Archive for the ‘Kayak Safety’ Category

There are a lot of books, periodicals, and web information on the simple topic of safety for people on kayak expeditions.¬† After all of that information is distilled down one thing becomes clear.¬† The primary safety device on a sea kayak is the paddler.¬† A person can purchase all of the most expensive kayak expedition gear, take all of the classes, and read every sea-kayak safety guide; but if the person does not have the respect for the forces of the natural world death could be where the expedition ends…

¬†Jeff‚Äôs most important pieces of safety gear for this expedition are‚Ķand placed…
  • tow line
  • whistle
  • mirror
  • VHF radio & cellphone
  • sea shears
  • replacement hatch cover
  • Cliff Bars, beef jerky
  • spare paddle
  • paddle float
  • drinking water
  • first-aid kit
  • heavy orange plastic sheet
  • electrical tape, sticks when wet / cold
  • waist
  • PFD
  • PFD
  • PFD
  • PFD
  • PFD
  • PFD
  • deck
  • cockpit
  • day hatch
  • day hatch
  • day hatch
  • day hatch


¬†Sean‚Äôs most important pieces of safety gear for this expedition are‚Ķand placed…
  • rescue knife
  • dye pack
  • signal mirror
  • Space Blanket
  • snack food
  • spare paddle
  • hydration bladder
  • rescue flares
  • cell phone
  • VHF/weather radio
  • dry clothes
  • PFD
  • PFD
  • PFD
  • PFD
  • PFD
  • deck
  • back deck
  • cockpit
  • day hatch
  • day hatch
  • day hatch

…after having respect for nature, its beauty, and ability to kill us.¬† The above gear lists help in keeping us prepared for accidents, gear failures, and unplanned capsizes. – Jeff

This post is to inform our readers on the final updates before Jeff and Sean leave for the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail Expedition as TEAM Sweetwater on Monday Sept. 19th, 2011. I will also touch base on a few of the “Lost” minute thoughts that Jeff and I are having before we finish packing and loading of gear.

So we have most everything ready to go food wise and possibly even more than we will need. Dinners will be Mountain House and some fresh local fair along the way. Lunches – well lets just say we will be getting more than enough calories. Breakfasts will be fruit and oatmeal.

Lets not forget the coffee- Jeff has hoity-toity Starbucks Viva instant and Sean has made homemade Coffee BOMBs, yes coffee bombs (you will just have to check back regularly to see what those are).


As far as recent happenings we have sent out the Official Media Press Release as of 09/12/11 and it was sent to the local media in Pinellas County(where we are from) as well as media down in the Cultural/Paradise Coast area that encompasses the Lee County area where Jeff and I will be paddling.

We have been given the opportunity to stay at the Rock Lake Resort Cottages on Billys Creek, the Sun & Moon Inn in Matlacha , the Jug Creek Cottages on Bokeelia, the Castaways Beach and Bay Cottages on Sanibel Island, and have also been given complimentary campsites at Cayo Costa State Park, San Carlos Bay Campground, and last but not least Koreshan State Park. We will also be doing about 3-4 nights primitive camping on spoil islands along the way over the 13-14 day period. We will be taking advantage of these lodging partners as a way to promote the many options along the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail.

The kayaks are ready & watertight and we have done the pre-packing game. We have all the necessary safety gear and have gone over our “pre-paddle” checklist. We are cleared for Paddle-Off!! I must say though that I still need to go get a “true proper chart” as we have done all the planning off the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail foldout maps. Jeff and I would just feel safer with true water depth and obstruction charts to paddle with as a safety precaution.

The Liquid Rhythm Kayaking Blog will be updated hopefully daily or as much as we can get KayakKev to write a quick days description of what we did and where we are. So check back regularly.

Jeff & I will also be volunteering for a half day at the Clinic for Rehabilitation Of Wildlife(CROW) on Sanibel Island so please do not forget they are our charity of choice and they desperately need donations and to please help them out if you can either with donations of money or supplies or by volunteering at the clinic. Visit the site from our link at the top of the page. HELP SPREAD THE WORD!

Jeff & I will be returning to the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival & Symposium on Nov. 4-6th to do a lecture on our 2 week paddling expedition and to teach a course on safety titled: Minimal Preparation prevents Massive Maintenance. Hope to see some of our readers there.

And now for Sean’s and Jeff’s Lost Thoughts:


  • Did we pack everything we needed?
  • Did we pack to much?
  • Where in the world is my tooth brush and did the Calusas brush their teeth?
  • When do I get to PET the American salt water crocodiles & do I have to wait till Estero Bay?
  • How many Bullsharks do you think there are in the Caloosahatchee River & can I PET them?
  • Do you think we will see any ghosts of Native Calusa Indians- I sure hope so.


  • ūüėČ less is more,…
  • I have a Power Point presentation.¬† I hope everything stays dry.
  • Mosquitoes…where is my DEET!?
  • I think…therefore we are ready to rock and row!

In closing we would like to acknowledge the following people & Sponsors who have worked hard behind the scenes to make the trip possible so far: GOD, Betsy Clayton- Lee County Parks & Rec., Nancy Macphee-FPTA, Russell Farrow – Sweetwater Kayaks, CROW of Sanibel, Jim Swope- Swope Public Relat., St. Petersburg Limb & Brace, All of our lodging partners, College Park Prosthetic feet & ALPS South, Kayak-Kevin Thompson & Peggy, and our Families & Friends who continue to support our paddling adventures. And our readers and supporters of LRK’s Journal. If we left anyone out let us know and we will add you to follow up posts.

Well we hope that our readers stay tuned and that you enjoy following along with us on our little adventure. Thank You for reading and as always: E’ Komo Mai’= You are Welcome Here!

– Jeff & Sean

I experienced a a fast and fun filled eight weeks blended with the rocks, strainers, and natural obstacles associated with work.¬† And due to being a full time paddler, father, husband, coach, and employee at Eckerd College I have neglected my posting obligations.¬† In the next few days Sean and I will catch you up on all of our adventures.¬†¬† As a teaser we have…

As we collect out thought and write I would like you to enjoy this Bubble Street comic; it made me chuckle because I have been so tempted…

– Jeff

Power made Perfect in Weakness.

Posted: January 19, 2011 by Sean Fitzgibbon in Expeditions, Florida Kayaking, Kayak Safety

Hey Fellow Waterlovers,

Just wanted to post a quick rundown of my 30 mile training run from Saturday January 15th. First let me start by saying I had to psych myself up all week to do this- I was even going to write a post about mentally paddling the course in my mind- of course that ended up staying IN MY MIND and did not make it to the blog. Oh Well- I guess a little slacking is ok before the real work begins.

I began the paddle at around 7:oo a.m. just as the sun was rising, at the VA boat ramp in Seminole, Fl. The weather was in the low 60’s and the air was still. I paddled the first 3 miles and was feeling quite strong for being on the water so early and not really being warmed up. So I decided to push on for 5 or 6 miles¬†before I took my first break. As stated before by Jeff in his previous post I was training “El Solo” so every 3-6 miles I was texting or calling both Jeff & my wife Shelly to check in with them and let them know of my location and progress. I stopped at mile 6 at the Park Blvd. boat ramp for a short 8 minute break & to eat some pears & a couple of Granola bars.

After that I pushed onward to mile 12 and stopped for another tummy fueling. I stopped at the Bellaire Bridge & checked in with another text. It was at this time that the Mental Mind Games started & I was trying to figure out how to cheat on mileage- after realizing that trying to paddle around for 3 more miles to try to reach 15 miles( the turnaround point) at the 12 mile location would still put me 3 miles short at the end! NOTE TO SELF: Stop Thinking & Start Paddling. I slid back into the kayak and proceeded on another 3 miles to the 15 mile turnaround point according to the GPS- just south of the Clearwater Bridge.

I saw a Southern Atlantic Stingray on the way back through Clearwater Harbor- he appeared to be extremely cold and swimming at the waters surface as if to say ” Can you put me in the kayak with you, its soooo COLD in the water!”

I hit the 18 mile mark on the way by the Belleaire Bridge again and stopped for a 15 minute break to eat some peaches and a Breakfast/yogurt bar, then continued on to the 21 mile mark. Got out to stretch again for 5 minutes in the mangroves/mud beach section, then pushed onward headed toward my goal.

I continued on and took another break at the boat ramp at Park Blvd. again(24 mile mark) to add clothing; as the sun was blocked out by the clouds that had rolled in & the temps. were dropping. The wind had picked up also and I was beginning to feel the Chill as well as the Burn from 9 hours of continuous paddling & use of the same muscles!!! I managed to burn out the last 6 miles within about 2 hours even.

I actually shaved off 4/10ths of a mile on my way back and had to do about 3 large circles about 100 yards off the boat ramp at the VA to get to the 30 mile mark. I called the wife & Jeff & let them know I was D-O-N-E-done. The GPS said 30.2 miles when I text the picture to Jeff & a few other paddling peeps.

What did I learn after doing this solo-


*Sometimes a long solo trip is just what you need to build your confidence & clear your mind.

*When you are at your weakest,¬†God gives you more power to push on & Get ‘R Done.

*Remembering  to HYDRATE sometimes takes a back burner to the thought & effort you are putting in to your paddling and destination.

*Once finished it really was not all that bad, & I can’ t wait for the next 30 mile run.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ” My grace is sufficient for you,¬†for¬†my power¬†is made perfect in weakness ” This was on my daily devotional calendar the morning I left, I felt it was¬†encouraging for the days Long Training Paddle ahead!!!!

Don ‘t Think, Just Paddle!

-Sea Turtle Sean