Day 278

04/26/2012

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Daily Miles: 18
Total Miles: 2,519
Fish Caught: None

I had good intentions of getting an early start this morning, but that didn’t happen.  It must have been the wind that kept lulling me to sleep all morning, because has been howling all day. I woke up around mid-morning and got on the water before eleven where the wind was behind me for the first hour and a half. A fellow named Mike who has a docked boat several miles north of me  has been in contact this week, so my plan was originally to paddle the roughly twenty five miles there and spend the night on his boat and possibly get a shower. However, he alerted some of his friends in the area that wanted to meet me and I got an email from one of them this morning. His friends Roy and Peach Hubbard live in Richmond Hill, Georgia and she informed me that I would be fighting the tide into the night just to get to Mike’s boat, so she offered to pick me up just off the Intracoastal on the south end of Ossabaw Island at a friend’s restaurant dock. 
So I called Peach early this afternoon and we set it up. Up to then the paddling had been pretty good, but for the next three hours I ended up fighting the wind and the current, so by the time I got to the dock a little after five I was tired and in a bad mood. Luckily, Peach and her friend were there shortly and I locked everything up before leaving with them. The owner of the restaurant where Mike’s boat is docked had been told I was coming and had offered to feed me on the house, so Peach and her friends all took me down to Fishtails restaurant. By then I was in a much better mood and we talked while eating. I had a ribeye steak, shrimp, cheese grits, hushpuppies and a Caesar salad, and ate it all. Afterwards, Roy took me back to my kayak to get my maps and then back to his house. So I’m now showered, full of food and ready to sleep in a bed. My hammock hasn’t gotten as much use in the last month and a half, but you won’t hear me complain. Should be an early start tomorrow. 

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Locked my kayak to this restaurant's floating dock this afternoon
 

Day 277

04/25/2012

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Daily Miles: 27
Total Miles: 2,501
Fish Caught: None

Tom drove me to the boat ramp at a quarter to seven this morning where I loaded my stuff shortly before the sun rose. Without the sunlight it was a little chilly this morning, so me and Tom sat in the van until the sun peeked over the trees. With some sunlight I said goodbye and paddled north. There was a little bit of a breeze today, but it was a good day of paddling. I saw several alligators for the first time in a long time but wasn’t able to get a picture. This afternoon the wind picked up and I broke out the trusty sail for the last hour. I landed around five o’clock on the north end of Sapelo Island where I quickly sat up my hammock and bug net. The deer flies have been everywhere today, but they didn’t bite me until I set foot on land. So I spent the majority of remaining daylight in my hammock plotting out my next few days. I did have a pretty sunset about an hour ago. 

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Chad Robbins seeing me off yesterday when I didn't actually go anywhere
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Camping on Sapelo Island
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View of the sunset from Sapelo Island
 

Day 276

04/24/2012

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Daily Miles: 0
Total Miles: 2,474
Fish Caught: None

This morning I got up and prepped all my gear before I said goodbye to the Hirsch family and Tom took me down to the boat ramp mid-morning. Chad met us there and as soon as we stepped out of the van and looked at the water, we all knew that I wasn’t leaving today. Back in the shelter of the island it had been relatively calm, but back on the marsh it was blowing upwards of twenty mph from exactly where I wanted to go. So, Tom dropped me back off at the house and I proceeded to get some blog posts up and pictures up on the website. The family took me with them to lunch at Chick-fil-a for lunch and I spent the afternoon working on stuff and getting some more rest. Melissa made chicken pot pie for supper, so I’m stuffed and happy. Back to the water tomorrow. 

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The Hirsch family left to right: Annolita, Emily, Austin, Melissa and Tom. The little boy is their youth pastor's son that they babysit
 

Day 275

04/23/2012

1 Comment

 
Daily Miles: 0
Total Miles: 2,474
Fish Caught: None

With all of the weather moving through this weekend, the backside of the system has arrived today with strong winds out of the northwest, so I didn’t go anywhere today. I had high hopes for getting some posts and website updates done today, but instead I fell asleep midday and napped. So I didn’t do what I intended, but I think the rest was much needed. Anyway, we went to a small Italian restaurant in town for some pizza tonight with Chad and his wife Christie, before walking around the pier and visiting a local coffee shop. In addition to the wind, the temperatures have dropped, so it is a lot cooler and less humid than the last week. That’s all I’ve got for today. 

 

Day 274

04/22/2012

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Daily Miles: 0
Total Miles: 2,474
Fish Caught: None

I woke up around nine this morning and had breakfast before Tom drove me down to Winn Dixie to get groceries. Chad met us there because when I got to St. Simon’s he told me that he wanted to buy my groceries for this week, so after ten minutes I had picked up the few things that I needed to fill out my food supply. Apparently Chad thought that I was going to starve because I just simply didn’t get enough food, so me and Tom had a good laugh at him.

After checking out we ran by their house again before going to church at the St. Simon’s Community Church. Before service they introduced me to the youth pastor, Justin, as well as the senior pastor. Before we went into the regular service Justin had me speak briefly to his group of junior high students. After church we headed for the mainland and spent the afternoon with two other families, where we had fish tacos, beans, rice and salsa. It was also an occasion to celebrate for one of the guys, Duane, who was just promoted to chief in the Coast Guard. The rest of the afternoon was spent in conversation, telling stories and getting to know some great folks. We just got back to Tom and Melissa’s house, and it’s late, so looks like it’s time for some sleep. 

 

Day 273

04/21/2012

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Daily Miles: 0
Total Miles: 2,474
Fish Caught: None

I woke up several times before daylight this morning, but I finally got up a little before six because I hear some rolls of thunder. After checking radar I saw that there was a thunderstorm on the ocean side of Cumberland Island. The forecast got worse as the day went on, so I knew that to reach St. Simon’s Island I needed to get an early start to beat the weather. As I got up and packed my kayak, the no see ums attacked me and about drove me insane. They were biting all over me and getting in my nose, mouth and ears, so when I finally shoved off the beach I was sweaty and covered in bites. It was honestly one of the worst mornings I’ve had. The first thing to cross was St. Andrew’s Sound, which took almost an hour. Luckily, the thunderstorm missed me, so I paddled all morning without getting rained on. 
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Storm moving off to the northeast of Jekyll Island
I spent the first part of the morning behind Jekyll Island before crossing St. Simon’s Sound. Around ten-thirty I finally came to the Mackay River section of the Intracoastal behind St. Simon’s Island where I met Tom Hirsch and Chad Robbins on their kayaks. Tom emailed me last week to let me know that I had a place to stay in St. Simon’s if I needed, so I took him up on it. When I met them we weren’t far from the boat ramp, so we slowly paddled back and I finally began to truly feel the exhaustion from paddling fifty-seven miles in twenty-eight hours. We loaded all of our yaks and my gear before making the short drive to Tom’s house where I got to meet his wife Melissa and kids, Austin, Emily and Annolita. The first order of business was a shower, then laundry, then lunch with the family, Chad and his wife Christie. After eating lunch and getting to know everybody, I laid down and ended up taking a three and a half hour nap. That was one of the best naps I’ve had in a long time. I woke up at five and went to dinner with everyone at a local barbeque joint. I had brisket, ribs and Brunswick stew, followed by a fried oreo, which was awesome. Afterwards we walked around town and went down to the pier before getting some ice cream as the thunderstorms started moving in. I can honestly say that this was one of the fullest days I’ve had in a long time. 

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Tom Hirsch paddling out to meet me
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Chad Robbins paddling out with Tom to meet me
 

Day 272

04/20/2012

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Daily Miles: 41
Total Miles: 2,474
Fish Caught: None

I woke up a little before sunrise this morning to get an early start on what I planned to be a long day. I took the Intracoastal north of Jacksonville all morning, fighting current at times, until I finally found a favorable tide behind Amelia Island, the northernmost island on the east side of Florida. Around three I came to the north end of the island and stopped at a small marina on a tidal creek to wait for the tide to turn. I cooked an early supper and put a full charge on my laptop before heading back out around quarter to six. I crossed the inlet and the Georgia/Florida border a little after six, officially completing the state of Florida. I am proud to say that I’ve seen the entire coast of Florida! 
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The town of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island
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This cargo ship was from Istanbul
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An old fort on the north end of Amelia Island
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Crossing the Georgia/Florida border
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South side of Cumberland Island
Anyway, the first island in Georgia is Cumberland Island, which is almost twenty miles long. I timed the tide through the evening so that I would have favorable current for the entire length of the island. For the second time this week, I paddled into the night, following the blinking of the daymarks on the Intracoastal. It was a long twenty miles, but I had to do it tonight because my goal for the weekend is St. Simon’s Island. A little after midnight I reached the northern tip of Cumberland Island and after dragging my kayak up the beach found two trees to hang my hammock. I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow. 

 

Day 271

04/19/2012

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Daily Miles: 4
Total Miles: 2,433
Fish Caught: None

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Looking towards the St. John's river from camp this morning
I ended up sleeping in this morning due to the exhaustion from last night. By the time I got up it was raining and kind of windy, but the rain finally stopped so I tried to get on the water. The tide wasn’t right to take the Intracoastal immediately north of St. John’s, so I decided to take the St. John’s river inlet to the ocean side and catch the current north. However, after a couple of miles I realized that the wind forecast was wrong and that the wind was northeast, which would mean really rough water on the ocean. To boot, another rain storm was moving in, so I pulled off the river into the Morningstar Marina in Mayport, the coastal town outside of Jacksonville (it’s where the big Naval base is). I spent this afternoon in the ship’s store charging my electronics and watching several rain storms pass through, so I finally decided that I would get nowhere today. Late this afternoon I went to a little hole in the wall type of seafood restaurant and got some supper (a shrimp burger) before coming back to the marina for a little while longer. Finally, I caught the tidal current back to the same island I camped on last night and set up camp once again. As I’m writing there are Navy helicopters flying over ever few minutes, which they have been doing all day. Also, on a side note, the tides have started getting much larger as I’m heading north. 

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The Naval shipyard in Mayport
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Morningstar marina
 

Day 270

04/18/2012

1 Comment

 
Daily Miles: 35
Total Miles: 2,429
Fish Caught: None

We left David’s house around seven this morning and he dropped me off at the Cat’s Paw Marina around seven-thirty. After saying goodbye I loaded my gear, but the tide was not right, so I spent the morning putting up blog posts. Around eleven-thirty I walked down the road to Chick-Fil-A for some lunch, where I ran into some old friends from Ohio of all places. We caught up for a few minutes before I went back to the marina, where the tide was finally becoming favorable. I shoved off around one and by one-thirty I passed the inlet and started picking up some serious current. 
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Golden eagle; these things are massive!
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St. Augustine from the water
Timing the tides paid off big time today because the next inlet is about thirty miles north near Jacksonville on the St. John’s river. Usually the inlets are closer together and I might have to pass two or three in a day, which is a roller coaster of riding the tide and fighting the tide. So today, I paddled all afternoon with current and made great time to the cutoff canal, where I found myself around six. The current was minimal in each direction, so I paddled at a normal pace for a couple of hours, passing hundreds of personal docks on the canal. A little after seven I passed a house that had a dog barking at me and a couple of folks sitting in the back yard. When they saw me they stopped me and asked me where I was going. When I explained they got all excited and wanted to know if I needed anything. The guy that stopped me was named Rob, and after talking for a minute I took him up on the offer of a cold drink. He left for a minute and I talked to the neighbors and some of their friends; when he came back he had ginger ale, Gatorade and water as well as some packaged crackers and an apple. Today was about making time, so after saying thank you I paddled off. 
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Rob and friends
The sun set around eight and I just kept paddling, mostly due to the lack of a decent spot to camp. However, I couldn’t complain too much because the current started to pick up as I got closer to the St. John’s river, where the tide was ebbing. I had good light from several bridges and the light pollution from Jacksonville and ended up paddling until almost midnight. I got rained on twice tonight, soaking me to the bone. I finally landed on a spoil island about a half mile from the St. John’s river, and I’m cooking some soup before I’m sure I will pass out in my hammock. It’s been a long day. 

 

Day 269

04/17/2012

1 Comment

 
Daily Miles: 17
Total Miles: 2,394
Fish Caught: None

I didn’t wake up til nine-thirty this morning, which I think was due to the long day yesterday. I got on the water a little before eleven and had current for most of the day. I did run into the current a few miles south of St. Augustine, so I spent a couple of hours in the middle of this afternoon paddling hard. I finally reached the overpass that connects the city to the beach and paddled up a little creek to the Cat’s Paw Marina. After checking with the office, I was told that I could keep my kayak there while I got some much needed groceries, and could even keep it overnight if I needed. I only had about an hour until they closed, so I called up David again and we made plans for him to pick me up for the night. I got together some gear, locked up the yak and moseyed down to a nearby Chick-Fil-A for some much needed food. I hung around for awhile and used their wifi before walking down to the grocery store to restock. By the time I got out of there it was almost eight, and shortly after David showed up to pick me up. He took me back to his house where I got to meet his wife and two kids before taking a much needed shower. I have an air mattress for tonight, so I’m pumped. They also have two dogs and a teapot pig, which is one of the most awesome things ever! It’s house trained and everything! However, I did leave the door ajar to the room I’m sleeping in and she got hold of my toothbrush and chewed it up. That’s a first for me, having my toothbrush stolen by a pig.

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Black snake I found crossing the canal today
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Cat's Paw Marina; some real nice folks here