amazing

Ahoy My Brethren,   

          I am happy you have come to join me in celebrating a wonderful year with us here at the Sunshine Paddle. We have accomplished so much with the help of so many- really it is staggering when I think about. With people from 18 countries working together, many women and children are much safer.

          The start of the year found us working on our goal of practice and pledges for the paddle of 26 miles down the coast of Pasco. My graduation with my Master’s Degree was one of the happiest moments of my life- as a person with Battered Women’s Syndrome I was told this could never happen for me…it was not easy, but got done with a 4.0 GPA. We made an appearance at Gumbo Limbo the sea turtle hospital and the Dolphin Research Center. Spreading love, awareness and learning from the top people in the state.

          The 26 mile paddle was amazing. It was deeply spiritual session and nature showed me how wonderful she can be. The manatee, 2 notch, joined me for part of the paddle. Shortly after she left, Fred (the shark who thinks I belong to him) came up and swam with me until I got to Green Key. The weather was all a sailor could want and then some. By Dutchman Key the dolphins caught up with me and we played all the way to the park. I was blessed. With one Kayak we raised $750 in cash and goods, this was split the food bank and the battered women’s shelter and we were even able to get a bonus for some of the workers. I am so thankful.

          The summer found us calling for people to post us pic of them cleaning a beach near them. I took 3 different groups to 4 different beaches to clean up and we got over 200 pictures of others cleaning. I was blessed that Cathy has allowed me continue use of Yum Yum and practice helped keep me sane as my doctoral classes required more of my brain. Upon my return from residency, I was faced with Necrotizing Faciitis and red tide- we were terra bound. I learned to play tennis whenever I cannot get to the water to keep my muscles moving.

          My health presented real challenges. At times, I got angry knowing the person who created this situation walks without pain and does not have a brainstem issue- as I breathed in that pain and anger, I exhaled and let it go. All my being angry does is create problems for me, this is not an easy concept to learn but necessary to heal.

          The holiday challenge was taken on to help 3 families, it seemed simple enough until we realized how many needed help. In total we had 5 toy drops in 3 different countries, several Publix gift certificates and the original 3 families. All of my crew worked hard and was impressive to watch- no one at this charity gets paid, we do it to bring up our community on a local, coastal and global level. With one Kayak we raised over $3900 in cash and goods.

          As the year drew to a close, a final gift was made to the shelter- a new cannon scanner. This way it can be used for women to make a cyber-copy of their important papers while they are in shelter, in case they have to move quickly. This is a way to replace them until help can arrive and take just a little bit off the shoulders that carry so much.

          We welcome 2015 with open arms. Taxes are almost complete and practice continues. We now have new water video cameras. April 20 will be the Paddle of the Pasco Coast and next month we will be putting out pledge sheets. In March we will have a meeting to discuss the holiday challenge.

Carry On,

Captain D