Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Break Recap - New Friends, New Experiences, Great Paddling

Back from South Carolina...

First of all, this trip was definitely one of the best I've ever taken. That's not an was perfect. We had great weather, great paddling, funny stories, lots of new memories, and most importantly, a clearer mind.

The first day we met at the UGA's Ramsey Center to load up the kayaks and van to set off. It was snowing...yes in Georgia, as we left for Spring Break. We all thought this was quite amusing. We got on the road and headed to Charleston. The first night we stayed at the KOA campground. We learned how to pack the kayaks and found that it was not as difficult as we had imagined.

The next day we got set for our first launch at Gadsdenville. While we waited for the car switch, we learned basic paddling strokes and various other important pieces of information about the trip. After I stopped fighting my kayak, we all got on our way. It was about 2.5 miles to Capers Island where we set up camp for two nights. After getting camp set up and eating, Sue and I decided to explore the island a little and walked up the beach for a few miles.

The next day we were allowed to sleep in...which felt awesome. I kept waking up thinking, "oh I should get up" and then I realized I had no real I rolled over and fell asleep again. Finally, we all rolled out and get ourselves together to explore the island's marshes in the boats. We went through until we ran out of water. Then, we headed towards the open ocean, where some people decided to go surfing...Sue and I stayed back and just floated around a bit, enjoying the scenery and watching everyone else. After we came in from that, we went for another hike. This time into the island where we discovered the alligators. That night we ended our stay at Capers with a nice bonfire.

Tuesday was by far the toughest day of kayaking. We went over 7 miles the whole day through a lot of territory. We did take a couple of breaks, but I was a little cranky by the end. Sue can attest to my cranky mood. The only injury for me occurred as we got out of our boats after the 7 mile journey. I didn't balance myself well getting out on the boat dock and proceeded to slip and smack my rear and back on the dock. It didn't hurt right away but let me tell you the next morning I thought a Sumo wrestler had slept on me. There was also quite a bruise.

After we loaded the boats, we headed back to the KOA to get a shower...which felt awesome after 3 days without one. That night we tasted real food (as compared to the freeze dried, ramen noodles & power bars we had been eating). We went to a restaurant called The Wreck. Now, it doesn't look like a place you should be eating from the outside...or really from the inside either, but they had great seafood, friendly waitstaff, and quite honestly nothing beats a plate full of perfectly friend seafood and a cold beer after a long day. After our feast at The Wreck, we headed into downtown Charleston, where we proceed to take a driving tour (looking for a parking spot) and then get rained on. So, what did we do...went for Starbucks. Seriously...everyone was going their separate ways, but we all ended up there. After the rain let up, Sue and I walked around a bit. I would really like to visit Charleston again, it looks like a great city.

Our final day was another early one, but we had IHOP for breakfast. Let me tell you...there's nothing like having green eggs and ham with Whoo cakes to get your day started. We then put in at Remie Point, cruised around the Harbor, under the Cooper River Bridge, past a aircraft carrier and Coast Guard ship. We also stopped on a little island that served as a bird sanctuary, passing by some shrimp boats (I could not resist acting out the scene from Forrest Gump...boiled shrimp, broiled shrimp, fried shrimp...hehe), before getting out at Shem Creek. We then grabbed some lunch at the marina before heading back to Georgia.

During the journey home, we played a rousing game of mobile Who Wants to be a Millionaire that ended in some disappointment. Needless to say, we could only get to the $500,000 level. When we got back, we unloaded the boats into the Ramsey Center and headed home exhausted. I slept very soundly the next few nights.

The experience taught me a lot about myself and my abilities as well as allowed me to completely let myself relax and enjoy the world around me. These times truly give me the perspective I need to keep doing what I'm doing. I felt a lot of clarity and gained a new sense of myself out there on the water. I can only hope that I can hold onto that for awhile. At least until the end of this semester.

Some pictures:

Setting up camp the first night

Our Capers Island campsite

Preparing to launch

Awesome shot of me edging

How you doin?

Good Morning Kayaks!

"Googly Eyes"

More pictures:
My Flickr
Dr. Cramer - one of our guides
Sue's blog

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