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Picnic Is trip report

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  • Carey Parks
    Hi everyone, Happy New Year! I know a lot of you will be camped on LuLu Key as I write this, and I hope you are having a great weekend. It will be interesting
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 1, 2008
      Hi everyone, Happy New Year!
      I know a lot of you will be camped on LuLu Key as I write this, and I hope you are having a great weekend. It will be interesting to read the trip reports, and when folks decided to head back in. The rain and thunder started here on Sanibel about 9:00 AM. The wind has not yet arrived.
      Steve, Jeanette, Ruth and I have spent the weekend on Sanibel paddling some of the local waters. Sunday we launched from the second launch area inside the Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve and paddled out thru Hardworking Bayou to Pine Island sound. This is the only way we know to get to the flats where the birds are feeding a low tide. Of course you drive right past it on the way in, but it's more fun to paddle three or four miles out and back in again to get to the far side of it. After floating around in there for a bit and being blown by the breeze we retraced our steps and then went farther past the launch and back out another bayou to Pine Island Sound. This time we paddled past the power lines and back again.
      There were no really remarkable events, just a nice mangrove paddle with a fair assortment of birds, but nothing remarkable. Oh, one thing was different, I was paddling with my new greenland paddle that I had finished the day before. It was a bit strange as it is a completely new paradigm. I'm sure that I was not using the proper form. I seemed to be trying to use the paddle like I would my euro paddle. It does work OK that way, but I'm sure after I use it for a while I'll adopt better form. I did discover one advantage to the "variable length paddle" - when paddling in skinny water, it's possible to use a sliding stroke and extend the paddle far out to the side to imerse the entire blade.
      On Monday we decided to go for a bit of open water and launched from the causeway into the shallow water where the windsurfers like to play. The forecast was for 5 kts of breeze and some light showers so no windsurfers were seen all day. We paddled over to and circumnavigated Fisherman's Key. No landing, it's a preserve.
      Since none of us had been to Picnic Island before we decided to paddle over there and check it out. On the way across the wind from the south and the boat wakes from the ICW to the north made for some interesting movement of the water. There were three or four biggish boats anchored off and two or three small boats pulled up on the beach. We could see folks sitting in chairs on the beach and others wading in the water. The typical island scene but with the expected higher density due to it being so close to civilization.
      We could smell an old camp fire that was not quite out. A short walk over the north spit of land and saw the little lagoon on the west of the island. There was a family "beaching" on the spit. A mom and dad and a couple small kids. On the north end of the island we saw a LOT of trash. There was a trash can which was overflowing, and a cardboard box from a tent someone had brought to the island. What were they thinking? They didn't even take the tent out of the box before they went to the island and then they left the box and all the packaging there.  Like do they think Waste Management comes by daily? But that wasn't the worst. There wasn't anywhere on the island that we went where we didn't see used TP on the ground or in the bushes. It was completely disgusting.
      So we're there about five minutes and a pontoon boat beaches itself and lets off a load of tourists armed with shelling nets I guess. Broom handles with nets on the end. Maybe 20 or 25 people. This is an outing these folks paid for, and the guy running the boat just stood aboard and waited for them to finish whatever they were doing and get back on the boat. He didn't even think of removing any of the full trash bags or maybe picking up some of the mess. And they charge people to bring them there.
      Anyway, the crowd from the boat makes a bee-line over to the sandy spit where the family is sunning themselves. The wife is trapped face down without her bikini top on for the half hour the tourists mill around their little beach. Sorta funny to watch their little bit of peace be invaded by all these folks with sticks and nets.
      Ruth had a trash bag in her kayak leftover from some cleanup we had done previously. We used baggies for gloves and picked up the trash in the immediate area, which was mostly used TP. It took only ten minutes and what you could see from the beach where our kayaks were looked 1000 percent better. Why do people have to leave such a mess? What's so hard about taking back anything you brought over? Their mom going to pick up after them? We found a second black trash bag and filled it with the trash that was over filling the trash can. We left the bags tied up next to the full trash can since we didn't have any way to carry it back. Someone had placed a roll of TP over a branch stub on a tree and it was unrolling in the wind. We threw that into one of the bags as well. We know it won't matter. In a couple days is will be as bad as ever.
      There were some red plates hung from their edges and various metal pots hung upside down from strings in a couple of the trees. The pots were spray painted red in some places. What might be the purpose of these pots and plates? They were on a tree with bird feeders, so maybe they are to keep racoons out of the tree?
      Our return course was directly back to the causeway. It was not a long paddle, but it was a nice change from the mangroves. Lots of boat and car traffic to watch but they stayed where they belonged and left us to the shallows. It was good to be on water that had a little motion again. I had no problems with the greenland stick, Not having the large paddles on each end caused me momentary psycological stress when the water got lumpy. It just didn't look like that stick could hold me up. If I closed my eyes and just paddled it wasn't all that different, but seeing the seemingly naked stick swinging back and forth and up and down caused me to wonder on some level if it could really get the job done. I'm sure it can. I've tried skulling draw strokes with it and it works much better for that than my euro paddle.
      I hope you have lots of great trips in 2008! See you on the water.
    • rgcapecoral@aol.com
      Good report Carey! Is a shame we re given responsibility of stewardship of the Earth and so many abuse it. Earth said thanks for your part! As far as
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 1, 2008
        Good report Carey!
        Is a shame we're given responsibility of stewardship of the Earth and so many abuse it.  "Earth" said thanks for your part!
        As far as Greenland paddle I can show you what Ed Engle taught me ( or what I retained).  The basic difference I ascertained is:  1.  Plant the blade slightly cantered, as if it would want to dive.  2.  As you are rotating, your upper hand should be coming across and down at the same time, more towards the opposite side of deck.
        Highly recommend contacting Ed Engle and have him give a lesson if you can.  Think He's still giving instruction out of Grande Tours.

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