Adventure, Road Logs, Sea Kayaking, The Great Adventure, Travel

Road Log: 98 Miles at Sea

In the last road log I biked 700 miles to Corpus Christi. In Corpus, I spent months training on sea kayaks with master kayaker Ken Johnson. (Ken has been written about by Forbes magazine and you can find information on touring with him here.) The plan was to switch from bicycle to kayak and do the entire Gulf coast all the way from Texas to the Yucatán.

That plan didn’t work out, mainly because of the difficulty in finding paddling partners to go on such a long voyage. Kayaking is much more expensive than cycling, which narrows the pool substantially. But I didn’t want all those months of training to go to waste, so I decided to at least do a section of the Texas coast before switching back to bicycle for Mexico.

I’ve already written up the story of that fateful, windswept voyage—one of my most popular adventure stories (part 1, part 2). But I never did map it out and figure out the total miles paddled. So here’s a road log (or sea log) of the kayak trip.

Note: Normally I use Google Maps to show the route I took on each leg. This isn’t possible for kayak routes because Google doesn’t have a sea voyage option. Instead, I used Google Maps’ “measure” tool to plot the course and tally up the miles covered—but you cannot share a link to measure tool maps. So no interactive maps this time, but I did include screen shots of each map below.

Friday, February 28, 2014 (Day 602 of the Great Adventure)

This was a standalone paddle day. The point was to go from our usual launch point, in town, to a location on the Intracoastal Waterway outside of town. That spot on the Intracoastal would then be my launch point for the big voyage. Thus, today was kind of like a prelude. 16.4 miles

Map 1:

Overland from my last bicycle point to the kayak launch point.

Overland from my last bicycle point to the kayak launch point. 0.4 miles.

Map 2:

Map 2

Standalone kayak day. 16 miles.

Thursday, March 6 (Day 608)—The Launch

I set off with Ken and our friend Winnie bidding me farewell on the shore. I put offerings in the water and then paddled against a tough tide/wind combination. Slept on the porch of a floating cottage in Baffin Bay. 27 miles.

Map 3 first full day

March 7—Waking in the Sea

Early start but slow progress. Very hard by late morning. I had heard that the tide creates a powerful draw in one direction or another down the long, narrow Intracoastal. I suspect it was with me at night/early morning (mostly when I wasn’t paddling) and then against me all day. Camped underneath another cottage, this one on land. Ken warned me of storms the next day. 17.3 miles.

Map 4 second full day

Friday, March 8 (Day 610 of the Great Adventure)—Race Against Storms

After probing ahead a bit, on Ken’s advice I turned for a pullout point. The kayak trip would be cut short due to approaching severe storms and hypothermic weather. First pullout point was a dud, and second one was a mad dash through a squall. It ended with a night crossing of the final stretch of bay and landing on a beach in the dark. Beautiful. 37.6 miles.

Map 5 Last Day

Total traveled this leg: 98.3

Total traveled since Day 1: 2878.9

Next time I’ll track the 130 miles that Blake, Pixi and I bicycled together in the Texas heat—100 degree days in July. Until then, check out old road logs. And yes, more reports on my current Mexico ride are coming up soon!


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