November 2


It’s amazing how hard it is for me to get up basically every single morning except when I am going back to the water despite just a few hours of sleep. I got upat 4:50and headed to the airport. After a very thorough national security search of every single piece of my luggage, I had to figure out how to repack my bags. After a quick jog across the Atlanta airport I was the last person on my final flight to Panama City. While standing in the jet way, a lady asked me what was in my dry box. I told her what I was doing and that it was electronics. I should have come up with a better answer like I was a vet and it was an animal organ from a donor squirrel but I was still asleep. The flight attendants made an announcement welcoming all of the Florida Ironman competitors and wishing them good luck. Some people on the plane clapped. I just rolled my eyes. An Ironman is 140 Miles. That’s cute. Try doing over 2000!  I kept that to myself but was thinking how I think they are crazy for doing that many miles and how they probably think that I am just as crazy for what I am doing. My shuttle was waiting for me when I landed and the first thing she commented on was how much bigger my beard was. I explained that I won’t touch it until I finish. She made a stop at the local IGA to get food before dropping me off at the marina. I got quite a lot of food since I am unsure if I’ll have any options the next two weeks to resupply. This will probably be the most remote stretch I will encounter the entire trip. When I walked in the marina office and told them I was here for the kayak, a guy from the back of the store said “The River Weasel.  We were just talking about you yesterday.”  We caught up and I told them I needed to run into town but would be back to grab the boat. I started walking the short distance into Apalachicola. The town was buzzing. I figured it was because of my return. Since I was basically a local I headed to The Station for some seafood. When I walked in I saw a camera crew behind the bar. I thought I was about to have my first interview. They were filming one of the owners preparing oysters.  The Florida Seafood Festival was this weekend. As I was making my way to the bar to grab a seat, the other owner said “we were just talking about you earlier this week”. He slid a menu across the bar and I pushed it right back. I knew I was going for the shrimp tacos. We caught up and I ate. The guy next to me was from Cleveland and was traveling across the country for 2 months. He had caught some fish earlier in the day and brought them there and they cooked them for him. Since we were both from Ohio and travelers, he gave me some and it was delicious. I would have liked to hang out but felt I needed to get on the water. I went back to the marina and started organizing my gear. We then loaded my boat on the forklift and took it to the water. It took me a while to get everything loaded up. I seem to have more stuff than before with what I had brought with me and just ended up throwing it in the boat and going. It felt amazing being back in my boat paddling. Every time the paddle blade hit the water I felt like I was rocketing forward. The wait to get back here almost killed me but now that I was back, it felt worth it. I paddled down the channel towards the ocean. I decided to go back to the island just across from town and camp. As long as I got on the water today I felt it was a win. I pulled up on the beach and set up camp right before sunset. It was perfect. The sun was setting in front of me and the sky behind me was all different shades of pink with the moon rising. I was exhausted from the long day of travel but it was nice to be able to climb in my tent and finally be “Home”.