A Thin Line

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Silver Lake Primitive Camp Site

What separates us from the Atlantic Ocean is a thin strip of land. At night, in camp, we can hear the sound of the waves crashing on the Atlantic shore. Sounds pretty violent. We’re glad we aren’t in the caldron of sea water over there.

Just hearing the breaking waves makes us flashback to Keywaydin Island when Jim snapped his paddle landing in the surf. Bad memories.

Condensation covered our rainfly’s this morning. It makes the job of packing up the tents messy since sand sticks to anything wet. We do our best to brush off the excess before stuffing them into the hatches.

Off we go. Another spectacular morning. The water is very shallow in spots and brackish. We can see the swirls of fish all around our boats and of course the dolphins are out in force.

A large tugboat approaches us and is putting out a giant wake. Normal since their bow is flat instead of flared out. The water from the wake sprays over our decks and we manage not to flip. Gotta love them tugs….

Silver Lake Spoil Island is home tonight. We gather plenty of firewood as soon as we land. Our ritual is to get a campfire started right after dinner (dark) then sit around and relax before hitting the hay. Nothing like the smell of smoke permeated clothes. Gonna miss that.

Advance Around,

Jim and Marc

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Boating Rules? What Boating Rules?

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Raccoon paw prints were all over our yaks this morning. You could trace their steps as they scouted for any morsels of food. Thank goodness they didn’t damage the deck bags or chew through the hatch covers.

Today was marvelous. We paddled with a south wind and the tide in our favor. It makes such a difference.

We stopped by Veterans Park in Daytona Beach, FL to top off our water supply for tonight. All the homeless guys came out to watch us land the yaks and take off again.

Marc had his first “Bad Boater” encounter of the entire trip. A fellow and his wife were fishing along the shore and tried to block his path with their boat. Words were exchanged and Marc tried to explain the rules of boating in a most excellent way (let your imagination run wild here). Jim was too far behind to hear this conversation and later said he was sorry he couldn’t get in on the action.

Paddling on….. We enter the Tomoka Basin. There are a series of spoil islands that stretch the eastern shore. We stop at our designated spot- a sweet little cactus island. Another 17 miles in the books.

We are rapidly advancing on St. Augustine where we plan to take the last zero day (and motel stay) of the trip.

BTW, Jim’s foot seems to be getting better. It’s still swollen but doesn’t hurt as bad. He is now know as “Old Hot Dog Toes”.

Advance Around,

Jim and Marc

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Jim’s Swollen Left Foot. Spider Bite? Maybe.

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Big Foot and Silicone

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Spoil Island at Mile Marker 1386

So many schools of fish swam under our kayaks today. Some big red fish too. We paddled past the shark bite capital of the world-New Smyrna Beach. Didn’t see a one.

The weather is nice. Blue skies and moderate temps. The silicone treatment of the spray skirts worked well. Bead of water are now running off the neoprene rather than soaking in. This should last us the rest of the trip.

We are trying to figure out an easy access location for a possible motel stay in St. Augustine. No luck so far.

The Municipal Marina suggested Anchorage Inn and Marina on the east side of the ICW. Tried calling but can’t get anyone to answer. Our friend Gus is researching some other options. He’s a guru at finding places!

Side note: Jim got some sort of insect bite on the top of his left foot a couple days ago. It’s pretty swollen. He put an ice pack on it yesterday and has been taking Benadryl. His new nickname is “Hop Along”.

Advance Around,

Marc and Jim

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Cold Weather Gear Swap

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Voted “Best Sign Seen” So Far

The weather is changing as we paddle further north. The night temps have dropped and the daytime highs have too. Some of this is probably due to the monster cold front that caused the latest massive snow dump along the east coast. The bitter end of the front brought some pretty impressive winds on the water in Florida too. Wow!

Our gear guy, Barney, drove to Titusville, FL so we could swap out gear. We’ve notice our spray skirts (Seals Extreme Tour 1.7) are absorbing more water than repelling lately and eventually our clothes become soaked over the course of a paddle day. Being wet and cold is not good. Hypothermia is a risk in these conditions. Our solution to the spray skirt issue is to use some silicone spray on them in hopes it will get us through the last 100 miles.

We continue to paddle during this gear swap visit. We are almost in the two digit midget countdown zone (thanks Warren J.)

One big surprise was a visit by Marc’s girlfriend. He had no idea she was coming and she was waiting at the hotel. He walked right past her before finally noticing her. A jaw dropping experience. A shoutout to neighbor Bob A. for being in on the ruse.

Advance Around,

Marc and Jim

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Cupid Started Out Using a Paddle

The park ranger at Manatee Hammock was so nice last night. They have a fire regulation that says you can only have a fire that’s off the ground. So they rent a metal fire container for $10 for you to use. Wood was another $10. Out of the question for us.

After dark the ranger rode up on a golf cart and delivered a fire container to us for free! A camper left early so they thought we could use it. Wasn’t that nice? We gathered enough downed wood and palm fronds to have a rip roaring fire before we hit the sack.

We woke up to 38 degree temps. The high today was in the mid 60’s. Chilly paddling when you factor in the wind and being wet.

We are stuck doing low mileage because of the way the available camp spots are spaced out. Drats! Tonight we are at the Titusville Spoil Island.

Tomorrow our gear guy, Barney meets us so we can swap out gear and get some cold weather clothes for the remainder of the trip. We will continue to paddle everyday.

Happy Valentines Day!

Advance Love Around,

Marc and Jim

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Hug the Leeward Side, Avoid the Fetch!

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Cape Canaveral

We experienced the most violent storms of the trip last night. The front rolled in with a vengeance. The wind howled and palm trees shook. We could hear stiff snapping and breaking around us but luckily nothing pierced our tents. Then the lightning came. Wow!

Our tents held up marvelously. They bent over a couple times but popped right back. Yeehaw! What a ride

As soon as we got up the next morning we checked our SeaTow app for the marine weather report. There’s a wind advisory in effect until 1900 hrs. West winds 20-25 knots with gusts to 30 knots. Small craft prone to capsizing it warns. Hmm…..

We eat a hot breakfast and decide to risk it. All we have to do is make it across the channel then hug the west shoreline. We hope it will provide enough of a barrier against the wind.

The middle of the channel was the worst. Rough chop and water crashing over the decks. Somehow we made forward progress. Once again dolphins surface just a few feet in front of the yaks. They love the churning water.

The shoreline offered us some relief. We paddle so close we actually pass under most every dock along the way.

There were only two other times we paddled into the fetch*. That was when there was a jetty like section of land coming off the shore. Getting around was a pain.

Tonight we are at Manatee Hammock Campground in Titusville, FL. They have a laundry and hot showers. We also walk 1.3 miles and grab some Chinese food and stop by a Publix grocery store. You have to work for everything you need on the trail.

Oh, our campsite is directly across from Cape Canaveral. We can see the Vehicle Assembly Building across the bay. Cool!

BTW, we have been watching news reports and following the Twitter feed about all the snow our hometown of Charlotte, NC is getting. The roadways are gridlocked and the Governor has declared a a State of Emergency. Our thoughts go out to everyone back home. Stay warm and safe!

Advance Around!

Marc and Jim

* Fetch
1. The distance across water which a wind or waves have traveled.

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Things That Go Bump in The Night

The twisted and bent branches of the trees above our tents made eerie sounds last night. The slightest wind caused them to screech and moan. Reminiscent of a Halloween scene.

A pack of raccoons wandered through camp around midnight. You could hear their grunts as they surveyed the area for food. There was none. Eventually they moved on.

Since we were camped right next to the roadway we heard cars and trucks all night long too. Not conducive for sound sleeping.

Morning came and a blanket of thick fog covered the water. We decide to pack up and head right around the bridge to a little park. There we will cook breakfast and refill our water supply.

By the time we finish eating the sun has burnt off the remaining fog. Conditions are very calm. Good.

We only have about 9 miles to paddle today. Short yes, but it will allow us time to get in camp and setup before a big storm front pushes in. The forecast calls for thunderstorms later.

Just after setting up out tents the winds pick up. There are white caps and rough chop on the water. Glad we made it.

Advance Around,

Jim and Marc

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Living Near a Bridge

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Our view tonight and tents in the deep thickets

The sounds of dolphins blowing greeted us this morning. They came in packs to feed near our island campsite. The island is shaped like a comma with a submerged sandbar tail. This creates a natural barrier for the dolphin to herd fish into. Watching them hunt for food is always amazing.

We got a south wind and some good current today. That propelled us toward a little stealth site we scoped out on Google Earth days ago. It’s near the Pineda bridge. Virtually secluded from the roadway. We set up our tents in a thicket of trees. Just enough space. The beach is minimal.

Up the steep embankment and across the road is a restaurant where we enjoyed Chicken Augusta. Our bellies full we walked to a convenience store to get Gatorade and some fresh water to stave off the dehydration of late.

Tomorrow we have a short paddle to a spoil island. Thunderstorms are expected and the temps drop. Always good sleeping in a warm sleeping bag when the rain comes.

We continue to “run the numbers” trying to nail down when the likely finish date will be. Looks like the last weekend in February. Maybe February 28 or March 1? Who knows? Too many variables.

Coordinating all this gives us a headache in more ways than you can imagine…

Advance Around!

Marc and Jim

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Headed North Again

Micky Capp, the owner of Capt. Hiram’s stopped by to see us off this morning. Nice of him to do that. The skies are full on Carolina Blue. There is some wind but manageable. We only have 12 miles to go today before reaching our camp spot.

The ICW in this section is very wide. Hardly any boat traffic out. We can see lots of opportunities to stop at convenience stores along this stretch. We don’t need anything but it’s good to know.

We arrive at Spoil Island BC38. It has a picnic table, pedestal grill, and a couple fire pits. Plenty of firewood too.

We get here in plenty of time to dry wet clothes out. Yes our clothes get wet despite the spray skirt. It’s the result of wave/wake action splashing onto the skirt then leaking in the cockpit while paddling. Nature of the beast.

Some locals show up at the island in a large cruiser. They fish and plan to picnic here. Otherwise the island is all ours.

Advance Around,

Jim and Marc

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Great Stay at Capt. Hiram’s

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Taking a zero day at Capt. Hiram’s was a good call. This is a gem of a place. A kayaker’s dream really. They have a beach next to the dock where you can secure your kayaks on some rocks. Even better, request to stay in the motel with room numbers in the 500/600 range and pull your kayaks right up behind the building ( just north of the dock). Easy launch in the morning.

All the staff here have been super friendly and accommodating. We can’t say enough about the dockmaster-Tom. So helpful and full of information. We hope to get this added to the CT guidebook.

BTW, there is a Walmart Supercenter a half mile away and some fast food places nearby too.

Shoving off tomorrow. We planned out the next week of stops. All of this is dependent on wind, weather, and current. Looks like we get one more motel stay before reaching the finish point. Stay tuned.

Advance Around!

Jim and Marc

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