I was on the water at first light. The early morning makes the sea look different; the water had a dark blue tone like the paint on an artist’s pallet and the shimmering swirls of red and orange in the dawn horizon could have been brush strokes from Van Gogh himself.
As predicted, the north wind was strong. I started in a Southeast heading knowing that the drift would carry me in the right direction. I aimed for the only thing visible in the horizon, the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant. I was very happy I had them as a marker to guide me. For the first 20 miles they were the only thing visible once the land to the north faded under the horizon. The water deepened on the middle of the crossing, the waves picked up and I found myself surfing from one swell to another but having to brace hard to keep on heading; the sail on a strong cross beam reach makes the boat want to weather cock. The GPS showed that on my first 25 miles I averaged 5.67mph! Late morning after completing the crossing I made a south turn but stayed some 3 miles from shore to avoid the shallows. Even here though the water is only about 4 feet deep at most, and I could see the sea floor almost the entire time. It was all sea grasses, but some stretches had considerable boulder fields which made me uneasy with the thought of scraping a sharp rock at high speed.
When I was level with the channel markers that go to Homosassa, I checked the time and saw that it was not yet 2pm. I decided to aim for the original target, the marina on the Weekiwachee River. With a straight downwind run, paddling got more relaxed, but I kept the same quick pace, and arrived at the Marina before 5pm. I didn't see very many good places to camp, and no bathroom on site which would have made disposal of nature's refuse somewhat awkward; I headed upriver to Mary’s Fish Camp.
Please Consider Buying an Item to Help me Keep the Site Funded
I stepped off the kayak and could barely bend my legs. I didn’t land anywhere the entire day. I made my way towards the camp reception where a lady was at the counter. “Hi, I spoke with Mary on the phone yesterday to let her know I would arrive by day’s end. Is there still a place for me?”
“You Did?! Mary’s been dead for over a decade,” she said in a spooky voice. “We do have a shed where you can spend the night. Hopefully you have something dry to change into. It's going to freeze tonight.”
That was good enough for me, even if Mary’s ghost was haunting the place. Today was the longest day yet (I keep saying that...) 53 miles! A personal record for me for the most distance in one day. I was exhausted.
Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation