Tuesday, April 26, 2011


They say that experience is the best teacher and that you're never too old to learn.  I'm not so sure about that last part, but can attest that the first part is correct.  Jim and I are both getting help from people with lots more experience in some areas than we've had and the help is great.  We received invaluable advice from several sources today about the possibility of taking the inland canal route from Destin down to Apalachicola.  Those more sheltered waters, although used by commercial traffic, should give a good break from the prevailing southerlies.  Two fellow boaters, who Jim met on the web, provided excellent notes on that route.  The owner of Kayak Experience outfitter shop located in Destin also gave us lots of good information.  Another new friend, who is a Facebook follower, launched from Navarre Bridge earlier today, paddled west to meet Jim and then paddled back to the bridge with him.  He's returning Jim's canoe cart to me tomorrow, along with some other small gear that Jim figured he wouldn't need.  That kind of friendship and effort is a real blessing.  We've met some really nice people so far on this trip.  One couple met Jim at the north point of Beck's Fish Camp on his first day and gave him two cold Gator Aid drinks.  While that might not seem remarkable, one has to consider that the husband of that couple, an ex-Marine, amputee, hobbled several hundred yards to his truck to get the drinks.  His wife, who had just finished chemo and radiation treatments, cared enough about Jim to see that he needed those drinks.  When told about Jim's reason for making this venture, they said they would donate to Save the Children in his name.  May blessings cover them as well as the wonderful staff here at Beck's Fish Camp who have been more than kind.  We also received a message from a woman in Nipigon, the town where the journey of Paddle-To-The-Sea began in the book of that name.  The town is on the upper reaches of Lake Superior.  Jim will be sure to visit there when he reaches that point - quite a few miles up the creek yet!  Several people have expressed concern about the canoe in the picture that heads this blog.  It is not the Superior Expedition canoe that Jim is paddling.  Rather, it is a cedar-wood strip-plank canoe which Jim and a good friend built many years ago while we were still living in Delaware.  That canoe carried our family on many a good venture.  A picture of IBI arriving at Beck's Fish Camp last week is shown in an earlier posting on the blog.  In answer to another question about IBI, the canoe Jim is using on this venture, Jim does have a canoe skirt, much like the ones used by kayakers. He has been using it when going into the headwinds and bow splashers here.  Ibi is an 18' fiberglass canoe that was built specially for him by Superior Canoes in Lyons, Michigan.  Jim had her topsides done in bright yellow as a visibility tool.  She shows up well on the water.  He and Ibi should be at Ft. Walton Beach sometime tomorrow.  The local newspaper there, the Northwest Florida Daily News is going to try to meet up with him to do a piece on his venture.  For the night, Jim is near the Navarre Bridge.  Please keep him and this great venture in your thoughts and prayers. As members of the Seven Seas Cruising Association we always adhered to the maxim, "Leave a clean wake."  That meant leaving no trash - figuratively, spiritually or literally, behind us.  Paddle easy everybody and remember to support Save the Children as you can. 

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