Launch day! It was a bit…chaotic.
Andy and I got up early and got ready to head to the launch. As I was getting into the car, my sunglasses broke. Crap! Andy drove me to the nearest CVS, where I was able to pick up two cheap pairs of sunglasses. Andy bought me a pool noodle to use as rollers to get the heavily loaded kayak up the beach.
We made it to the kayak launch area and began loading the boats. I had practiced loading but had added a few more dry bags of stuff. I ended up having to leave some of my stuff behind. The heat was brutal and I was frustrated that I could not get the boat loaded. Finally, we crammed everything in. I put the decals on my beautiful kayak which I have named ‘Lotus’. The kayak was sponsored to me by Epic and I was excited to have a new boat to take me around the state.
I hastily signed the Florida Saltwater Circumnavigational trail log book and we launched around midday. We paddled to the West to the Alabama border so that I could officially paddle from
state border to border. We then turned back East and headed for East Perdido Key. As I crossed back into Florida, I watched in horror as my charts from the beginning of the trip to Tampa slid overboard and sank into the deep channel. I wish I could say I handled it gracefully, but I was pretty upset with myself. I should have had the charts tied on better. Andy was once again my knight shining neoprene. He paddled back to his car and drove and picked up some charts for the local area. I had lost all my notes but at least I was able to navigate. After a short paddle, we made it to the beautiful East Perdido Key campsite and camped amongst the dunes. I was finally able to chill and try and get myself ready for the following day’s solo paddle.