Posted by: supthecoast | April 28, 2011

Fidgeting

Days off. Some people love them. I however care a little less for them. Yes, I will agree that everyone needs to rest. Muscles can get overworked. Everyone needs physical and mental recovery. I have gotten to a point in my life where I am constantly doing something, going somewhere, getting something done, that when a “day off” comes around I cannot sit still, not to mention letting my mind rest. I cannot help but constantly think that there is something I am supposed to be doing. It has been drilled into my head for years that if you’re not doing something, you’re doing something wrong.

So where does that leave me? It leaves me fidgeting. Shuffling around pretending to be busy. And probably driving Mike insane. But he’s a good sport. Before we left on this trip I knew that I had two speeds, stop and go. And I usually don’t like to stop until I am done. So on off days I probably don’t get the well needed rest I need or should be getting because I get so caught up in thinking I should be doing something. Does any of that make any sense?

Maybe I am rambling but at least I am doing something, passing time with my feet up until we get back on it. Some people ask if we are going to just do nothing when we are done and take some time off. I usually say yes but I know it will last about a day or two and then I will have to start doing something. After all idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

With all that being said we have had an amazing stay on one of the hidden gems of the east coast, Bald Head Island. The folks at Coastal Urge and SUP Cleanup have been so welcoming and given us a great place to throw our feet up and relax. If you haven’t heard of Bald Head Island, check it out. It’s an interesting little place that seems to be going just the right speed. Thank you for having us.

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The view of the harbor/marina from the Old Baldy Lighthouse.

Will

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Posted by: supthecoast | April 24, 2011

Georgetown north to Osprey Marina

May be the most picturesque part of our journey thus far!

This stretch is a must see if you are into any human-powered water transportation. So peaceful that you can feel  the pulse of this amazing ICW stretch. No bridges for aprox.40 nautical miles. Gators and Cottonmouth’s are around for sure! I feel like they were to busy looking at the scenery to bother us as we paddled through.

Yesterday was not all good on the other hand. North of Osprey Marina we entered civilization again. Bridges first. Then TRASH! Just when you thought it could not get any worse…… BAM! Boat traffic. Yesterday’s “captains” were passing us full throttle for aprox. 16 miles of our late afternoon push to Myrtle Beach. I have felt safer in an avalanche zone or in the impact zone at Hanalei Bay. Un-real negligence. To much to post here.

Although it was easy to forget once we arrived at Grand Dunes Marina. Matt,Mike,Tammy and Grandson Sean greeted us after speaking to us on our trip north. Corona’s and h2o for all!

Matt works for the marina. He let us take showers and leave our boards for safe keeping. Our host Kelly Weatherspoon for the third day in a row was there to provide all the necessary support.

She took us to Flying Fish Public Market and Grill. OMG! Larry the GM and guru of all things restaurant , took us in and gave us the VIP treatment. Thank you Larry and Staff for making us feel so welcome and special. We are humbled by your gratitude. Mahalo.

The food at the Flying Fish was superbly prepared. Attention to detail and freshness is evident.The kitchen doesn’t have a walk in freezer! It can seat 370ish and no freezer? Can you say FRESH! See you for lunch Larry.

Thank you so much Kelly for making us feel so welcome and special while in Garden City. Again to much to list here!

Posted by: supthecoast | April 23, 2011

The Atlantic Backcountry

Our journey has taken us through the ICW as well as out in the ocean. The two are very different but both have their challenges.

Like the difference between skiing a groomed man-made trail and getting out back and skiing natural terrain.

A groomed  ski trail has levels of diffuculties.As does the ICW. We’ve had GREEN conditions through DOUBLE BLACK Diamond conditions. Some of the largest conditions we have encountered  have been in the ICW. 4-6 ft boat wake with refracting current and chop for miles!

We have also had glassy smooth groomed surface as well,but for the most part,the ICW was  windy, current rich with un-real boat traffic. One day I felt like I was in the movie Caddyshack. The scene where Rodney Dangerfield is flying around in the harbor trashing boats He exclaimed at one part in the scene after he drops his anchor on a sail boat. “Hey you scratched my anchor!” Funny in the movie,not funny from a 17’6″ SUP board.

The ocean has felt like beautiful backcountry skiing I’ve done out west. We have had days that felt like a perfect powder day! You feel like you are the first person to have been there. Just you and your buddy trading perfect turns in deep powder. Going up the Georgia coast was amazing. We would paddle for hours and then days and not see anyone! This felt like hiking into a new peak that may or may not have been skiied.

Now into the SC the Atlantic side as well as the ICW feel like the backcountry. Remote and breath-taking. Ancient old growth forest to the water’s edge take me away to an amazing place in my mind. Untouched except by wind and weather. You can only imagine what the early explorers felt as they found these areas.

I have not taken one moment for granted. Our attitudes are great even in poor conditions. Our bodies are working well and rebound quickly. The gear we are using has never failed us. For all of these things we feel blessed.

* ICW~ Intercoastal Waterway

Posted by: supthecoast | April 20, 2011

Topic of discussion

Which would you rather paddle into head on, wind or current. Discuss.

70 miles in 3 days and cruising up SC may have some weather rolling in the next day or so!

Posted by: supthecoast | April 16, 2011

moving along.

And then we passed our second state.  Georgia.  Check.  If we had blinked we would have missed it.  Or at least it seemed like it.  Florida had consumed our thoughts for so long and just like that we blew into Georgia and out of it.   The coast of Georgia is considerably smaller yet mostly untouched.  Coming onto some of the beaches is as if we were the first.  Uprooted trees resemble a graveyard that is patrolled by the wild boars.  Decades and decades of winds, waves and tides have turned once giant trees to horizontal masses of bleached wood. 

We went almost 40 miles without seeing another person.  We can count the number of people we encountered between St. Simon’s Island and Skidaway Island on one hand.  The day before we made Skidaway we had pulled up on one of the islands to reevaluate where we were, and where we were going.  We were also running low on water.  We had probably about 6 liters left.  This may sound like a lot, but with another 13 miles before Skidaway and almost a half day of paddling ahead of us it was worth talking about.  Luckily as we pulled up, some people enjoying their Sunday afternoon, also pulled up.  Next thing we knew, we had more water.  Thank you.  As quickly as that happened, the fog and wind blew in.  In minutes, the wind had turned onshore and gusting to over 20.  We cut our losses and set up camp for the night.  Skidaway would wait another day. 

That night we would have a visitor, a wild boar.  These are known for just destroying something for the sake of destroying something.  We had thought ahead and hung our bags from a tree and stowed some in my tent.  Mike slept with the machete that night and at one point could smell the massive pig.  It checked us out for a little bit and then let us sleep, as best one could after having a pig come walk through your camp. 

If you’ve ever experienced bugs, midgees, knats, you haven’t experienced anything until you’ve spent a night on the beaches in Georgia.  They are unlike anything we have ever seen.  They attack with a biblical presence and are relentless.  They were our caffeine and got us moving in the morning.  Had it not been for our bug net shirts we most likely would have perished, instantly. 

As we approached Skidaway we made contact with our hosts, Pat Brooks and the Hawes’.  Our land support works tirelessly to set us up with folks and ensure our comfort and an easy transition off the water and we couldn’t be more thankful.  They had come and met us on the water to give us a marine escort to the marina.  It is great to be met with smiles and folks asking if we need anything.  The hospitality they and all the other hosts we have had showed us is incredible., thank you. 

After a great couple days of rest and recooperation we set out again and moved north.  For us, it is bittersweet.  We make such great connections with people but then we have to leave them behind so quickly only knowing that we have made lifetime friendships.  And we move north. 

Weather continues to haunt us.  Today we are sidelined again with a marine forecast saying, “mariners should alter plans”.  So we wait as the line of thunderstorms, heavy winds, and rain push past.  We know that we will get out, we just have to have patience. 

w

Posted by: supthecoast | April 4, 2011

Florida

After a little over a month, with 8 days off, we can see Georgia. At times we never thought the day would come when we could leave Florida behind us. Although we are still technically in Florida I think it is safe to say that we have paddled the entire state and are ready to move on. With a strong wind at our backs and tide ebbing and flowing throughout the day we covered 28 nautical miles and arrived at Fort Clinch State Park. And now as the sun begins it’s descent to bring another day to a close a storm looms on the horizon. We may be grounded here for an extra day tomorrow, but even if that does happen we are still done paddling in the state of Florida. To this point so many people, mostly strangers, have helped us get here and we cannot thank you all enough. We really cannot describe how much it means to us. Thank you Florida.

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Posted by: supthecoast | March 31, 2011

Mother nature

Over the past couple days we have had the opportunity to both celebrate and curse the surrounding environment. Some of the coolest things we have seen have been just recently. As we came north through Mosquito Lagoon we had to stop a few times because of cloud to ground lightning strikes all around us. Luckily someone was kind enough to let us take refuge in their car until it passed over. And we pushed on. Not too long after, we came across multiple manatees. These ones though were not as used to human contact as others have shown to be. Without warning, an explosion would go off just yards away. The explosion being a violent thrashing of the manatee’s tail. Later that day we would see another manatee floating on it’s back enjoying a drink of rain water falling from one of the docks. As our day was coming to an end, we witnessed a dolphin swimming next to us completely entangled in a net with little for us to do but watch. It was quite the afternoon of watching a collision of man and nature.

Yesterday morning we praised the weather. The wind was at our backs and the current carrying us north. In a little over three hours we covered 16 miles. Soon though the wind changed and we stopped for lunch. Later an onlooker would tell us there was a tornado warning. This was no surprise as we saw the building clouds to the west. We pushed on. The sky got darker. Sprinkles began to fall. We had paddled another four miles at that point and came to a boat ramp, so we called it a day. Not five minutes later a storm blew through unlike anything we had ever seen. Lightning strikes, 50+ mph gusts, palm branches flying horizontal through the air, the boards needed to be tied down, and a sideways downpour all left us in complete awe. It lasted for about ten minutes or less but was truly awesome.

This morning we woke to more lightning, more tornado warnings, and drenching rain. We’ve been watching the weather channel all morning and may be able to get on the water this afternoon. Just a few days and we may be able to check Florida off the list, if mother nature allows for it.

Posted by: supthecoast | March 26, 2011

The upwind paddle

If you have ever done an activity outside in the wind you know how awesome or terrible it can be. Sailing, kite boarding, wind surfing or just flying a kite that is the shape of a bird,its awesome.

In windy conditions ~ golf,frisbee,or jogging can be an awful challenge. For most of this trip we have been paddling up wind and sometimes against 3 knots of current. When the wind blows in your face you can not stop paddling for one second. If you do,you may be pushed back to where you were 20 minutes ago in seconds!

Stand up paddling in the wind is usually timed so you go with the wind , swell and current. Our trip doesn’t allow us to get in a car and drive 30 miles up wind and let us get blown back. Being self supported we must , every day ,start where we left off and just go. Unless it’s not safe we must go!

Imagine if you a runner. You have bought the newest and most hi-tec running shoes. You leave your house and run for a few miles on pavement. Along the way, imagine you come to knee deep mud. Just lets say for what ever reason you must run in that knee deep mud for about 25 miles to finish your goal. Or you have a fancy road bike and you ride that bike with no air in the tires for 100 miles. Thats what we feel like day in and day out.

It is very hard to push through the pain and frustration that mother nature throws you. We could stop. Pull out and camp comfortable ANYWHERE! We don’t.

I go to this place in my head. Its a place where men and women are standing up for our freedoms. So day in and day out WE STAND UP FOR THOSE THAT STOOD UP FOR US.They have no choice to just pull over , stop and get a nice warm meal and a place to sleep. They just keep going . So do we.

Posted by: supthecoast | March 22, 2011

wind,current,sun and chop

The Grand Canyon of The Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek is 225 miles of amazing river tripping. In 2000 I paddled the river, raft supported for 21 days. The river flows down stream at about 8000 cfs (cubic feet per second). The year we paddled had additional flow from above normal rainfall. The additional rainfall raised the cfs hence raising the volume of the river.

Even with the additional flow it still took us 21 days to move the entire distance. We took 4 days off to do day hikes and dry gear. With motors or just rushing down stream you can of course do the trip faster. But why hurry?

We left Key West March 1. Currently we are in Stuart Fla. About 240 miles from our starting point. Our journey has had nothing but perfect weather.Except for a cold front that blew up 40 knot head winds and huge water spouts that sent us paddling for shore.

Un-like running a river where the flow moves you towards the take out, we have been like salmon running upstream to get to our destination. Wind and current have been trying to stop our progress. And for 6 days of this trip it had us on the beach wondering if we would ever make it out of the Keys.

After 15 days of paddling up wind,up current , with annoying side chop and blazing sun, we have accomplished what seemed impossible one week ago.

Every day I wish we went further. But when I think about the mileage we have done and in the conditions we have done it in. All I can do is smile. And can’t wait to get up in the morning to do it again!

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.

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