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