Thursday, December 21, 2017

Recovery Time


My next doctors visit is in January for the stingray puncture…I am hoping to get permission to get back in the water…the wound traversed ¾ of my foot at the forward, bottom of the inner ankle…who knew one tiny critter could do so much damage…

It is with great sadness and heavy heart we observe the passing of Senior Officer and Crew Member Judy Gavinski…a great paddler…she inspired our work to aid families in times of crisis…her being a retired teacher pushed us to do for the teachers and students…her smile and advice will be greatly missed…

It was a productive year…in 2017: we had a wonderful paddle – even Skyped with the UK from Durney Key…personally, I obtained my patent and have gone through 2 of 3 of my defenses in my journey to my PhD…many new friends were made, and we got to paddle many new areas…great memories

I look forward to the 2018 Sunshine Paddle...

Carry On,

Captain D


Saturday, October 28, 2017



I have been getting several messages asking about the paddle…let me answer your questions and fill you in with what is happening.

Last year, I worked a part time job to provide for the paddle and much of what we gave away…I did not mind but, the job ended…it made me sad.

Personally, I have been working on my doctorate and a patent…both of which have require intense focus and concentration…they have been my sole thought since the 2017 Paddle…both processes are getting ready to wrap up.

With no local volunteers currently, I have had to do everything…so, at the moment paperwork is behind and I am trying to catch up…there will be no holiday challenge this year but, we plan for it to return next year…we continue to practice…it has been slowed due to an injury from a stingray…nothing bad, just a slow finish for the year.

I promise to post pics soon

Captain D

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Disbursement and Sightings


After collecting the funds…it was time to hand them out…I was busy with my dissertation this year so, did not get as many pledges as usual…still, I was happy with how we did…I know both the food bank and the shelter were happy to get the funding…it is a privilege to help those who cannot help themselves…I felt blessed

Zephyr Park was a fun appearance…war vets who walk the park requested I come walk with them- they wanted to show support in ending violence in the home…it was interesting to hear stories of the world from people who were actually there…great afternoon

Pine Island in Hernando County is every paddlers dream…great launch, bathrooms and an outdoor shower- paddler haven…lol…it was amazing to note the vast dichotomy of wildlife around the island…I was able to take several children on their first boat ride…it was fun and they got to have a great time…it was like taking a wiggly puppy, thank God for good balance

Honeymoon Island was beautiful as always…the weather was too chaotic to get on the water, it was really disappointing…we did get to walk the beach…the sand was warm and really hydrated from the rain…on our way off the Island we stopped at the nature station…we got to meet Ranger Bill who took time to educate me on the environment that is the Island…really cool

May you have a great summer…

Carry On,

The Girly Pirate

Monday, April 24, 2017

2017 The Kayak, The Woman and The Gulf of Mexico

The Sea Story

I was sure someone would go with me…I had not got an mp3 as I was just positive…out of 6 who tried…none were able to make it…I transformed the kayak from a double to a single…on my way out, I stopped at Walmart to at least get a small sport radio but, they were sold out…at this point I accepted my fate, I was going to be alone on the water for hours with no music…the weather lady call for sunshine and smooth sailing – how bad could it be???

We got to the launch…the last time I went alone was on Yum Yum, Shamrock’s Avenger is a solid 3’ longer…I kissed my husband good-bye…considering Shamrock’s Avenger was made to carry 2 people, I was surprised how easy it was to fall in rhythm and handle…WTG Ocean Kayak…

There was a lot of movement in the water this year…not much time to take pictures, had to keep paddling…Tide was mostly in and the water was clear and around 75f…the paddocks was clam but, moving water…from nowhere the wind kicked up, with no rudder I skipped across the water and into the gulf…there was nothing to do but, paddle…some swells were 2-3 feet…I wonder if the weather lady’s ears were burning…made me think about how wore out I have been feeling the last few month – twice the work and half the distance or at least that is how it has been feeling…before long I could see the houses in the water

When I reach the houses, I know Durney Key is not far…my muscles SCREAM…even drinking water I felt dehydrated…the Key is kind of like faith…even though I cannot see it, I know it is there…the Key comes into view and I thanked every higher power known to man…on the leeward side of the Island, I stopped for a break…ham, mustard and cheese…chips, fruit pieces…Kool-Aid…I called my husband and Skyped with Chris Bilton – had to drop a little Florida sun in Rotherham…The clear glass looking fish were fun to watch

The wind died down a bit…off I went, Anclote was not far now…when I passed by the houses a playful dolphin found me…it was playing and kept jumping over my kayak…at first this seemed cool but, I was worried it would flip me…the dolphin stopped as my friend 2 notch the manatee came to swim with me…I had not seen her much this winter so, it was nice to visit with her

Going down the inlet the wind picked back up and again I was skipping across the water…only this time I was being pushed home…I could see my husband on shore – a great site, I hurt so bad…I was happy to be done…the goal achieved and off to the 50s diner on US19

I am currently collecting donations…I did not get as many this year due to being overwhelmingly busy getting through my dissertation and working…they will be split between the Helping Hands and Sunrise of Pasco…One should continue to think of others even when one is busy… I guess the lessons for me were the blessings of this years paddle

Captain D
The Girly Pirate

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Live Ballast

All hands on Deck,

The paddle approaches…I leave in the morning…it has been a wild ride this year…the training time was burnt up by a young woman who did not take the water seriously…it was sad that she refused to listen – thinking she knew it all, she got hurt…she thought that an open water paddle would be like being in the Weeki Wachee River, just fun and playtime…I do use the Weeki Wachee for paddle training but, it is not open water…she flipped the kayak several times and canceled training several times without a care for the effort or money that was being put forth to get her trained…I felt sorry for her, she missed something really amazing

Being flipped so many times really messed with my head, I became afraid…thankfully my husband continued training with me…he has always had a hard time with open water but, got me back in the kayak and back in open water…he would not let me falter dues to someone’s carelessness…though he is still not big on open water paddling, he can do it and I no longer fear flipping - mission accomplished…

Now I sit here praying for live ballast…I have a tandem kayak and can put a cooler in the front seat for ballast, it is however far better to have a live person…I can paddle the distance without issue, I just need someone in the front seat to sit there, take pictures or video and enjoy the time on the water…this being the last minute, I can only pray

I feel strong this year…working out more and more along with training time on the water, has me in the best shape in years…Day 15 with NO soda…my endurance is really high…I am up to an 80 second plank…I have come so far in the last six years – from an out of shape, 325 pound smoker to an athletic 185 pound non-smoker (5 ½ years)…the journey here has not been easy and the biggest fight is usually against myself – I am worth it…

I was blessed with some of the best trainers in the world (Gunny, RJ, Greg, Kilroy)…my first two years were all about training to be a kayaker…though they were all polite when they met me, I think they never thought I would go this far…I put the time and energy in…driving all over the state to paddle lakes, rivers, the Atlantic, the gulf, the islands…because I did the work, they were willing to help – train me, give me advice and be supportive of me…I gained confidence and have become a strong paddler…the Atlantic coast (Maine to Florida) is no joke – I have paddled in every state with many different people…I always wear a PFD, even when told I do not need to…watching videos and reading books…training time and safety is a must…this means respect for yourself and the water…it is a great sport and has created some great and life changing experiences…

See you when I return…

Carry On,

The Girly Pirate

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Jumping into the New Year



It has been a busy new year…Fort Desoto was a great way to start the year…we laughed when we thought about the hard time that I had climbing to the top just 6 years ago…hard work and dedication have made it so, I no longer even breathe heavy…

Off to Anclote River…this was a great time…we saw dolphins and many beautiful birds…this was Walter’s first time out to the inlet – open water makes him very nervous…the day was overcast but, warm with a nice breeze…

The Weeki Wachee River was loaded with manatee this year…Walter was having fun with the turtles…the Great Egrets did not seem to mind us paddling by…baby gator gars’ were everywhere and it was fun to see fish jumping…

February’s start was a trip to Hudson Beach…the dolphins were putting on a show…we got to test the new camera and equipment…there was so much wildlife it was almost overwhelming…the park is redoing the crow’s nest…this is really a great place to paddle

Siesta Key was disappointing and exciting…I went to paddle and the storm off shore was coming on shore – conditions were horrid for paddling…the exciting news was we were able to skype with Chris Bilton so, he was able to walk the beach with us all the way from England…we brought back so many shells

It was time for a donation drop at Sunrise of Pasco…keeping the shelter up is not easy…our first drop were things to help maintain it…our second drop was ½ a dumpster of cardboard to Atonement Church to help with the children’s group…sometimes helping does not require money, just effort…in the end one feels blessed

March brought us to the Myakka State Park…even with my fear of heights (I have late onset vertigo), I was able to walk the tree canopy…we then went and hung out with the Alligators…on our way back we stopped at Sarasota National Cemetery…All gave some and some gave all – they should be respected and remembered…

Amanda Corkum has stepped up to be my second on this year’s paddle…her first practice was at Anclote…she has much to learn and 30 days to learn it…her first outing she flipped the yak…both Shamrock’s Avenger and I are fine…the dolphins came over to giggle at us

Out to Hudson Beach I went with a one-person inflatable…this was a new kayak that I was given to test…I took it to see how it would handle Hudson’s rocky bottom…it comes with a rudder and I was really surprised how easy it was to use…it was light and took up less than ½ my trunk, this would be great for a person with limited space or transportation…

The Sunshine Paddle is coming up on 4/20/17…we will leave Hudson Beach at 6 am and paddle thru to Anclote River Park…I ask if you cannot join me, please pledge to me per mile paddled…I keep pledge sheets on me or you can message me with: your name, phone number, pledge per mile paddled (max is 25-miles), and address…ALL proceeds are split between Helping Hands Food Bank in Wesley Chapel and Sunrise of Pasco Abuse Shelter in Dade City…Bad weather will only cause us to launch later in the day or a day later – it is just how we roll…we will bring back pics and video…if you are interested please let me know...

Carry On,

Captain D
The Girly Pirate