The bed at CP1 was so nice but that bed sure delayed my mental acceptance of waking up in a tent. Since I had a paddling buddy I mentally pushed aside my grips and focused on getting ready for another day’s paddle. Rod wanted me to wake him at 5:00. We had set a time we wanted to be on the water ready to go and then set our wake up times based on quickly we individually got ready. Rod definitely got more sleep than myself during the UFC due to our differences in getting ready to camp and getting ready to paddle for the day. I will go into the differences in a later post. The other difference that became apparent right off the bat is that Rod is a morning person and I am a night person. Not only does my body function better at night but mentally I enjoy operating at night. Everyone knows that morning people wake up with all sorts of energy and like to talk a lot in the morning. You know the type… Hey, how are you doing? What a wonderful day! What is the weather? How did you sleep? Hey! Hey! Hey!) Night people on the other hand wake up with a low energy level and are like, Grrrrrrrr………..Leave me alone until I wake up……..Where is the green tea……………..Grrrrrrr!! Thankfully when you are packing there is not a lot of down time to carry on a conversation but when you are paddling that is a different story. Ahhhh, but when you are paddling you can get so far apart you cannot carry on a conversation. Since we spent 25 morning together, we obviously found a way to manage this difference.
The paddle down to Marco Island was a nice paddle. We were in a protective waterway and it is always pretty watching the sun come up. Even though it was early in the morning the wind was already starting to blow and was blowing from the South. Just where we didn’t want it to blow from but as long as we were in the waterway it wouldn’t effect us. As we entered the channel around Marco Island I got my first insight into one of Rod’s fueling strategies for the UFC. Stopping at places to eat. “Hey in Marco lets stop somewhere and get a breakfast sandwich.” My response? “DO WHAT?” Finding and stopping at places for anything in a kayak or canoe is a big deal. First of all, the places are usually off your course which means energy and time spent getting to them. Second, finding a place when you are two feet off the water is not that easy. I mean we are not carrying a 100 page waterway guide that lists all the facilities at different locations. And third, who wants two foul-smelling watermen who look like homeless people sitting next to them in a restaurant. So this strategy was the furthest thing from my game plan. Not so with my buddy Rod but I thought I would humor him knowing full well we would not find any places. “Ok sure, if we find a place not too far off our course we can stop.”
Little did I know that those words unleashed a restaurant water hound dog the likes I had never seen. Rod starts to paddle to every boat anchored asking them about places on the waterway that serve food. Have you ever seen those shows with a hound dog that has his nose to the ground zigzagging all over the place following the scent. Well that was Rod all over the waterway. Now mind you, we were making progress around Marco, but he was going back and forth across the channel. Sure enough he identifies a place. It is right on our way and they serve the best breakfast sandwiches on Marco Island. About this time I am wishing I hadn’t consumed the bottle of ensure and oatmeal bar when I got up. Little did I know that my body probably could have used not only the breakfast sandwich I was going to eat but probably two bottles of ensure and two oatmeal bars.
The tidal currents around Marco Island are pretty strong and we had a good one going when we were docking at the Marina with the sandwich shop. I had put my amas, sail mast, and sail up in the morning hoping that there would be a chance of sailing. All this gear made for a bunch of stuff to get in the way when I was docking. On a beach landing this gear is not a big deal but docking on a marina dock is problematic. Chaos is an understatement for my docking at Marco. Here Rod who had no sail gear up docks just as pretty as you please and I come in with lines everywhere, sail flapping, and amass crashing into the dock. For those Navy types it was ” Ding Ding……Ding Ding, now hear this — now hear this. Capt. Crunch arriving.” Nice way to impress my new paddling buddy.
Once docked we got our water bottles, Rod took off to find a bathroom and order the sandwiches. As I was putting my full water bottles in my boat I noticed something odd. Why does my deck look different? Oh Geeeeee….. my $450.00 GPS was gone and not in it’s holder. I had clipped it in the holder and wrapped the lanyard around the holder but it was GONE. The monetary value was one thing, but that GPS had all my routes electronically loaded in it and we were on the verge of entering the Ten Thousand Islands. Not Good! Not Good At All!!!!!! After a few seconds of an adrenaline rush, I remember that one of the reasons that GPS was so expensive was that it floated. So I dropped a piece of wood in the water and watched what direction the current took it. Ok, I have a direction, now some high ground. I went to a hand rail on the dock and got as high as a could and looked down range. Low and behold, I saw this little object bouncing up and down with the wave sets. There it is and it is tracking towards some boats that are docked. Now image what is going through Rod’s mind as he sits in the breakfast sandwich shop watching me through the window. Here is his new paddle partner running down the dock, stripping off his gear, and jumping on and off boats tied to the dock. He must have been thinking something along the lines of, “Oh boy, did I team up with a strange one. Maybe I can dump him at CP2?” Well I finally got the GPS and I was able to get it without jumping into the water. Sweet!! Oh, and it was still working, no leaks. I collected my gear off the dock and headed to the sandwich shop. Of course Rod was finished and ready to go but I was going to sit down, eat my sandwich and collect my thoughts. What a morning. My wish now is that the day would get a little better. I wish……………..