Day 13 – The Porpoises Join Me

Despite the long sleep, I felt lethargic, likely due to the considerable distance paddled yesterday.  I looked up through the trees and saw the sky gradually brighten.  It felt chilly, somewhere in the mid 50’s and last night I was just warm enough.  I looked over to the east to see if the sun was up, and it was still getting ready to show itself.  I decided to wait until she was more visible, and warming up my surroundings.  She finally broke through the low clouds in the distance, and I watched the sunlight descend along the tree trunks above my head.  When it got down to around 10′, it was time to get up.

I put on my long sleeve shirt and pants that I left in the tent overnight (I have two such shirts, one warmer than the other, and one pair of pants – the kind that you can take off the bottoms).  This would keep me warmer as I made ready to pack up, and keep the occasional mosquito off me.  I carefully untied the straps that went around the two trees holding up the tent, as both had some poison ivy of some variety.  I made sure that everything was packed from the tent site, so I could take it all in one trip back through the woods to the sand bar 100 feet away – too many prickers to come back for a second trip.  Katie was high above the low tide, waiting to get started.  After putting all of the gear in its proper place in the kayak, I checked the area twice thoroughly, as is now my habit, and once strapped in, sent my usual morning message to Grace that I was setting off.  It was 8:30 AM as I slid off the shallow beach area, and set off across Indian Creek.

The day was full of promise – a slight north breeze moving across the still waters, that undulated with small swells reflecting the early morning sun.  I only had 5 or 6 miles to go to reach John and Nancy O.’s house, which I had been told is located well into the last of the 4 creeks that come out of the west into the Bay.  Most of the water is quite shallow – at times less than 1 foot deep.  I decided to paddle directly across the channel, as it was so calm.  I started saying out loud my Rosary, as I like to do when I start out and also when I cross open water.  I was lost in the cadence of the prayer when I suddenly heard the sound of air coming out of a blowhole.  I looked to my right, and there was a porpoise 12 feet away rising above the green water.  It was a light gray and showed me its back before softly submerging.  It took a few miliseconds to realize what a special visit this was.  Another few seconds went by, when several porpoises broke the surface around me, moving in in the same direction as the kayak, and staying just out of range of my rythmic paddling strokes.  Their waves rocked the kayak, and my anxiety rose, but I continued to say my prayers, louder this time, trusting that all would end well.  I then could see them dive under the boat.  The four of them resurfaced  at the same time with military precision, two on each side close to the bow of the kayak, and all four blew air simultaneously at the peak of their rising.  It was all amazing.  Once more, one came up on the left about 20 feet away ahead of me, as if to say, good bye, and then they were gone.  Shortly afterward, I reached the other side of the channel, and found myself in very shallow water again.

I crossed Dymer and Tabbs creeks with ease and traveled due south, literally picking my way through the very shallow water until I reached Antipoison Creek.  The name comes from the legend that the Indians took some of the creek mud and dressed a snake bite experienced by John Smith.  I headed west into the very sheltered creek, where the water was surprisingly deep, and poked around a couple of offshoots, looking for John and Nancy’s house.  I kept checking my I-Phone map, and got it wrong a couple of times.  As I was coming back to go up another small piece of the creek, I saw a woman in a gray kayak paddling towards me.  She called out “Fal?”.  I responded “Nancy?”.  She had seen me passing by going up the wrong direction, and came out to escort me to their house.  It was a great feeling to be there with new friends that I had never met before.

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3 Responses to Day 13 – The Porpoises Join Me

  1. Pam says:

    Fal: It’s Pam and I an SO enjoying your blog. Feel like I am there with you, if only in spirit, wishing I could be. Have continued good luck (and not too many #1 days). You are my hero. Later……Pam

  2. Russ Sumpter says:

    I’ve been following your adventure since reading the article in the Jax paper. I look forward to each post. Thanks for sharing and providing some inspiration to us older guys! Paddle Safe!

    RS…Jax, Fl

  3. Kathleen vonKoschembahr says:

    Hi Fal…..Grace and I had a good weekend and we talked about your journey…needless to say, your lovely lady is very proud of your adventure…just make it home safely…praying for you…Kathleen

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