At 4:30 the trusted alarm went off which started the process of getting ready for the day. Gradually waking up, thinking about the day ahead, determining which muscles are screaming from the previous days paddle, taking in some food, and doctoring the body. Thankfully the change in how I was doctoring my leg was working, the wound was drying out and the red streaks were shrinking. Still, l find it odd that even today I get a pain in that area when it is getting ready to rain. I believe it has to be a mental thing and not something physical.
The one nice thing about being in the intracoastal was not having to worry so much about what the wind would be doing. I don’t know about Rod, but I had my fill of wind blowing in my face 15 hours of the day. Paddling in the early morning hours and in the evening are my most favorite times to paddle. It is usually cooler, the boat traffic is almost non-existent and the weather is usually the calmest. It was not different this morning. The unique thing that was waiting for us this morning was paddling through in the early morning hours through so much money. We were entering the West Palm Beach area and the money there blew my mind. The yachts, the homes and the property were unbelievable. The US Navy has a fleet and West Palm Beach has a fleet too. Their fleet looks a lot nicer than what I remember of the vessels I was on in the Navy. The question that was coming into my mind was where does all the money come from? Oh, and with all that money comes security. A kayak is supposed to have a white stern light on during the night hours. The only problem is that it can mess your night vision up. Rod has his light mounted on the stern but to one side so he can easily turn it on and off. This lets him keep it off until he hears a boat coming and then he turns it on. So here we are, 6:00 in the morning, cruising along the side of the channel, in the dark, with all this money around us, and you guessed it, a police boat pops out because Rod doesn’t have his stern light on. I guess we looked harmless because the officer didn’t keep us long after Rod got his light working. Ahhh, West Palm Beach is still safe and secure. Most of this day was spent paddling through one group of condos after another. One yacht marina after another. Finally, I could tell that we were getting closer to the St. Lucie inlet when instead of yachts in the marinas, there were boats. St. Lucie inlet was also where we were transitioning from the parts of the intracoastal that were very narrowed and protected to the wide and exposed Indian River. The crossing of the St. Lucie inlet was pretty non-eventful, which was a relief. I had some concern about how strong the tide would be going through this area but we hit it just right. The tide was minimal and we didn’t have any confused seas to paddle through. Hey, maybe today is our day. The Indian River is an interesting area to paddle in. It is a wide body of water, not very deep (6 feet ), and lots of big tall bridges. Rod used the phrase, “building of a bridge” while paddling through this area. How true that is. In a small boat moving at 3-4 knots you can just see the outline of the top of a big bridge 7 to 8 miles out. The same is true at night when it is lit. So there is your goal and it is kind of uplifting because you can see the end. What you don’t think about is even at 4 knots it will take you two hours to get there. Two hours is a long time. So you see the top of the bridge and you put your head down and paddle, paddle, paddle, and then look up. Now you can make out the top of the bridge and you can just start to make out the top of the piling for the bridge coming down. So you put your head down again and paddle, paddle, paddle, and then look up. Now you can make out the top of the bridge, you can see the pilings going down from the bridge to the water but the structure is pretty blurry and you really cannot see any details to the structure. About this time you are getting the feeling this thing is a long way away and you have a lot more paddling in front of you. But you can see the end so it has to be close. Hint, hint, you still have about an hour of paddling in front of you. So you put your head down and paddle, paddle, paddle, and then look up. Ahhhhh mannnnn!! Who keeps moving this bridge back? Now you can see the bridge structure and the pilings in some detail but cannot see any cars. Maybe a large truck but even that is questionable. So you put your head down, paddle, paddle, paddle, and then look up. Ok, this is really getting old. We will never get to this bridge. Just how far away is this thing? So you put your head down and paddle, paddle, paddle, and then look up. Finally, you can start to see some cars and for sure large trucks. This has been a killer getting to this bridge. So you put your head down and paddle, paddle,paddle, and then look up. The bridge has been built! Cars and trucks are clearly visible, the details of the bridge are clear, you can see the rocks for the foundations of the bridge entrance and exit ramps and the bridge is coming at you in a way that it makes you think you’re paddling speed has doubled. So for me, it was kind of an emotional roller coaster paddling through so many bridges on the Banana River. Different Watertribers reward themselves differently for each bridge they paddle through. Our reward was seeing if we wanted to stop and do some stretching. Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn’t. This is a picture of me at one of the bridges. Nice outfit huh? In case you were wondering, I wasn’t going for a men’s fashion award.
This day started off with us paddling through so much money, and then transitioned with us paddling through lots of open spaces going from one bridge to the next, and now the sun was starting to set. Now Rod hadn’t had a restaurant fix so guess what paddling pattern was starting to emerge. The only problem was we were in some wide open areas so there was going to be no paddling from side to side looking for a place to stop and eat. It was going to be pick a side and see if something is there. Sure enough, he finds a place. A nice barbecue restaurant that not only had a lot of people in it but also hanging around at an outside bar. Now you know what I looked like from the picture above and I do have my limitations. There was no way i was going to walk into a restaurant looking like that. It just wasn’t going to happen. So we land at a beach a little down from the restaurant and lucky for me there are some trees and heavy brush close by. I knew we could refill out water bottles from one of the outside water faucets at the restaurant so “Mr. Clean” does a quick field bath in the woods and changes into some relatively clean clothes. I am so glad a lot of people don’t know me on the east coast. Could have been real embarrassing. As it is, probably most people thought I was another homeless person. After getting into the restaurant and tasting a cold Coke and having some fresh cooked food, it was worth it. I would do it again in a New York minute. What made this stop even more important was that we were planning to paddle late into the night. We knew that the more miles we covered today, the less there would be to cover tomorrow. That would in turn put us in striking distance of Sebastian Inlet which was (CP2).
We ended up paddling until 12:30AM that night and stopping at an island near the entrance to the channel to the Ft. Pierce Inlet. The last half mile was touch and go due to the tide. It was rushing in from the inlet and it was extremely strong. We were already exhausted from the long day and it was a fight to get across the channel to the inlet. In the end it was worth it. The island had a nice beach, high ground and no one to mess with us. Ahhh, the simple things in life, a good night sleep.