Posted by: supthecoast | March 20, 2011

Key Largo to West Palm

For the past three days we have been in “the ditch” or as most know it, the Intracoastal Waterway or the ICW. We finally made it out of the keys, officially. The keys however did not want to let us go without a fight. As with most days we had in the keys, the winds the day we left Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo were a force to be reckoned with. Since we have left we have been paddling upwind with little or no relief or shelter. This day was no different and as we finally got out of the current in Jewfish Creek we were hit with 25 plus knot winds and 2-3 foot seas from the northeast. Perhaps the most challenging paddle of our lives. To that point we had covered about five miles and still had at least another five to go to clear Barnes Sound to reach the Card Sound Bridge where we could get a pick up.

After a short snack and some thinking, we had two options, go or go back. Thinking about a few different things we realized there were a lot of other people in other parts of the world, both at home and far away, that were having much more difficult days than we were. So we went. A little more than two hours later we had made that bridge.

The next day we were fortunate enough to be able to go to the Shake-A-Leg foundation in Miami with our host Richard Hughes. We were also accompanied by Mike Nunnery, one of our sponsors. He would be paddling with us for the next couple days. The people we met at Shake-A-Leg were nothing short of inspiring. Despite everything they are going through, everyone one of them was full of life and ready to sail, kayak, outrigger canoe, or whatever other activity they were having that day. We had the opportunity to paddle around the harbor with some of the kids for the afternoon. Later that day we got to meet Kerry Gruson a journalist whom was attacked by a returning Vietnam vet in 1974 and left as a quadrapalegic. She still sails regularly, even more, races sailboats against able body crews. Kerry invited us out on her sailboat on Biscayne Bay. The control of the vessel she has is amazing. She possesses an enormous lust for life and maintains a great sense of humor. Truly an amazing individual we were so grateful to meet.

We returned to the Card Sound Bridge this past Monday to continue from where we had left off. Once again, wind and currents made for a longer day but like every other day we pushed on. As we did the next day, until we made Miami. From Miami we would enter the ICW, or the ditch. Finally it seemed as though the wind had subsided and we had a day where the chop was not beating us continually. That night we would stay with Kerry whom we had met just days before at Shake-A-Leg where we got to know her even better and enjoy her sarcasm over a cold Corona and some delicious take out.

We have been in the ditch since then and will continue on until it runs out. Jim Balboni had contacted us and helped arrange us a place to store our boards at the Lauderdale Marina and gave us a comfortable spot to sleep at his house and now we are bunking up at the West Palm Beach Fire Department with some of the most welcoming guys around. And can they cook!!

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Each day poses new challenges: where are we going, when will we get there, do we have a place to stay, how much water do we have left, is the tide coming in and the list goes on. The wind is a constant challenge but each day we are getting one day closer to Maine. One day, knock on wood, we might have the wind with us rather than against us.


  1. woohoo!!! I swear, by the end of this you will miss the wind in your face and ears! love reading about your adventures!! have fun with the pelicans! can’t wait for you guys to paddle up here and bring the warmth with is warming up, but never fast enough for me!

  2. I just found you guys! What an inspiring adventure! I love it. I’m in Delray Beach and I guess I just missed you on the ICW. Too bad, I would have been there on the sea wall cheering you on. I’ll be in Portland Maine this summer, maybe I’ll see you then. Keep going, you guys are great!

  3. Hey boys, snow on the wishing well this morning so no whining today! Glad to see you’re crushing the miles and a few Coronas on the way. Keep grinding, we’re all behind and proud of you.

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