August 8

My plan to get out before my new friend was up didn't work. I woke to the promised frozen water bottles outside my tent. While I was finishing packing around 8 he surfaced again. Beer and joint in hand. I’ve got to be honest, the old me would have loved his style. I loved drinking in the morning. Well I loved drinking all the time. It just didn't always love me back. I pushed off and headed back to the canal I had been traveling yesterday. The waters were a nice treat. Besides not having any dryland to camp on, the other challenge is there is no where to pull over and pee. I can make it work and I have several empty water bottles now. But it got me thinking what if nature calls and it's not just a pee break?  Good news it didn't come to that. The canal led me to The Gigolets. It's the waterway between the large lakes above New Orleans and the Gulf. When I cleared the marsh I got my first real view of the ocean. I could even see an oil rig off in the distance. I thought about paddling straight for it but decided to crossover it and stay in the back waters. I'm not exactly sure what it will be like paddling this boat in the ocean, but I would like to have some sort of shore line when I find out. While in the back waters I had to cross Little Lake (actual name) to get to Pearl River. It was almost a 2 mile open water crossing with channel markers sticking out of the water for guidance. I could hear thunder off in the distance. It had me concerned because if a storm came I had no where to hide if the waves kicked up. The thunder followed from a distance for the rest of the day. I have been dipping my fingers in the water and licking them to see if I can taste the salt. When I got to where Pearl River dumps out into the Gulf I got my first salty taste. Instead of paddling straight for it, I continued into the bayou. I saw another of what looks like a fishing village 2 miles up with some dry land. As I curved my way through it started drizzling a little bit and the sky was shining. It was a nice feel good moment. I got to the village. The area I saw on the map was not as easily accessible as I would have liked. I paddled into the village. It was more a neighborhood. Except for roads it was water. You can tell this area was destroyed my Katrina and rebuilt with money. A lot of abandoned lots sprinkled in with massive houses built on stilts. Probably 50+ feet in the air. Most of them had elevators. I couldn't find a single person to ask for a spot to camp so I went back and fought through to the marsh to a slice of dry land. As I was walking through the weeds and water I kept thinking it was a good place for some swamp snakes. It was like walking through a mine field. In revisiting the maps, I should get to the Gulf tomorrow but it will be through winding swamp land.