Angle to Key West: Adventure Calls (12/21)

Adventure on the Horizon

Southern Tip of Cat Island, Gulf Islands National Seashore – December 21, 2012

The island’s there, I swear it’s there, just to the side of the sun’s glare. I saw it. I saw it from the shore. I stood on my tiptoes and saw it, the glint of trees, hazy but there. Trust me, trust me, it is there and we must go.

But the wind, the wind, damn the wind. It is unkind, tricky, licking, biting at my back. This is a bad day, a fool’s day. The wind is lying to us, lying with its whispers, lying and we all know it.

These tiny ripples will grow, they will grow and grow every mile, grow bigger the further we’re out, grow into giants. And if they grow too big, what then, what then in the middle of the ocean? There will be no way back.

But the island, the island is there, the one on the maps, the start of the chain, the first one we dreamed about. It is real, it is there, I have seen it, and we must go.

It came like a mirage, the tops of trees hanging over the water, growing real, putting down roots, standing up on beaches. The giant waves came too, born of those innocent ripples, yanking at the hull, thumping, splattering water, punching at me, bringing with then that quiet terror of knowing I could not go back.

I didn’t look, I didn’t even glance at the shore again. It didn’t exist for me. My world became the island and its growing trees, its leeward face, its shadow hidden from the wind.

I slid onto the long crescent of sand and walked, walked then ran, ran with my arms flung out, ran to the tip of the land where the sea leaps to every horizon and you can stare out at nothing but blue with your toes hanging off the edge of the world.

I stood and stared and felt alive.

Then I saw a slight rise on water, a smear to the east.

Another island’s there. I swear it. It’s there and I can see it, I can see the old fort. It’s just a glint, just a dash of rock, but it’s there, sitting like a penny on a ledge. I swear, I promise it is there.

Trust me, trust me, it is there and we must go.


Side note: Thank you everyone who comments! I love hearing from people and it really pulls me through when I’m lonely. I’ve been terrible at responding, but I’m going to do a better job with that going forward. Just wanted to let anyone who has commented know that even if I didn’t respond, I absolutely read and appreciated your support and words! Happy New Year, everyone!

31 thoughts on “Angle to Key West: Adventure Calls (12/21)

  1. I have looked daily for you fantastic journal of AD-Venture! I keep looking to see WHEN you get to Apalachicola and Carrabelle as I know you soon will. I hope I haven’t missed your travel through here. If not give me a PX call at 850-445-4217 when you get here and I’ll treat you to a cold one and some good yarns.

    Rod Gasche – Carrabelle.

    1. Definitely not there yet! Got distracted by New Years, but will be there sometime in the next week or so. I will let you know when I’m more certain of the date!

  2. From the “islands” in the Boundary Waters to the “islands” in Lake Superior to the “islands” within the great Mississippi to the “islands” in the Gulf to the ultimate “islands” of the Florida Keys. It is like a mysterious, precarious, watery hopscotch through the heart of America. Paddle on D, paddle on.

  3. Hi We watched you slide by our farm along the Miss. above lock 2 at Hastings MN. Now we are wintering for month of January on Ft Myers Beach FL. Strange how close we get by happenstance. Love your writing style, like non other and very descriptive with no wasted verbiage. Wonderful venture to follow. Harrison

    Predictably Lost wrote:

    > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ Out of Order posted: ” Southern Tip of Cat Island, Gulf Islands National Seashore – December 21, 2012 The island’s there, I swear it’s there, just to the side of the sun’s glare. I saw it. I saw it from the shore. I stood on my tiptoes and saw it, the glint of trees, hazy bu”

  4. Enjoyed seeing you off yesterday… wondered as the sun set how far you got before you camped…. šŸ™‚ Glad you had great gloves new booties.

    1. Great to be sent off again! I definitely watched the sunset too and thought, that sure came faster than I wanted it to! Had to paddle in the night, but beautiful camp! Glad I had those gloves and booties too!

  5. Daniel,
    These islands off the Mississippi coast look beautiful. That crossing in your Looksha sounded pretty exciting. Hope you are working on your suntan again.

  6. Hi Daniel: Thank you for the note at the end of this post. Your posts have become a regular part of my days and I am really enjoying following along on your journey. I am glad to know that your followers can keep you in “virtual” good company, too.

    If you haven’t read about it already, I thought you might like to know about the young male river otter who has taken up residence in the ruins of the Sutro Public Baths in San Fransisco. I followed your advice and made my first donation of 2013 to American Rivers and “liked” them on facebook. They posted this wonderful article. I don’t know if you will be able to read it, but just knowing that “Sutro Sam” is the first river otter seen in SF in about 50 years made me smile BIG, and I thought it might do the same for you! Be well and happy.

    1. Love it! Thanks for being involved Karie! I love otters although I heard they can be a bit vicious if you get on their bad side! They look so cute!

  7. I have not commented so when I saw the post for 12/21 thanking those that had commented I felt I should at least let you know how much I have enjoyed your blog. As a couch potato living in the frozen regions of Upstate NY I am jealous that you have finally made it to the Gulf and will (if not already) be enjoying the warmth of the south. My wife and I will soon be on our way eager to spend the month of March enjoying some snow free weather in Venice, FL. It will be, for me, a sad day when you reach Key West and end your journey. Thanks for a great read you do have a wonderful gift and expect some day to read a book that I know you will write.

    1. Thanks so much! Crossing my fingers on the chance to turn this into a book someday, if for no other reason than to be able to tell all the stories I’ve missed or shrunk along the way. So many good ones! It is a beautiful day today out here in Florida, so I feel for you in upstate NY! I will soak a few extra rays in for you!

  8. godspeed my friend and let me know when the book comes out, i look forward to reading your entry everyday.
    sincerely,anne bennett, friend of vicki anderson tampa florida


  9. Someone made a New Years Resolution. Something about responding to posts…..;-). Dude, I have honestly been nervous about you getting to the Gulf. I’m holding my breath a little, on your behalf.

  10. I have been following your posts for a couple of months now, welcome home Daniel. we all will be sad when you finish your voyage. I read each post with awe, you describe the paddle so intensly that I feel that i’m there in person too. You Rock:-))

  11. giant waves in the Gulf? who knew?! šŸ˜‰ i’m glad captin frank got you across safely. from where i sit, you are that penny on the ledge, and if i can’t paddle out to see you in person, it sure is nice to follow you virtually at least. watch out for that chop!!

    1. Frank is not a captain! He wishes. He is even behind Ali in the line of succession. As a Gator, Ali is good at dealing with chop. Cheers to seeking out pennies on ledges. šŸ˜‰

  12. Love reading your blog… love updating your travels on the Gator Board. Many are very interested in your Florida Route…. Keep me entertained!
    Stu says he hears a faint “ROLL TIDE” from the Gulf, would that be you tonight????
    Our love to you.
    V and S

    1. Roll Tide? Never! But I wouldn’t be sad to see Notre Dame lose. I’ll just leave it at “Go SEC!” šŸ˜‰ I’ll try to tell them more about the route, but I’m not a planner and the wind and waves are the boss out here! Whatever they tell me to do, I do it.

    1. Yea! There are some trees left out there, but some of the islands have trees that have been stripped clean or just knocked down by the hurricanes. Must be insane on one of them durring a storm. Well, I guess you would actually be under water when one comes through, but the power must be crazy.

  13. Reading your posts have become a daily habit. You give me many things to ponder . . . and stories to pass along.

  14. Like some of the others, I have been following you avidly. Living vicariously through you. However, I am in the getting things together stage to start a trip down the Missouri starting in May. I may not be able to go to St Louis this year, but I will get there eventually, and then who knows – down river to the sea and then left or right. Right will take me back closer to home. Left will be a different adventure.
    But I wish you safe paddling, a following wind, and calm seas. Take care.

    1. Awesome! Get out there and live it! I remember seeing the Missouri coming in and thinking, “hrm…I bet there are adventures to be had out there!” Good luck!

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