Kay now has a new Perception Tribe 11.5 (an 11.5 ft. sit-on-top). And ah, she fits it so well. Turns out that Kay is the natural paddler... she has named her boat The Ladybug
Kay in her new boat on Lake Virginia, Winter Park, FL
Since starting this adventure on the waters of Florida in August we now tally 21 outings. Some as brief as an hour, and some up to four or five. From the Saint Johns River near our home to the Silver River and Silver Springs near Ocala, Lake Jesup (one of the Saint Johns' lakes) to part of the Juniper run in the Ocala National Forest. From being followed to landing by a manatee, who sat off shore and watched us load up, to first gator close encounters on a vegetation dam on the Silver... and get this... we bough a trailer :)
We now own a Malone Xtralite trailer. Makes life sooooo much easier, particularly with Kay's 58 lb. boat. Between the trailer and the roof racks we can haul 4 kayaks with ease.
My 65th birthday is in late March of 2018 -- about 15 months from now, and I am publicly committing to set out from the headwaters of the Saint Johns and paddle at least 280 of her 310 miles to celebrate having made it that far, and to celebrate our river. We'll be developing ways to draw attention to this precious resource AND participate in river cleanup all along the way. I'll be looking for friendly and experienced Florida paddlers to join me for stretches of the trip (already have 5 or 6 folks committed). Kay will paddle portions with me as her back allows. Not certain how we will approach it, though it will probably be is 4-7 day long sections with breaks between. Planning is just starting. I have the support of Jane D. (first woman to kayak the entire length of the Saint Johns), and her husband Jim D. -- a former outfitter owner and guide with 51 years experience on the water (and my primary mentor and source of inspiration). One or both will be joining me for most, or even all, of this bucket list adventure. So this blog will focus on trip planning and preparation going forward. Longer open-water paddles, getting in shape at 64, first attempts at kayak camping, charting, gear requirements... boat requirements, getting folks involved at all levels. Many ideas to sort out and solidify. So stay tuned! Big fun ahead. Suggestions from the already initiated are welcomed!
So I'll end for now with a few photos from our November Silver Springs paddle. Enjoy, and keep the clean water running...