Jim checked in at 1:40 pm today after a paddle of over 12 miles; beginning his run from Windley Key at 7:50 am. The group was "treated" to 20-25 knot westerly winds, and 1-3 foot running seas. Most of the trip was in the lee of land. However, the last mile or so of today's trip was all "uphill," after crossing westward under a bridge and heading back north to the camp site. The group of 68 paddlers stopped for lunch at Indian Key, a very small island, which used to hold a community of shipwrights and carpenters (with possibly some wreckers thrown in the mix). Jim said he had no trouble at all getting to sleep last night, after an 18-mile paddle, despite Jimmy Buffet music blaring from loudspeakers at the resort and palm fronds thrashing about overhead in heavy winds. Tonight's camp will hopefully be a bit quieter, in a Boy Scouts of America base camp at the south end of Craig Key. Tomorrow's paddle with provide somewhat of a challenge, being in open water for over two miles without a land barrier to block the wind. Jim says he's just taking it one day at a time, trying to at least stay in sight of the faster group of paddlers making up part of the contingent. Tomorrow's destination is the south end of Long Key. A piece of inspiritational writing dear to Jim is the following:
Some years ago when I had little or no money, I thought I would sail about and see the oceans of the world.
Whenever I get grim or springfull; whenever I feel like knocking peoples hats off and escaping; whenever it's a dank, drizzly November in my soul, then I know it's time to get to sea again.
Choose any path you please, and ten-to-one it carries you down to water. There's a magic in water that draws all men away from the land, leads them over the hills, down creeks, and streams, and rivers to the sea.
The sea, where each man, as in a mirror, finds himself. Ishmael
To each of you, enjoy the journey!