Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Hi Paddlers,

Just wanted to drop in a small post about Koreshan State Park here in Florida. This Friday thru Monday(10/16-10/19) Sean as well as KayakKev & KayakPeggy will be camping and paddling along the Estero River and surrounding mangrove islands. Not real sure who put the whole trip together- I believe it is a group of paddlers who are usually affiliated with Bill Jacksons- Shop for Adventure. Anyway will have more details and a new post when we return after Monday! Hope to meet some new paddlers!!

koreshanSPmap

-Sea Turtle Sean

Hello Paddlers,

It is with a renewed spirit and heavy heart that I am writing this blog. Very conflicting statement I know, but you MUST read on to understand what chain of events has led to the previous statement! On Friday night, Sept. 4th at 11:00 p.m.- Jeff and I set out on a late night paddle and possible camp out on one of our local intra-coastal islands in Boca Ciega Bay. We paddled from the causeway at Madeira Beach out to Johns’ Pass(3 miles), through the pass to the gulf. We stopped on the beach to stretch and relax- listening to Reggae music playing in the distance at Gators on the Pass(local watering hole).

We were approached by a Police truck on the beach, the officer asked “what are we doing tonight?” To me this was kinda a silly question as Jeff and I were standing there next to 2 Kayaks and were in full paddling gear. I was half tempted to say we were out for a game of late night Beach Golf–“Here’s your SIGN”!

But decided to be polite and explained we were out enjoying the moonlight to paddle in. He informed us that the beach closes from 1 a.m. till 5 a.m.- couldn’t help but wonder what the local Indians would have said to that statement back 100 years ago…

Jeff and I left the beach (1:15 a.m.) and quickly paddled over to Archie’s Island(1-1/4 miles), back in the Intra-coastal waterway. We pitched the tent and drifted swiftly to sleep (2:45 a.m.) with the sounds of the water lapping at the shore and wind moving through the islands trees and sea grasses.

Archies-Island

My Mountain Hardwear “Skylight” tent is more than a decade old. And it still looks new after heavy use!

We awoke to a beautiful sunrise and nice gentle sea breeze(7:15 a.m). We got up and packed up our gear and I made Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal for Jeff and I for breakfast.

oatmeal

We were eating breakfast and reflecting on a wonderful nights paddle and how refreshed we were even though we only had about 4 hrs. sleep.

That’s when we heard the engine of a small seaplane buzzing around!

seaplan island hopping

We finished breakfast and got into our yaks and started to head back to the causeway, as we paddled along we were watching the seaplane skim across the water, then fly through the air. At one point the plane flew directly over us! I rolled with a paddle float and Jeff thought that they waved at us.  Jeff and I both remarked how cool it was.

*

< you can hear the plane pass over us in this video >

Then it happened; as the plane flew out towards Johns’ Pass, Jeff and I heard a loud “POP” sound and the plane looked like it just ran into a wall with an abrupt stop, followed by a rapid nose dive. It fell straight down from estimated height of about 225 feet, into about 7 feet of water. Jeff and I quickly paddled over to the site of impact and discovered a crowd of civilian rescuers all trying to free 2 people that were still strapped in and trapped under water.

seaplane crash pic 09-05-09

helping with rescue

Sean giving an account

Unfortunately in the end neither man survived the crash as they both sustained serious trauma from the impact. A retired fire fighter and I managed to recover one of them (within 20 min.) with the help of others and we turned him over to rescue officials that soon showed up on scene. The other person was eventually recovered by rescue officials within less than 1 hour from the time of impact.

What a tragic event and emotional roller coaster, we went from being on top of the world and fully refreshed to being totally somber and mentally/physically drained. I can’t speak for Jeff, but believe me as tragic as this event was. In my opinion it was a paddle I soon won’t forget and has taught me once again the preciousness of life and how fast it can end. We were some of the last people to see those 2 men alive, they sure looked like they were having fun. To their families God Bless You and Keep You through these tough times! Know God has a plan for all things that happen, even if we don’t understand the BIG picture!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved with this event, especially the 2 men in the plane, and all those that took the time to call 911 or were in some way involved in the initial Rescue attempts and susequent recovery of the 2 men’s bodies.

Make sure You take the TIME to say I Love You, and HUG your wife,husband,partner,children,friends,family as often as you can!!!!!!!!! WE ARE NOT PROMISED TOMORROW!! LIVE AND LOVE LIFE!!

Thankful but still Reflecting,
-Sean

Bay News 9: “Families try to cope after two die in aircraft crash” Sept 9, 2009

Bay News 9: “Two killed in aircraft crash near John’s Pass” Sept 8, 2009

Unfortunately as the title alludes to this is an uncomfortable post for many people.  If you are not a local to Clearwater Florida then you did not hear of what happened to an Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin named Dunham this past Tuesday.

In December of 2008 a sick juvenile male dolphin was discovered stranded on Anclote Key.  He was acting listless, the skin dotted with shark bites, and a  long cut to the tail further sapped him of energy.

He was roughly 6 years old and was transported to the Panhandle research lab.  The staff at the Gulf World Marine Park named him Dunham and discovered he was also suffering from pneumonia.

For almost eight months, the staff worked to nursed him back to health with the help of donations and other private funding. Come June he was hunting down live fish with great speed in his 50-foot pool.

On Tuesday he was ready to leave the helping hands and reenter nature.  He was outfitted with a radio transmitter.  The transmitter was designed to further research into dolphin life.  And all was good, for three hours.

He might have been hungry and that is why he headed towards a spoil island in the Intercoastal Waterway.  That shallow water is known for great fishing.  This is July and the shallows are also known for something else.  Shortly Dunham broke the surface of the water revealing the unexpected.  Between the pectoral fin and tail was missing flesh.

He had been bitten.  He surfaced a second time with a larger bite in his belly.  Reports are varied to the length of the shark (8 to 9 foot).  But all agree that it was a tiger shark. This region is commonly known for an increase in the shark population.

The people then euthanize Dunham.

After the event a shark expert for Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute took a moment to examine photos of the wounds.   Brent Winner of the research institute surmised that the dolphin was most likely attacked by several sharks of different species.  And the fatal bite was consistent with a medium-sized tiger shark.

I personally have mixed feeling about this event.  What is natural?  What is our roll as humans?  When do we interfere with the natural cycle of life?  How do we value life?  I have read many peoples opinions on other blogs and my head hurts.

I guess what I want to know is, is the life of a hungry dolphin equal to a hungry shark?  Both are equal in nature.  Why do we elevate one and demonize the other?

If we want to be good environmentalists all of God’s creatures should be equally respected, loved, and protected.

—Jeff

National Safe Boating week is May 16-27, 2009

National Safe Boating week is May 16-27, 2009

On Saturday, May 16, 2009, the Marion County Aquaholics Paddlers Group sponsored their 10th Annual Paddlers PokerRun.  They had a record attendance this year.  There were more than 206 paddlers on the water for this eight-mile paddle starting at Gore’s Landing and running down the Ocklawaha River.  There was a line of registering paddlers behind Sean and me.

It was great to see all of the paddlers joining together to support the Ocala Outdoor Adventure Club.  The club is a non-profit group that teaches outdoor skills to children and youth.

I only have a few safety concerns for the planers and volunteers to reflect on.  I saw many people of varying skill levels on the water and many people did not have a life jacket.  There were a few canoes and kayaks that flipped over and got entangled in strainers.  And I think the club should require people to have a life jacket.

Ocklawaha RiverThis event is also not handicap friendly.  The put in, take out, and the way it is organized in how the participant get their cards at each station along the bank is could cause a serious accident.  I saw a few older paddlers slip and fall scrambling up a bank to get their playing card.

This is another safety issue.

What would work is if each station had a tandem kayak anchored in the middle of a wide part of the river.  That would speed up the delivery of playing cards. And paddlers would not feel deprived due to limited flexibility, or disability.

Every year this event grows.  I and thank and recognize the hard work put into the event by the organizers and volunteers.  They do a great job in getting out and working with the community