Coming here to Delaware was a good decision, the right decision. It brought perfect clarity to what it was I’d been searching for.
Uncle Stan and Joe took us out for a nice breakfast at the Clubhouse here and then we headed out for a tour of the area. First stop was Lewes, DE and the Ship Carpenter Square. It is a community of authentically restored Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century homes that had been moved here for preservation. Unlike a museum though, these homes are being lived in. It is quite an interesting neighborhood and being an Architectural buff, I really enjoyed the tour here. Continue reading Canada to Key West Paddle – Day 57→
As soon as I had hit the submit button on my blog last night, I got a Private Message on Facebook for a guy named Stephen Black. Stephen was a friend of a friend whom I knew through the internet in a motorcycle group I belonged to. Bryon and I had been friends just since June 2016. Stephen’s message said that he had a condo up in North Wildwood, NJ and it was empty. I called Stephen and within minutes he was on his way to pick me up. I’d been saved from sleeping on the dock at that very last minute. Social Media, when used properly, is a very powerful tool that can truly help people in a positive light, but as with anything, people sometimes abuse the gifts they are offered. Continue reading Canada to Key West Paddle – Day 56→
The day started off like every other, I woke up, but I’d never slept like this before. OK, let me clarify. I’ve camped alone and with people. I’ve camped with my good friend Ben who snored so loud; I’d have to wear my motorcycle earplugs. So when Rich told me last night that he snores, I thought nothing of it. That was, until he fell asleep. In all fairness, he did warn me. Continue reading Canada to Key West Paddle – Day 55→
I awoke with excitement today for today I’d be rendezvousing with Rich Brand in Avalon. Rich left New Orleans in a kayak about seven months ago and is headed north to Maine before he stops for the winter after which, he’ll continue up to the St. Lawrence River and then head over to the Great Lakes and back down the Mighty Mississippi. His trip should take about two years. Continue reading Canada to Key West Paddle – Day 54→
I awoke this morning feeling down, but this time it wasn’t from the paddling or what lay ahead, but today was Lexie’s 13th Birthday. I should have been planning a nice steak dinner for my little girl and not paddling 2000 miles trying to find Life after Death, but she’s no longer here and that is what I’m doing. Mommy and I miss you terribly Peanut. We tried everything we could to help you beat that cancer, but we couldn’t do it. You were a tough little girl and you put up a big fight. Maybe I need some of that fight right now. If you never got to meet Lexie, you can still see how amazing she was on her Facebook Page. Click Here Continue reading Canada to Key West Paddle – Day 53→
I was so lucky to have gotten stuck where I did yesterday. Staying in the Rutgers University Marine Research facility was an amazing experience. First, the place has a Three Hundreds and Sixty degree Million Dollar view. A perfect place to storm watch, catch sunsets and sun rises. Second, the place had giant maps of the area I was paddling and it was nice to see where I’d been and what was ahead and Third, after seeing what I made for my dinner last night, Kim asked me if I was still hungry. Kim offered to make me a real dinner and she whipped up a nice hearty meal of Steak Salad, Chicken with an Almond Paste and Broccoli. We watched the storm blow through as we ate dinner and I was very thankful for being inside during it. Continue reading Canada to Key West Paddle – Day 52→
I awoke early this morning to the sound of high tide coming in. I quickly checked on Lex-T-Sea and saw her moving in the water. Although she was tied off, I decided to pull her up out of high tide and then back to sleep I went. Continue reading Canada to Key West Paddle – Day 51→
After a rough emotional day yesterday, today was energizing. I left the marina around 9:30 am and paddled down the canal and into the bay. As soon as I hit the bay, I checked my route so I could try to find a landmark to navigate to and realized I’d be paddling right across the large open bay. I was a bit nervous about that as there were no real boating lane here so I’d have to watch all around me for large recreational fishing boats to make sure the saw me. I picked a water tower barely visible on the Eastern Shore of the bay and I began to paddle.
It wasn’t long before I was doing a consistent 3 knots where my average is two. I was enjoying the extra boost from the current and just over an hour later I was rounding the tip of the marsh and wildlife preserve that I had to paddle around. The eastern shore was well within my sight now where it was just a blur yesterday.
The marsh was not only long, it was wide and I’d spend a good deal of today keeping it on my starboard side. I had been warned about the “greenheads” here though I didn’t know what they were, I assumed they were nasty flies. Sure enough, as soon as I got close to the marsh, they began to attack. Yesterday, someone on land had suggesting I head here to camp and I could have made it since I stopped early. Today I was glad I didn’t and right now I was paddling as fast as I could to get away from this place.
The marsh goes on forever, but as soon as I had hit the tip, I could see a bridge ahead. That was my goal for today; make it under that bridge. I’ve had goals like that before and sometimes it takes days to reach a bridge I can see in the distance, but today, with the wind and current on my side, I was flying. The hardest part with today’s paddle was the lack of anyplace to stop and stretch my legs. My butt was long past numb, but I didn’t have any options. I took lunch just floating in the bay as recreational boaters circled around me. After lunch I reached the bridge, some ten miles from my starting point, just around 1pm. It was too early to stop so I paddled on.
The homes in the next town I paddled by on the bay were almost all rebuilt after Sandy. Despite this being a Saturday, I only saw two places with people out front and neither looked like they wanted to talk to the crazy kayaker paddling by, I continued on. I had to go around one more marsh that stuck out into the bay.
As soon as I hit the tip of the marsh my heart sunk. There was a large open bay. One could barely make out any land beyond it and everything to my right was more marsh. I can’t camp on the marsh because its just grasses growing up out of shallow water. With no trees to hang a hammock or ground to pitch a tent, I only had one option. Go forward straight across the bay to a tiny tip of land I saw. Checking my chart, the landmass I could barely see would have to be my destination. It was about 3 miles away. I wasn’t sure how many miles I had paddled already, but I was not looking forward to another 3 mile and no sure place to stop, but I had no choice.
The wind had picked up a little here and began blowing on my nose, but I was still making good progress and the land mass started to come into view. If I wasn’t disappointed before, I was now. From my position, all I could see was one large industrial building and about 4 homes. Just past the industrial looking building, I could see the sun reflecting off car windshields and I figured this was a fishing pier. The land was a narrow spit that jutted out into the bay and looking at my map that was all it was. It was my only hope. Depressed, I paddled on.
As I reached the shore, I found only two places to land. I picked the closest one to where I saw a car in the driveway and beached Lex-T-Sea. The industrial building was actually a modern home, but like the house next to it; there was no one home. In fact, all the homes were either abandoned after Hurricane Sandy or no one was there. I walked down to the fishing pier and got to talk to a few people there. I planned on making this my spot after dark so as I waited, I decided to walk down the road and see if there was potential at any of the homes.
One by one, I walked up and knocked on doors. One by one I left because no one was there or the house abandoned. I finally found a house with trucks in the driveway and their windows open. Someone had to be home here, but despite knocking away on the doors, no one answered, I left for the next house.
Unlike the others, this house did not look damaged by Sandy or perhaps it was just fixed up already, but I could see that it had a new sea wall and new dirt. I walked up and knocked on the door. The smell of fiberglass permeated the air around me and was coming out of an open window in the garage. I looked in and saw someone in the back so I shouted inside. Virtually at the same time a tall blonde woman opened the front door as a tall white bearded man opened the garage door. Seeing the man was there, she went back inside and I introduced myself to the gentleman and told him my story.
Dave was his name and he told me about a campground up the road. He offered to drive me up there and take me back to the kayak in the morning or I could sleep here, but there would be no facilities for me. I wasn’t sure which option to pick and he offered to bring me up to talk to the people there. I tide Lex-T-Sea off so she couldn’t float away and jumped in his truck. As we were going up the road he was telling me about a canal that would lead to the campground, but it was hard to get to and would be 3 miles in. That would mean a 6-mile paddle just to get there and then back in the morning. These canals can have swift tidal current and I could use up half my day trying to get back to the bay. I said that a hot shower does sound nice and he then offered me his shower if I chose to stay there. I jumped at the offer and we turned around and went back to his house.
Once at the house, he invited me in for some Air Conditioning and water. It was then that I learned that he does fiberglass work. I’m not sure what the term is for a person who is a Master in the field of laying up fiberglass, but whatever it is, that is he. Dave’s entire house is fiberglass. It took him eight years to build it and it wasn’t rebuilt after Sandy, it survived Sandy with the only damage being to his yard, the dock and some sheetrock in the garage. Every bit of wood here has been encased in fiberglass and inside his work really shines; stairs, railings, trim, even a custom shower stall fully laid up in fiberglass. From the upper floors with a wrap around outside walkway, you can see Atlantic City to the south, Long Beach Island to the East and Mainland New Jersey to the West. The view from here is amazing. He built his dream home, but like me, his dream had changed and he’s now selling it. Click Here to view this amazing home and if you need someone to do fiberglass work track down Dave Fox Fiberglass in West Creek, NJ and tell him Larry the kayaker sent you.
Later on, I joined Dave, his Step Daughter, Nicole her two son’s Chad and Chase and Chad’s friend Justin for dinner and we talked about my trip, life out here and politics. Dave and I had an easy time with politics because we are both on the same page there.
It’s now been fifty days since I began this journey and although I have not spent a full fifty on the water, it’s officially become the longest journey I’ve taken. Forty-Four days in the 1978 VW bus I called Sandy after Hurricane Sandy, was my previous record.
I should be two days out from Atlantic City now. Today I am shooting for Great Egg Inlet in Brigatine, NJ. There isn’t much between that and Atlantic City so I need to stop there and then push onto A/C the following day if the weather cooperates.
I’m right back where I began, well almost.
Today started off perfect. Martha and Steve took Arlene and I to the boardwalk, just a few houses away. I could see Jenkinson’s, on the Boardwalk, but it was the Palm Trees that really caught my eye. Palm Trees! I’m in New Jersey, right? Turns out, they bring them in each winter. Can you imagine what’s involved with moving those trees each winter and where do they actually store them as they need heat and light? After our short walk to the Boardwalk, we walked to breakfast right down the block and then it was time to head out and find a launch site. Continue reading Canada to Key West Paddle – Day 48→
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