Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 3 — Morning Update

In the morning light our paddlers decided that your CAN go home again. They will be paddling back to the Folly landing, delaying just enough for the outgoing tide in the Stono inlet to let up.

MeetUp paddle has been scheduled for those who might like to meet them near Bird Key and escort them home.

I'll be there!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 2 — Part 2: Groundhog Day?

It’s Not the Destination…It’s the Journey.

Back to where they once belonged. If you were following our paddlers on the GPS Spot, you may have noticed an unusual...U-turn.

That double track shows our intrepid adventurers returning to their Friday night campsite (and it bears mentioning again that this is a privately arranged camping spot not generally open to the public).

A phone call from Scott explains the situation: after a fine paddle south across Edisto’s beaches — complete with some play in the surf — our group found that their intended Saturday night camping spot was 1) a long [150+ yards] portage away from the beach, and 2) a hard-packed gravel strewn campsite between two RVs. Feeling fresh, and with fond memories of their first night’s camping experience, the group took a vote (reportedly Paul Bryan lost) and decided to make the return paddle and spend another night at their first pleasantly water-side campsite.

And what will Sunday bring? Plans are a bit up in the air. Our plucky paddlers with either enjoy some Deveaux-area surf play and arrange to take out at Cherry Point… Or they will tackle the longer haul back across Kiawah and into their starting spot on the Folly River.

Which will they choose?

How will it end?

Tune in again tomorrow for the ongoing story. And be sure to drink your Ovaltine.


Folly to Hunting Island: Day 2 — Part 1

For paddlers who regularly set out on multi-day expeditions, a jaunt down the SC coast from Folly to Hunting Island might be fairly routine — but for a bunch of sea kayakers who aren’t used to packing their boats OR paddling 20 miles at a stretch... Well, let’s just say that this trip has generated a little excitement on and off the water.

Are you following our group’s progress online with Paul Shaw’s Spot GPS [no longer available] live tracking?

If you’re surprised that the Edisto Island route seems to have taken an unplanned inland path—

—rest assured that they are, in fact, just sticking to the front beach. To get a better view of things, click on the satellite view on the Spot/Google map:

From the start, day two has been planned as the shortest paddling day. William’s best guess was that folks would use some of the leisure time built into the schedule to indulge in some surf play along Edisto’s front beach.

They certainly have a great day for it weather-wise. Stay tuned for more photos and updates — if the battery in Scott’s iPhone holds up.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Folly to Hunting Island: Day 1

So. This morning, promptly at 10 a.m., five boats with six paddlers — William Seabrook, Scott Szczepaniak, Mary Ross McQuage, Joe Salmonowicz, Paul Shaw and Paul Bryan — set off from the Folly boat landing. This is day one of a three day trip which will take them some 46 nautical miles south to Hunting Island:

See the trip plan at Google maps.
Seeing the group off were friends and family — Will Hewett (who launched his own kayak and escorted them down the river,) Sue Kershaw, Susan Sanders, Steve Bleezarde, Kerri _______, Joe’s wife Kim and daughter Hanna, and Paul Bryan’s daughter.

Anyone interested can track the group’s progress thanks to the wonders of the internet, GPS, and a handy service at Paul Shaw’s GPS is reporting the group’s location in real time:

Scott phoned in some notes after the group landed at their campsite about 4 p.m.: He reports that the trip down the Folly River was uneventful, but followed by the group breaking through 2-3 foot breaking waves along the sandbars as they rounded Bird Key Island. Fair winds and following seas sped the group to the sands of Beachwalker Park where they put in for a break. Mary Ross was reportedly disappointed to find that the restrooms are locked during the off-season. The winds were picking-up as they launched after snacks, again through 2-3 foot breaking waves, and “flew” down to the mouth of the North Edisto and across the inlet to set-up their "undisclosed, high-end, private campsite.

More technological marvels, Scott was able to email a few Day One photos:

William: the fearless leader.
Kayaks are bigger than backpacks.
Shiny, happy people.
Wish them a warm night! More details tomorrow.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Folly Beach to Rockville: Birding Along the Way

So, yes: It was a long day. Seven hours from put-in to take-out and six hours of paddling.
Shorter to paddle than to drive... if you measure, and don't watch the clock.
And yes: I was one of the first to start griping about aches and pains. Some folks are cut out for the long haul, and while I enjoy the sense of accomplishment from completing this long paddle, I've never been one for marathons... So, while we paddled on, I kept looking for shorter-term objectives. And the birds helped.
Mixed gatherings were common on the water, on bars, and on the beach.
From rafts of floating birds, to flyovers and sightings along the beaches and sandbars, it was a good day for birding. Highlights included Scott's first sighting of Northern Pintails among the Hooded Mergansers and Lesser Scaup, Osprey and Bald Eagles in flight, a good assortment of shorebirds, terns and gulls, and marsh favorites including the usual suspects – Great Blue Heron, Great and Snowy Egret – as well as lone Wood Stork and Northern Harrier.

With all the good birding available in the Lowcountry, it is worth remembering that getting off the beaten track can be a first step to some really great birding. Whether you're willing to take to a kayak for six hours or not is up to you. I'm glad I did: I just wish I'd packed my binoculars!

- Steve

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Folly Beach to Rockville: A Rewarding Day

I was part of a group of seven hardy sea kayakers who decided it would be fun to see what it would be like to paddle 18.5 nautical ocean miles in one day.

So on Tuesday Nov. 9 we launched from Folly Beach, S.C. and laid in a course southwest to Rockville, S.C.

The weather was perfect and the ocean was glassy with basically no swell at all. This was a tune-up paddle for a multi-day trip we’re planning for later this month. So the group was eager to see what kind of time we could make and how our bodies held up.

We made good time but as the miles wore on we gained a new appreciation for those expedition kayakers who consider a 20 mile day to be routine or even easy.

I don’t think any of us ever thought we couldn’t make it but our muscles and joints were definitely letting us know we aren’t as young as we like to think we are – and that we don’t do this every day.

While we were glad to see Cherry Point Boat Landing in Rockville – after six hours at sea – I think most of us were happy with our accomplishment and thinking about our next ocean voyage.

Stay tuned for more of our fall adventures…

- William