|Sunrise Over The Ghost Fleet|
Day 26, July 21stWhile the cicadas were still wide awake, and the moon was in full view, our crusty eyes began to creak open at 4:45 in the morning in high spirit for our 24 mile paddle. As tents were quickly broken down and granola bars were passed around, all the canoes were loaded and ready to launch. As the sun began to rise above the slumbering ghost fleet and the moon began to disappear in the dimly lit morning sky, dozens of jellyfish began to appear around the canoes as we paused for a short pit stop near a large buoy. After a quick pep talk, our canoes began to glide over the glassy surface of the wide calm river. Miles seemed to pass by like minutes as the sun began to warm the river water and air around us. With the tide carrying us out to sea and the calm wind pushed at our backs we eventually reached our 8 mile checkpoint on a small beach protected by a riprap around 8:30. As the sun began to warm our backs, and the winds began to pick up, we kept paddling till we reached a small beach a mile or two before the 5 mile long James River Bridge. With bellies full of everything ranging from turkey, chicken, basil pesto, peanut butter, jelly and hummus, we left for a long awaited nap underneath the bridge ahead of us.
Slowly, the group began to arise from our afternoon nap. Whether we woke up from the crashing of waves from the incoming tide or the mischievous tricks from our fellow crew, we were ready to take on the other half of the day. Or so we thought. Angling our canoes into the 3 foot high surf was the easy part, keeping the canoes steady was another story. While facing headwinds of 15 mph today we realized how spoiled we were in the upper James. As a team we can face anything this river gives us, but entering fierce water is overwhelming. Courageously our canoes took a rest on a nearby shore and those who arrived first aided the paddlers who were struggling. After quickly recollecting ourselves and switching up canoe partners, we took on the tidal James like never before. Singing songs and encouraging each other got us through the paddle as we approached our home for the night. We were happy to arrive yet sad as we took in our last major paddle together.
Graciously we were given a feast of tacos and burritos. We loaded up our stomachs and enjoyed desserts as Hampton students were interviewed by a local newspaper. To end our day we were provided with a pool open after hours just for us. We almost felt guilty swimming in water that wasn’t the James River but appreciated it all the same. As we wind down our night on a high note, it goes to show that even after a muscle wrenching day we are able to look back on our day with laughter and great memories.
|An Early Start to a Hot Day|
|Chillin With The Jelly Fish|
|24 Miles Comes To An End|