August 7

Back to the river I go. Sorry. Old habit. Let's just say back to the water I go. We drove back to the 9th ward and climbed the levy with all my gear. While pulling my boat up I felt my feet itching. I thought I brushed up against a sticker bush so I kept pulling. Then I looked down when it didn't stop and I was standing in a mound of fire ants. Should have been my first clue that today was going to be rough. I got loaded up and in line to enter the lock that separates the Mississippi from the intracoastal waterway. I surprisingly got in on the first available chance with a tow barge. I kept seeing the workers on the boat talking pictures of me. They must not see many people on the Mississippi, let alone going down the Industrial Canal. The tow took off leaving me in the dust. I heard him radio the upcoming bridge to let them know I was coming but said he didn't know if I could just go under it. I watched as the bridge went up and down. When I got closer I realized I couldn't fit under the bridge. Shocking that someone made a bridge that a kayak can't fit under. I radioed the tower to see what to do. He asked me to wait for the next boat to come instead of stopping New Orleans traffic for me. I agree. As I sat there baking in the sun I wondered if a boat would ever come. After about 45 minutes the bridge was lifted and I was off.  The canal I am taking to the gulf is a straight 45 miles. Completely straight, not a single turn or bend. When I look down stream it's like looking out into the ocean. It's mostly surrounded my ocean. I felt a little current and took advantage of it. That didn't last long. The wind picked up and so did my frustration. I was some what mentally preparing for a learning curve but didn't adjust to it very well. I never do. No one likes change. I would point my boat down the canal and it would turn right. I would correct it. And it would turn right. I paddled only on the right side and it would turn slightly right. I would slam my paddle down, yell and it would turn right. It was one of the most frustrating times so far. It wasn't an easy button moment but pretty close. (Easy Button moment is where if you had a button that would let you quit and be teleported back to society, you would push it.). I came to a small channel with a large Coast Guard ship docked. To my left, as I looked over the field behind it I saw a giant building with a logo on it. It was one that I recognized. The logo was an earth and said NASA. I thought I had found a super short cut to Florida but it was a different facility. It is reported that they are building the most powerful rocket the world has ever seen. I was going to pull over to shore and get some pictures and see what was going on, but the "RESTRICTED AREA: US GOVERNMENT NO TRESPASSING" made me think twice. That and my boat kept turning right. I came up with a plan of 5 forward right paddles and one back left. It stopped my momentum but was working some what. I did it for about 3 hours while the thunder clouds kept going off. When I stopped paddling to checked my radar (insert right turn) the storm was less than a mile away over the lakes. So frustrated and surrounded by either restricted or marsh land I had no option to stop and take a break. I saw a white shore in the distance but since the canal is straight it looks closer than it is. I made it there about an hour later. It wasn't a sand beach, it was shells. It was only 6 feet wide and about 50 feet long. I came real close to setting up my tent for the night but started the fight all over again tomorrow. I even leveled the shells for a tent site. The images of what's to come didn't show any dryland for quite some time. One guy I talked with who did a similar trip through this area last year said he had to sleep in his canoe one night. I'm in a kayak, it's a little harder. While looking at the satellite photos, it looked like there was a village 7 miles away. I was full on supplies, but like in the Kevin Costner movie Waterworld, dryland is the most valuable thing. When I made the decision to push on something changed. I checked the radar and the storm stalled. I checked the tide chart and I was going out. I started paddling and my boat  went straight. Just like that, things were looking up. I made the 6 miles plus the 1 to the image of the marina I saw on like. It had bar and grill written on the roof so it was visible from space. It must have been an old photo because the restaurant and stores were closed. After walking around for while and only seeing a few cats, I saw a guy across the small harbor. When I approached him about camping he was in the middle of a beer and a smoke. He told me to pull my boat over and I could set up under the tree. I could tell it wasn't his first beer or joint. He told me he was homeless but a friend lets him stay there. I had trouble understanding his blended accent. I am fluent with southern and hammered, but this had Cajun in it and I was lost most the time. He was super nice but all I wanted to do was go to bed. I did notice he kept going inside and getting fresh beers but never offered me one. A move out of my play book to keep them for himself. He finally went inside after rambling for ever and said to pound on his door in the morning and he would give me some frozen water bottles to take with me. It was an nice gesture but I had no plans of seeing him in the morning. The owner came home around midnight and stood outside having a conversation on speakerphone with some girl. They were talking about cheating and how they couldn't believe some one told on them. It was like listening to a soap opera on the radio.