December 30


That empty island I went to bed on started getting visitors real early. I heard a family walking around with a kid who must have never seen a sea shell. “MOM, look at this” then repeat screaming every 15 seconds for 20 minutes. Slowly packing up I got the call for breakfast. Literally a “ca-cah” from my new friends from last night. They had told me last night they would give me a sign in the morning when it was ready. Eggs, sausage, bagels, and pound cake. The island kept filling up and I realized I needed to get going. We said our goodbyes after the island had been invaded and became a party spot. I had forgotten it was Saturday coming up on a holiday so the water was crazy. My 2 miles to Marco Island turned into 4 with a wrong turn but I finally made it to the restaurant I was going to get lunch. I planned on stopping there so I could fill my water because it was pretty much the last chance before going into ten thousand islanders national wildlife refuge. It was a full house but I found a sliver in between boats to tie off. I walked through the crowded restaurant to the hostess station. I figured there was gonna be a long wait to get a table for 1 and the bar was packed. I decided I would just get some thing to go even though it would be tough to eat sitting in my boat with all the traffic. Luckily when I got to the bar to order, a spot opened.  I squeezed in and got to do something I always wanted to do when I use to spend half my life on a bar stool. I used the purse hooks. But I hung my life jacket on it. I tried to explain and apologize to all the fancy rich people for my smell. As I was waiting for my food I started getting really uncomfortable with all the people. It’s something that I experienced after hiking the Appalachian Trail and it got me thinking about “readjusting” to the real world then I finish. It’s definitely going to be a challenge. I scarfed down my food and got out of there as quickly as possible. I left so quickly that I forgot to get water. I saw that there was a small fishing village about 2 miles away that was the absolute last spot, so after fighting boat traffic I finally arrived. The two restaurants in the town were deserted. The town looked rough. I have to assume that it was hit hard by the hurricanes due to the half destroyed buildings and plethora of blue tarp roofs. I paddled around and found a marina. I tied up and climbed up onto the dock and asked some guys if I could use their hose. They were super nice and helped me out. When I climbed back over the rail and down to the dock where my boat was, a guy came flying up on a boat. He awkwardly stared at me while pulling next to where I had tied up. I said hello and asked if I could help. He snapped and said can you untie the boat. I untied the front line and went to the back. Before I could get it all the way off, he started pulling away towing the boat. I got it free. The front of the towing boat started getting pulled over my kayak that was still tied up. The guy just kept pulling harder and my poor boat was getting stretched and started going under. My life flashed before my eyes. Thinking that I’m this close to the end and my boat gets destroyed by some angry man trying to tow a boat all because I was helping him out. They finally broke free. The charter boat captain who gave me the water came over and asked what that was about. I feel like if things escalated more he was gonna let that guy have it. I asked about a campsite that I had found on the map and he confirmed that there was a big sand bar so I took of into the sunset. It was a good feeling paddling away down the channel towards the open Gulf as the sun set. After having been walked over by people twice today, it was nice paddling into the calm wilderness. I beached and climbed up on the long sand bar while the final glow of the day was fading away. A good song came on and I had a little dance party by myself since there was not a person or sign of civilization in sight.