Had light breakfast and took off for Key Largo. I am beginning to realize after all this time that my eyes are bigger than my map coordinatese
Stopped in the shallows of Card Sound to take a salt water bath. Better than smelling like 4 days if grunge. Washed my clothes too.
It was late by the time I made the bridge. Tried to make next bridge but current said no. Went back. Talked to Monica who suggested Short Key
Well her map and mine showed same island.
Had dinner at Alabama Jack’s where I had to ignore a table of drunken girls.
Went back to bridge and set up camp
Thought it would be a good spot. Unfortuanately the idiot’s that fish at night can’t get it in their heads that if none else caught anything there all day they aren’t either.
So sleep was sporadic to say the least
Slept. Sporadically between pain, planes and boats.
Had breakfast plus 3 aspirin, packed talked briefly with 2 fishing kayakers before heading out. I headed to Key Biscayne National park
Ran over a 5 ft shark in 6-8 ft of water. I think it was Jabberjaw as I kept.going my way he took off the other.
I am camped on an island within the park.
I ran out of time and energy to make the park office.
Leg is doing better but still hurts to straddle the yak.
CC picked me up last night in Scott’s jeep so we wouldn’t have to transfer everything.
Today Scott will drive me to Miami to launch off for the final leg.
CC came along to see this Portage to the end. We stopped at a diner for a hearty breakfast and then set out for Miami and the boat ramp.
I had to buy 6 bottles of water on top of the 2 Scott gave me.
The kayak was ready. I wheeled it down the ramp and she just wanted to keep going. As I tried to stop her my left foot slid on the slime while the right stayed put. I am too old to start doing splits, my left knee got scraped on the ramp and my right leg bent at the knee and I fell on my ass. It was immediately that I felt the pull in the back of my right leg. I rubbed it but it was painful. I could bend my leg but I opted to scoot up the ramp before attempting to stand.
I got the dollies off broken down and packed away. Now can I get in the yak. Straddling the yak was painful but I got my leg in. This was not going to be a good paddle day.
I made it to Virginia Key in Miami harbor and set up camp.
Aspirin and icyhot were called for.
Met a fellow veteran this morning who recently heard about Mission22. I gave him my last bracelet which he gave to his girlfriend who had just lost her son to suicide.
Turns out he was one of the active duty personnel who has committed suicide. He was Navy on board an aircraft carrier.
She was still taking it hard. I did get a chance to discuss it with her knowing it was hard for her to talk about I was cautious and gentle and chose my words wisely. When I saw here getting emotional I would stop and let her take the lead on if she wanted to continue or stop. We wanted to talk and I listened intently to what she was saying. It is difficult for a mother to talk about the loss of a child especially to tragic reasons.
I saw her again a few minutes ago and she said karma brought you here first us to meet. God wanted you here and to talk to me.
I have been getting this reaction from a great number of people who I have met along my journey. I guess people see or sense something in me or abouy me that let’s them open up and talk to me about their loss. They always seem to be more at ease and peace when we part.
I am just realizing that the mission has been more than just raising awareness in that I have helped a number of people deal with their loss and better understand it.
One man one mission to save thousands has taken on a new meaning.
Karma works for the good and I am her tool.
On the journey side a fellow ambassador is picking me up tonight and taking me to her home for the night, then tomorrow it’s off to Miami.
For the final leg.
Launched from the RV park after talking to the owner and thanking him for letting me stay for free.
Sun shining, calm seas, no wind the yak wants to glide so the rhythm can be slow.
Saw some manatees shortly after starting. This will be a day of many sightings. I saw one with propeller cuts on it’s back. It made me sad that people can be so heartless and cruel to such a gentle creature.
I finally found the Haulout Canal that goes to Indian River that will get me to Mims and Titusville. Lots of manatees here. There it s a small cove and boat ramp, there were about 15 there.
The wind picked up and the river had 2-3 foot chop made crossing a little difficult. I found a sheltered spot and called the KOA about a site with late arrival. After a few good laughs and getting my bearings and possible take out spots discussed I headed for the railroad bridge.
My luck when I got there there was a current running 3-4 knots on the north side and a rip about 30 feet deep and long than the bridge on the other. Already tired from a day of paddling I had to make a choice back up and rest an hour or go for it. I stayed on the north side until I got to the end then went under the second opening. The chop in the tip came from 2 directions head on and behind from the bulkhead. Well it was a bouncy trip hard paddling and rudder control but decided to go 45° to get out if it. Got into a little calmer water and started to look for a take out. The mangrove on the edge is thick and ended up paddling to Titusville to a boat ramp.
Started messaging people for a ride. Then I met Charlie and son Charles who were launching their boat. He said if I was still there when they returned they would give me a ride.
I talked to a few people at the marina about Mission22 then my trip. Then Charlie and son returned. They bought me dinner before finishing my ride to the KOA. Thanks af as in guys your help and dinner were greatly appreciated.
Camp set up n good night.
Well my alarm went off at 6 am and it was still dark out. I broke camp and packed the yak. I rolled it to head of the ramp and waited for sunrise.
The was talking to a local who thought the incident was ridiculous as the ramp is open 24/7. He is going to talk to the town about it.
I paddled a little over an hour and found a sand bar around a bridge pulling. I stopped and made oatmeal for breakfast.
As I got a ways down the AICW I came across a number of RV parks. NO TENTS. I finally found Lathrom’s Landing RV Park. I got to speak to the owner and he set me up with a free place with electric. I am actually sharing a site with some nice people..
I need a good night’s sleep.
Kayak fixed brother is Portaging me to Daytona Beach. I will launch and head for Titusville.
Fighting 15 20 mph headwind and 1-2 foot chop all day. Made a public boat ramp in New Smyrna. Tstorms rolled in while I was cooking dinner.
Didn’t see any signs that said I couldn’t camp and the ramp is open 24/7 so I set up camp to catch some sleep. At midnight I was woken by the police telling me I can’t camp there. After much discussion they let me stay but I had to be out first light.
I had to take out the deck line fittings then sand the pockets. I sanded the bow deck so I could add a second layer of cloth larger than the first one.
A quick run to Ace for cheap paint brushes and Publix for milk, poptarts and goldfish.
Mix resin and applied to bow, pockets to and bottom. Glassed bow and pockets
Waiting for first application to harden then I will apply the second.
Final will be to drill holes and reassemble.
Well the phone insurance company rejected part of my documentation so I have to try and get a hold of an agent yet they provide the same phone number as the one that is a recorded message telling you to go online. This should be frustrating to say the least.
The clothes in one of my dry bags smell musty so I will be washing the clothes in all 3 bags today.
I will be working on kayak repairs today. A whole lot of hand sanding as the damage is in the wells for the fittings.
Well the insurance company rejected my driver’s license as it is expired so I had to get a new phone but I had to pay off the old one which over drafted my account.
I won’t get paid until the first so I am screwed.
To all the people who I have met and are following me on this blog that are in harms way of Florence. I pray and I hope that you are all safe and doing well. That you all realize that life is more important than property and if you need to evacuate that you did so.
I would like you all with me when I get to the finish of my mission and help me celebrate.
You are all in my thoughts until this storm is no longer around.
I wish you all the best.