Suwannee River: Branford to Dowling Park

The remarkable river camps along this section made excellent overnight stops.  Equipped with showers, sleeping platforms and electricity, these were a welcome treat after 10 miles of daily upstream paddling.  The sunsets this time of year are fabulous.

A heavy 2″ rain storm rolled in last week so I spent an extra day at the Adams Tract River Camp while the rain drummed down.  I had enough food and water so it was just my job to keep the mind active and the coffee steaming.

After the rain, I found the meadow beneath the oaks dotted with wild turkey and deer feeding on acorns and mushrooms.

These Innocence Flowers bloom between Dec-Mar and dot the river banks and low hardwood forests.  Additionally oak buds are appearing and spring feels like it is just around the corner!


While preparing to go to bed and with my headlamp on, I noticed what I thought was broken glass wedged between the floorboards of the sleeping porch.  Upon further investigation and using a wooden pry tool to extract it, I was surprised to have found a diamond!  This is the second diamond I’ve found “in the wild” since my travels began, the other a silver diamond ring in the forests of east Texas.

In this common tree full of buzzards, I spotted a light colored or albino with white markings. Quite unique.

The historic Drew Railroad Bridge last operated in the 1920’s and has since been left in the “open” position for up and downstream travel.  The rusted relic reminds me of the many aged bridges through Appalachia.

Afternoon thunderstorms sometimes threaten but the faster they come, the quicker they go!

The karst limestone geology of this area allows for the development of sinkholes and springs which bubble to the surface.  While camped at Lafayette Blue Springs Park, I took a stroll down their trail which connects the many springs and sinkholes that pop out of the forest.  The entire network is linked underground by a series of caves which are frequented by divers during warmer weather.

Some of the old relics along the way are worth pulling into the shoreline trees to snap a photo.  Any guesses on what model car this was?  1930’s coupe?

When packing my boat in the morning I have to be extra careful not to squish some of the local wildlife that may take up residence.  The dragonfly mating on my boat’s bow, frogs decorating it at night and turtles and snakes along the shore make me feel like I’m in spring already.  The warmer weather this past week and forecast of more mild temps is really making the days go by more easily.

Having arrived at Dowling Park for a resupply, I’m happily surprised that 113 miles of this river are behind me and a little more than double that to go.  The flood level has fallen but is still in a very high state of flow.  Once I pass the confluence of the Withlacoochee River in 20 miles, I’ll be dealing with about half the flow. though in a more narrow channel. My next resupply and update will be in White Springs, about 70 miles upstream.  Thanks for the support and input along the way!




Suwannee River: Fowler’s Bluff to Branford

The kindness of Treasure Camp’s owner, Duffy, who bought me my hamburger for the night was wonderful.  The folks also had a tasty breakfast and I spent an extra hour sipping coffee with the old timers around the communal table. The boat ramp was closed by the county with sign and tape so I slid my kayak into the water beside the grassy park where I spent the night on the front lawn of the closed motel.  Back in the water, it was clear things were flooded as I was frequently paddling beneath arching live oaks and into submerged forests.

A dense fog advisory blared on the weather radio each morning and often took until noon to burn off.  The cooler pockets within the woods often kept the humid and cold air like a refrigerator and offered nice breaks during the warm days.  An unseasonably warm heat wave has meant days in the 80’s and nights in the mid 60’s for January!  I’m loving it though for paddling.

This bird feeder caught my eye, seeing as it was at eye level in the flood.  From inside a spooked but dry and clever squirrel peered out. This one’s for you Dad!

Folks had told me that red ants float during times of flood.  I didn’t believe them.  One morning at the Joe Anderson Boat Ramp (I have a friend by that name), I noticed a writhing red mound in the water.

The swift current in the main stream of the river meant the flooded bottomland forest often made for easier paddling.  It was almost a game narrowly slicing between vines, prickers and overhanging branches to make a route back to the open water of the main channel.

The wildlife along this section has been rich with many daily appearances of gar in the water, snake sin the trees and turtles on the logs.

A nice oyster mushroom in the wild at eye level.

This nice boat ramp was closed to the public so I was inside the locked fence for the night.  I didn’t feel like anyone would bother me but the few folks who came by to inspect the high river level chatted with me like I was a zoo animal. David Attenborough could have narrated a piece about the Wild American and his smoky twig stove.  The sunset view through the fog was pretty spectacular.

This clever soul put his shed on pontoons!  Now that is a lifetime Craftsman warranty!

Gornto Springs, another closed river park and swimming springs. I paddled right into the spring and up to the shelter for the night of New Year’s Eve.  A sunny afternoon in the mid 70’s was a treat for sure to wind out the end of the year.  I washed up and enjoyed a few podcasts while I cooked dinner.  Later at night owls hooted in the trees and fireworks popped in the distance, sounding much closer over the water.

Last night I found myself at the only bit of dry ground at Dorothy Land Boat Ramp.  The pad was only 6″ above the river but I had a feeling the level was falling and in the morning saw it was a few inches below where it had been the night before.

Historic Branford, FL lies 76 miles upstream from the mouth of the river and is my night 7 stop and resupply.  This is by far the largest town I have come to yet and has all the amenities necessary for a trip.  The steamwheelers once  traveled the Suwannee for commerce and transportation until the railroad overtook them. This old depot stationed sits poised at the intersection of river and railroad tracks, now converted to a Florida State Trail.  The trail brought me to the library and where I now update the blog.

The nitty gritty is this upstream paddling business is HARD WORK!  The gauges show that the river was flowing at over 30’000 cf/s down near Suwannee when I began. Now we’re at roughly 12’000 cf/s on a much narrower and banked river.

Yesterday I passed the Santa Fe River which is ripe with springs but still the current seems to grow stronger.  The river is narrowing into limestone shaped geology and courses swiftly in some bends to where I almost cannot make headway.  Despite the efforts, I have been able to make about 10 miles each day and count on the ample ramps, campsites and stops along the way for a dry camp.  At the moment I’m hoping the slackening floodwaters will assist in my upstream progress but fear that their rate of decrease won’t match my upstream progress.  There may come a point where I’ll need to “phone a friend” to drive me up to the Okefenokee if need be.  We’ll cross that bridge when we get there but for now, I’ll try for 10 miles a day and keep my head held high.  Next update in Dowling Park if I can make it there!

Suwannee River: Suwannee to Fowler’s Bluff

After a resupply in Suwannee from the post office and meeting Debbie, a River Trail Angel, I set off through the canals and Demeroy Crk to the river proper. Currently in flood stage, the river level was high and current swift. Using the eddies and excellent new maps picked up from Visit Florida, I made my way upstream. Spanish moss kissed my hat and turtles sprang from sunkissed logs into the tanin rich water.

Although it was early at only 1pm, the upstream paddling from the island to town and subsequently here meant the only place I could safely reach by sunset that would be above floodwaters was Munden Crk ramp, a public ramp at a private camp. I made my way up the man made canal and found a shallow dirt ramp with one small trailer. Perfect. None of the nearby camp houses on stilts were occupied. Soon some fisherman showed up and displayed their haul of Fiddler Crabs to be used for study by a local university.

They collected around 1000 which was their quota, lamenting the high water levels and difficulty in finding the crab. Once cleaned they were then placed into a cooler with some aquatic plants.

The older of the two crabbers told me about the fish camp which was built in the 50s by a local guy who had the canal dredged. Today it was quiet and I enjoyed the sunny afternoon as the wind blew strong gusts in the cedar overhead.

This old shack at the end of the creek looked like a quiet place to sleep. Just kidding, I set up camp on the dry grass beside the ramp and saw nobody for the next 12 hours. Hoot owls called from high above and we’re answered from afar in this dense swamp and lowland forest habitat.

The screen zipper of my reliable old tent has finally begun to die leaving me with some unwanted holes through which voracious biting gnats and less pesky mosquitoes seeped in. I’m contriving solutions involving binder clips and duct tape but haven’t settled on sewing myself into the tent yet.

Come morning after my Twig stove flickered in the dim twilight and egg/onion taco devoured over coffee, I set out into the water noticing how much it had risen since last night. It was a necessary point each night to locate myself above the flood line!

Water was nearly in the yards here along Munden Creek. Turning onto the main river I slowly made my way up eddies and bends on the smooth but fast river.

Check out this lovely old floating barge home on stilts.

Moored beside it was this boat dock which had such a rustic charm underwater as it sat. A weathered hand carved sign posted 6ft above the dock read “Water Was Here 1946”. Amazing how tough it was.

I calculated about 10 miles a day of paddling with the strong flood current and shorter winter days. Truth be told, I was glad to have shorter days and a bank or boat ramp within a few miles calling each night. A real relief compared to the open coast. Water was up in the trees and some had yet to drop their fall colors by the new year.

Fowler’s Bluff at mile 16.5 was the destination for the night. The boat ramp was ringed with Caution Tape as I paddled up to it and exited the water to the enjoyment of two bikers who had finished their meal. The smell of fry grease floating on the northeast wind meant a thick dinner for tonight and hopefully dry ground to camp on. Inside for a cup of coffee while the afternoon passes in comfort.

Nature Coast to Suwannee River

Where I last left off was a nice break at the Spring Warrior Fish Camp while stormy weather blew through. After a sunny and warm day where the wind howled over 45mph, it grew calm overnight and come morning was favorable for paddling. The nearly full moon meant tides fluctuated 3-4 ft each day and I had to exit the kayak twice on my way out to deep water from the creek. The pilot of the obnoxiously loud 350 cu-in V-8 powered fan boat may be on to something.

Weather warms over the following 4 days and conditions remain excellent for paddling. In my time on the Gulf I have yet to see it so calm and without wind for this long a stretch. The extreme tides however only left me stranded 1/4 mile or more from water once.

Fiddler crabs scurry up the beach

The following day I made sure to wake at 4 am and get on the water around 530am while there was still water in my bay! By the silvery glow of the full moon,I pointed my bow toward Mars rising in the east and admired the bluish clouds reflected in the mirror of saltwater. Ahead of me a sound like water running over a shoal sounded but never grew closer. My headlamp failed to illuminate the hazard yet my ears didn’t fool me. Suddenly with a woosh, the flapping of wings and beating of water revealed the mysterious sandbar to be a startled gaggle of migratory ducks. The blueish coming of day slowly overcame moonlight as the lights of Steinhatchee grew dimmer against the pine forest of land.

Shallow draft crab boats heaped with pots raced out from the mouth of the Steinhatchee River on a falling tide that combined to give me a workout heading across it. At a 45 degree angle I ferried across to an area of slacker flow and then set south for Bowlegs Point. In the book Four Months in a Sneakbox, Bishop stops here in his duck boat and recalls his meeting the Chief Bowleg who was so drunk he could not entertain the author.

There were many fishing boats and even a few kayaks plying the shallow waters between Pepperfish Key and the now extended shore at low tide. In the distance my next town to pass was Horseshoe Beach which, after two hours of paddling, drew along my port side and then passed by. Instead of stopping here for Christmas eve, I’d continue two more miles to the cedar and palm covered hammock campsite at Butler Island. Arriving just before sunset, I cried with joy at the sight of a picnic table beneath the site sign. It was a perfect spot to spend the calm and long evening even if it lacked a chimney for ol’ St. Nick.

The following morning I awoke to no presents under the tree, for my drying socks were still up in it and covered with dew. My morning meal of brocolli , onion, egg and cheese was delicious until an accidental nudge sent 1/4 of it onto the sand. Without considering tossing it out, I brushed off the healthy morsels and downed them without chewing. Once loaded it was a 200 yard slog through ankle deep tidal muck to enough water with which to float the boat. Still falling quickly I set out west for half a mile before able to turn southward. And so began a Christmas Day of flawless weather, light winds and fair seas.

By mid-afternoon on a rising tide I found my way to the mouth of the Suwannee River on a tributary known as Salt Creek. Here the river’s current could be felt as I worked past Cat Island and upstream to Morris Island. At the westernmost sandy point, I planted myself for the evening on an open sand beach below palm and cedar. Drying my wet paddling pants, Socks and shoes in the abundant sunlight, I made coffee and wrote in my journal. The feeling of discomfort and vulnerability instilled by weather and open seas such as the Gulf weighed heavier on me than I anticipated. Although weather is important on river travel, it rarely requires multiple days of sheltering until conditions improve.

The myriad of ecosystems I’ve passed through in Florida have stretched from sand spoils of the ICW, seashore dunes of barrier islands, wet marsh of the forgotten coast and lush swamplands along blackwater rivers. I will miss the overhead show of Pelicans diving for their catch and the schools of porpoise that,on a falling tide, frequent river mouths to feed. Camping on the Florida Circumnavigation Paddling Trail has been less effort due to their excellent maps and resources online offering necessary information. Ahead of me lies 240 miles of the Suwannee River, or Singing River as it is also known. The upstream struggle, familiar on the Tennessee R. section of this trip, is no easy feat yet I feel it will be easier than paddling exposed in open water. The many parks, springs and small towns along the Suwannee offer camping, water, food and supplies at easily separated distances. Coupled with good maps and information, I’m really looking forward to seeing another river system and eventually reaching the headwaters in Georgia at the Okeefenokee Swamp.

Apalachee Bay/Forgotten Coast

Ahead of me stretched the most unprotected 100 miles of coastline I’d encountered. The big bend region of Florida here has a shallow bottom and marshes that stretch miles from Terrafirma. This remote region is covered by wildlife refuges and protected wetland habitats. Without barrier islands paddling conditions are at the mercy of the Gulf and weather systems. Oyster shell reefs help slow erosion and give a great wave break.

I kicked back and enjoyed the respite.

Luckily the weather was excellent and smooth waters or light chop was all I had the deal with. Many duck hunters blasted away from palm frond blinds built on the same headlands I was hugging. My first stop was Wakulla Beach, a shallow sandy ramp launch where I tied the kayak up and set up my tent on the remains of an old vacation lodge.

Around 10pm, a pickup truck full of rednecks arrived to burn a tire and some wet seaweed, listen to hip hop on a cell phone and then leave to score drugs. Welcome to Florida.

This sunrise didn’t need any edits. Just remarkable winter skies on this section of the trip.

A major landmark was the St . Mark’s lighthouse which I could spot for miles. Sailing past, I admired the historic landmark and waved at some visitors on shore.

There are campsites through this section separated about 10 miles apart and some excellent paddling maps to assist. Due to marshes, some are miles upstream on spring fed rivers with strong flow.

The river narrowed and the current swiftened but with heavy strokes I made my way into a palm tunnel. The dark channel and canopy was so foreign and unusual from any I had paddled. Like a dream.

Then just before the bridge and established campsite was a logjam and trees down across the river from a recent flood. Pulling out, I climbed up to the old trestle, snapped a pic, found the campsite and chose to just camp near the bridge closer to my kayak.

Since weather windows are important and the days so short, I usually awoke an hour before sunrise to pack my wet tent, put on paddling clothes and kindle the twig stove for coffee and egg wraps. All day I’d try to make miles but knew that when a major storm rolled in shortly, the remote Rock Island was not where I wanted to be. Today though the conditions were great. Paddling a mile offshore, I made the campsite on old coral reef island and comfortably set up camp, solar, stove and a great sunset view over the tidal pools.

Pelicans circled on thermals and then roosted in the gnarly oaks around camp. Their squawks were funny to listen to as I fell asleep. A major weather system with high winds and rain was shifting east so I set my sights for the Spring River Fish Camp. It was the first time in days I had seen other fisherman in numbers and soon made it to the hotel. I was about to ask for a room when Kevin came up and told me my Dad had called ahead and wanted me to have a room for a few night as the storm passed. Of course without a cell phone, I had no way to communicate with him when or where I’d be other than spot tracker. Happily it all worked out and I was fortunate to get the boat under shelter and have a warm and dry room to weather days of windy, cold and wet weather. Most importantly, I could rest my body and hit the reset button on my gear. Laundry washed, gear cleaned, food resupplied and many Internet related tasks were taken care of.

My fingers show the sear marks from countless mornings of coffee on the fire.

The rain fell so hard that with the highest tide and high west winds, flooding began to occur as the creek crested into the parking lot. Afraid my kayak may be in a bad spot close to the water, I hauled it onto the porch a few feet up after floating across the parking lot.

The sun is out today but winds are gusting over 45 with 8 ft waves in the near shore waters. White caps and crazy seas can be seen from my sun soaked window seat and a standing wind wave grew in the strong creek’s current. Conditions are favorable for the next week with a warming trend and calm waters to help me reach Suwanee and my turn inland and back to river travel. I’ll try to update more frequently as wifi allows.

Thanks for all the support, comments and kind wishes this year. Happy Holidays!

Carrabelle, Crooked River and Ochlockonee River

The sandbar outside the mouth of the Carrabelle River was so long I chose to drag the boat hundreds of feet through the sand to reach the strong outbound current.

Winding up the river, I was immediately drawn to the red color of the water,owing some to the tannins from the river and also to a naturally occurring algae in these brackish waters.

It’s clear from some sunken craft and damaged docks that Carrabelle didn’t quite escape the destructive forces either. A sailboat was caught on a piling and suspended half out of the water while at its stern, a dinghy floated proudly. Surely someone wasn’t aboard this wreck…when a guy pops out with a Oyster Bay Brewery hat and white hair flowing out beneath the cap. “I say you just chainsaw off the pier” I holler to him. With a lingering gaze at the bow he laments that she just isn’t worth saving now. “Hell, it isn’t even my boat”.

Brian introduces himself, a Californian on his umpteenth retirement now working to repair and prepare his self built Trimaran Jammin for a crossing to their new home in Oriental, NC. After chaining my boat at the public ramp and picking up my general delivery mail at the post office, I walked over to chat with Brian and his sweet wife Kay. He handed me an ice cold beer and we spent the next hour relaxing in the sun on board Jammin. “You know man, like the Bob Marley song” he added. I was starting to suspect some leftover Panama Red on board and decided I’d better scram before sunset, not sure who shot the sheriff.

The quaint and walkable town had all the necessities for resupply and a few cute items.

Following sunset, I killed time until it was dark and then put up my tent at the boat ramp hidden from view by a mound of sand. The gray tent blended in well but come morning was coated in a thick layer of ice. A hard frost arrived and again I chipped ice from the hatch covers and rubbed frozen fingers together for warmth.

The local marina, C-Station already had a few trucks parked out front and men standing about with coffee in hand. I found my way to the coffee pot then mingled among the smoking burn barrel of green wood and din of Fox News inside the small shop. Gathering information about the Crooked River, I returned to the water and followed the marshes inland and to the split of New and Crooked Rivers.

It was a perfect paddling day as the sun warmed temps to the 60s. At Oxbow Campground I stopped for brunch and to dry my still frosty gear in the sun. Cracking a cold beer saved from Brian last night, I cooked up an egg omlette on the Twig stove and smiled at my good fortune. The view wasn’t bad either from this high bluff.

The tracks of kayak booties in the sand showed there had been a recent paddler here but I know not which way they went. Later I’d find sign of their footsteps but never caught up to them.

The familiarity of river paddling returned with such joy following the periods in open water. Marshlands like this are very common in the upper Mississippi River and brought back fond memories of navigation within their sometimes confusing walls. Remember, don’t forget to photograph the flowers for mama.

A handful of campsites dot the banks of the Crooked River and are spaced out to allow an easy paddling day in between. Passing through the Tate’s Hell State Forest, the sound of hunters rang through the planted stands of pine. Some shots were closer than I’d have liked but I exited to camp with no more holes than I’d been born.

A campsite entitled Rollaway Hunt Camp housed this home built bespoke camper on a single axle. The judicious use of Great Stuff is true testament to sound engineering. It’s about the right size for me eh?

Further up the river I found the following night’s site early but knew it would be good shelter from the next line of storms and wind forecast to bring flooding to the area. As it stood, I could barely float below the low water bridge near camp with inches to spare overhead.

A picnic table and grills greeted me as I paddled up to the campsite’s grassy shore.

My worn out tar served as a major rain break and did the purpose well as inches fell overnight. Normally I find the sound of rain soothing but the intensity was so loud I couldn’t fall back asleep for some time.

The folllwing day saw little break in the weather so well stocked with food,I stayed safe and dry while listening to podcasts and the radio. Occasionally a lapse in the rain allowed a walk down the aisles of plantation pines.

On the third day the weather broke and the fogs swirled above the engorged blackwater river. The flow had changed directions now and the current stiffened with the added water carrying me toward Ochlockonee Bay. A stout northwesterly brought following seas that occasionally broke around me. With adroit manipulation of the umbrella as sail, the little craft flew along for 8 miles out to the mouth of the bay. My arms grew tired holding the umbrella against the shifting winds but even this was easier than paddling.

I reached Mashes Island Beach Park at sunset and waited for all the local beach goers to dissappear before encamping at the destroyed bath house on the beach. The wave action was so strong it sunk the foundation and wrecked the structure which now lists at a rakish angle against the horizon. Dry under the roof and sheltered from the wind, I slept soundly and had no visitors.

From here to the Suwanee River there was no more sheltering sea islands or ICW on the upcoming portion of Big Bend known as the forgotten coast. More on that and bringing the blog current, next!

Panama City to Apalachicola

Hurricane Michael cut its recent path through this region and the marooned sailboats were only the start of the intense storm damage and continued relief ongoing from this catastrophic event.

Evidence of the wind damage was clear with nearly every home having some blue tarp or fresh metal on top.

There were some picturesque shoreline islands, known locally as a hammock, where salt tolerant pines and saw palmetto grow from sand, coral and seaweed washed in from the recent storm. Sand fleas are always a problem when the weather is warm enough but after a long day spent paddling, I’ll sometimes walk around to stretch out despite their nuisance. The sunsets from bed can be fabulous if the high tide doesn’t wash me away!

I’ve managed to figure out how to keep my tent zippers shut. Each zip has a spot where the teeth unmesh but I’ve asked a lot of it in these hard few years from the Arctic to Mexico and now swamps of Florida.

Panama City has a small port which processes freighters such as this. I watched the crew aboard a lower deck sitting in the sun while their final containers unloaded above them by gargantuan cranes.

Rounding this port was a small beach and grassy park – like area with some storm damaged live oak limbs. The gnarled dead fall looked somewhat inviting to this wayward camper and after arduous hauling of about 300 ft on the sandy grass, I was soon nestled in a camouflage camp. At sunset a few folks walked their dogs past or played fetch within feet of me but none knew I was laying there reading a book.

Heading into Panama City, it was clear just how damaging an impact the storm had. Hundred foot long boats were tossed on their sides on the shallow sandy bottom.

I stopped in to the college campus of FSU library to print some charts and the parking lot was a sea of white relief trailers and a makeshift camp. The beep on construction equipment clearing dead fall months later sounded from sunrise to sunset. Below is what looks like a woodline but was a parking lot stacked with debris being constantly loaded and hauled out by a fleet of dump trucks.

Live Oak trees were stripped of their Spanish moss and even their leaves during the highest of winds. I saw some even missing bark.

Yet in downtown Panama City, the main street was preparing for the upcoming holiday season when sandbags still lined the doorways of some unopened shops.

A resupply on groceries and quick breakfast bite with wifi before returning to the destroyed Panama City Marina beach and kayak launch. Photo of marina below.

Paddling past all the destructive work and roofing guns was depressing but all good efforts to return to normalcy after such a horrendous experience. The camping away from town was fabulous among the pine forests snapped in half like match sticks.

The protection of ICW soon followed while working down toward the eye wall’s path near Mexico City Beach, Eglin AFB and Port St. Joe. So too did the damage increase but here was mostly unpopulated forest.

Looters will be shot says the sign

Boat ramps became my defacto campsites for the night at a 10-15 mi spacing. Although not technically allowed, these remote ramps didn’t see much use in winter evenings especially when most folks were still picking up their lives. The sunsets in winter offer such color and depth when reflected on calm waters.

The current here on the ICW was steady for about 25 miles and a much greater workout than I had anticipated. It was only before reaching the confluence with the mighty Apalachicola River that the flow reversed in the direction of Apalachicola. The swollen river was nearing flood stage and water lapped at the top of the boat ramps. Overnight the shelter I so smartly set up beneath flooded. My prompt packing of dry gear inside the tent and the plastic ground cloth barrier bought enough time to elevate my tent up to a picnic table and restake it with plastic jugs. The wind howled to 30 mph and slammed a bent and rusted remaining bit of shack roof like a drama department thunder clap.

I had strange dreams after raising my bed 3 ft off the ground in the middle of the night. Come morning I set out into the quiet waterway and nearly made Apalachicola before the wind and cold found me seeking shelter at another boat ramp. Not a single yacht all day on the ICW, just a few local fisherman dressed warmly against the mist and chilly breeze.

The abandoned swinging railroad bridge a few miles upstream of Apalachicola is forever rusted into this position. A brooding sky for a windy and cool day of sailing downriver with a strong current. The plan was to soon be along the coast to make miles. With a full grocery bag, I had no need to stop in Apalachicola other than curiosity. Considering I was warmer in the boat than walking about town, I picked my way out into the shallow marshlands and sailed across East Bay and out to Cat Point, a distance of 4 miles in open shallow water with following seas. That morning saw about 9 miles of sailing overall with favorable winds, though chilly on my back still wet from sea spray and waves. It wasn’t until the following morning that sun returned a bright few days lay ahead.