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Part 1 Dec. 28th - Day 8 - Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation

Updated: Jan 29

Around Florida by Kayak Map

A lot of rain came down in the morning right as I began to pack the tent. I had just packed the poles when the downpour began; at that point the smart thing was to keep going and hope it didn’t soak too badly for the next night.

This intracoastal ended in a small side channel to the Canaveral Canal that connects the Indian Lagoon to the sea. The lagoon had dolphins everywhere I looked. I must have seen about 8 different pods, rounding up fish. After a while I noticed it was not hard to know where they would break the surface. The pelicans and the ospreys follow the dolphins from above to catch any fish that escapes them, so when I saw a group of birds swirling excitedly around over the shallows, a dolphin was likely fishing nearby. In the ocean, however, that would have worried me; swirling birds are a good sign there are sharks in the water. The Indian Lagoon is an estuary of some sort. The water here turned a murky red when I left the Canaveral Canal and was considerably less salty. This makes sense, the continent side of the lagoon is very far from the ocean. Around noon the wind died completely, and I proceeded just on my own steam for the next 19 miles. It got so hot I had to do cool-off rolls every 15 minutes. I’m still having the problem that the fully loaded kayak is hard to roll due to the cantilevered weight that makes it difficult to swing past the first half of the roll without some good effort with the paddle. I decided that if I need to roll to duck dive a big breaker in the surf I’ll just dip down and come up on the same side.

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I had a nice treat waiting for me when I swung past Titusville. When I was planning the route on Google, I noticed a Burger King within walking distance of a boat ramp; I marveled that just twenty years ago having the ability to plan with such accuracy would have required many days of effort and meticulous research. Now I can do it out of my cell phone during the lunch hour. Things just get easier and easier. I was excited to be getting hot food!

The boat ramp was in a park where people come fishing, families come to picnic, and to my dismay, hobos come to hang out. I thought how an unusual boat like mine showing up on their door would be a fine opportunity to find things to trade at the pawn shop, especially what might be inside those cute colored dry bags that look like presents Santa might leave under the Christmas tree. I chatted up with a family having a picnic to look over my stuff and told them that I would be right back.

At the Burger King I bought as much food as my eyes could devour; 2 cheeseburgers, 2 impossible veggie burgers, a large portion of French fries, and fried mozzarella sticks. Enough energy to paddle all the way to New Smyrna tomorrow, I thought. I also topped off all my water bottles and got rid of the water I had from way back at the Peanut Island which was starting to taste a little weird. I could not find the water button in the soda machine, so my bottles were filled with sparkling water which I hope also meant to be free. I got my food to go and headed back to the kayak while eating the mozzarella sticks as I walked.

The folks I had left the boat with were an African American family. They were three generations celebrating their oldest son who had been accepted to medical school, the grandmother, a lady of some 80 years of age, was mesmerized by my kayak. “Do you fish from that thing?” she asked.

“You could,” I said, “but now I’m more focused on making miles. I came from Miami about a week ago. Tonight, I’ll be camping on that island just out there.” I pointed hoping no one would tell me that was prohibited.

She seemed dumb founded as to why I would be on such a journey. Her facial expression said “some people are crazy stupid,” but the other folks were more than happy to hear me tell them the story thus far.

To be fair, she would not be the first to express that to me. There are people who are restless when confined to one place; it’s why I suppose human beings have reached the remotest islands in the world, and still we keep wanting to go ever farther to the moon, Mars, and beyond. When I was little my parents would say I was someone whose chair had nails as I could never sit still for more than a minute. I was four years old when my mother lost me in Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. I don’t remember why, perhaps it was the sight of the ice cream vendor with his colorful dolly that caught my attention, but I decided to stand up and walk. Mom found me, after what for her must have been an agonizing afternoon, some 4 miles away from home in my speedo holding the hand of the police officer, who’d given me a lollipop, oblivious to the commotion I had caused. She would lose me some three more times before I turned 6; in a public swimming pool, at a shopping mall, and in a theme park. If child leashes had been a thing in the 80s, I would have had one around my neck.

Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation

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