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Part 2 Jan. 5th - Day 16 - Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation

Updated: Jan 29

Around Florida by Kayak

A cold front moved through in the night, and through the early morning hours all I could hear was rain and wind. I wondered if that would be a good excuse to stay another day, but I was anxious not to fall behind schedule. Sleeping in a warm bed for two nights was softening my resolve; I dreaded the thought of setting foot outside and dreaded how cold it would feel to put on my damp boots. Fortunately, when I did walk outside the front had already passed, and although it was windy and cold, at least it was sunny, and lifted my spirits.

I got a late start as my two camp choices were either a close camp not too far up the river, or one too far to reach with daylight. I chose the closer camp so it will take me 3 days to reach the put-out point at Trader Hill. Even so, the river meanders a lot near the sea, and distances that are short as the bird flies are far with the river flow. I traveled only 8 miles west of St Marys, but covered almost 20 miles of river, and at one point was paddling due East around a large oxbow. The color of the St Marys River is dark red like oxygen rich blood from the arteries. I cannot see even half a foot deep into it. When the paddle strikes the water the light penetrates a little deeper and makes ruby colored whirlpools. All kinds of creatures could be hiding down in the depths, and sneak right under my hull, and I would never know they were there. It was too cold to do a roll , but I’m sure if I went under water, it would be as dark as the silt laden Shube River in Nova Scotia.

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The campsite was under the State Road 17 overpass. I was fortunate that the concrete pavement extending to the water I saw on Google Earth was indeed the boat ramp I thought it was; that made landing easy. I was greeted by an old man with missing teeth fishing off the boat ramp next to his pickup truck. I thought this was a strange spot to fish as it was the proverbial middle of nowhere, unless it’s a secret spot where the fish bite a lot, but he said he hadn’t caught anything all day. As I was scouting a place for the tent, he lost one of his lures when it tangled in the marsh. He must have been either lonely or needed to vent his emotions like a customer with his trusted barber, because me being there was his cue to tell me the story of his life. His name was Karl, 68, born on December 1st in Tennessee. Recently he went back to work as a car repair man because his daughter’s husband is a dead beat and he has 3 grand-kids to keep a roof over their heads. There’s a lot of age discrimination in the car repair business; he said he can repair any vehicle no matter how bad the crash it’s been in, but he gets constantly asked in job interviews for when he graduated high school which is coded language to screen off elderly applicants. Once he answered 196F.U!!! And walked out.

After 30 minutes of him talking and the sun close to setting he finally packed up and went his way, much to my relief to finally get to pitch the tent.

Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation


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