Start: 7:15 AM- New Port Richy
Finish: 3:15 PM - St. Petersburg
Daily dist: 32 miles
Total dist: 1800 miles
Weather: NE 7 mph
Notes: A nice tailwind and warm enough to take my jacket off. Re-entered the Intracoastal, nice to have a sheltered water option again.
The sleepy feeling could be coming from a bit of lack of mental stimulation too. I’m softening to the idea of paddling with an I-pod and some music. At first I said I wanted to be able to hear animal noises and waves and such. But after 1800 miles of paddling I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t miss too much by wearing some ear phones. I’d probably keep the radio turned off for the first couple hours when I could enjoy the morning calm and the peaceful silence that comes with that. But later in the day, when I’ve exhausted my own mind games to keep myself busy, it’d be nice to have some sort of distraction. Beyond that, as people suggested before, earphones and music would block out the constant blowing sounds of the wind the next time I’m beating against a crossing or head wind.
Because the weather was finally nice there were also a lot of recreational boaters out today. Without exaggeration I believe I saw more non-commercial boats in use today than I have in the rest of the trip combined. It meant I had to watch out for the increased traffic, but the friendly waves I got from passing boaters was worth it. I can understand why so many people were boating today. It was a nice day, sure, but this area is also a very nice place to see by boat, especially a kayak. Calm clear blue water, big fancy houses to look at, even dolphins playing in the bay. What I really found intriguing were the spoil islands to be found along the dredged out Intracoastal Waterway. Spoil island is a terrible descriptor for what are really beautiful little islands with white sand beaches and shade trees. There are dozens of these islands spaced out along the channel as it winds its way through the interlinked bays that make up the Intracoastal. All day long I kept imagining myself putting my kayak in at a boat launch and paddling a short mile or two to take a nice long nap on a nice little island I’d have all to myself. Lord knows if any of the locals do that but I know I would… at least I would have today being so sleepy and all… How much fun would it be also to do a simple overnight trip on one of those islands too. Your own private island surrounded by glowing city lights. Pretty cool. There aren’t a lot of places that have places like that - where else can you get away from it all while you’re in the middle of it all.
I had made plans to paddle a few miles past my normal eight hour goal but as the clock struck 3:00 I came upon a Mc Donalds (full of juicy hamburgers) located right across the street from a very easy take out. So right at the eight hour mark of 3:15 my bow hit the beach and I quickly changed clothes and emptied my boat so I could sneak over and get a bight to eat before Russell came to pick me up. Based on the labels on the wrappers, the two hamburgers and two cheeseburgers I washed down with a coke put about 1200 calories back into my tank. It was a good start.
From the take out Russell took me back to his shop to show me around and pick up some of the gear that had mailed in for me. My 20 degree sleeping bag to replace the 0 degree bag I’ve been sweating in lately, a skeg wire to replace the one that got bent in the houseboat incident, some food from home, and a mail drop (bills of course). Russell’s shop is an intimate little building bursting from the seams with everything you need to get out on the water, most importantly the knowledge and training that Russell can provide. It’s a true paddling shop run by people who are passionate for the sport. As it should be.