The miracle mystery tour continues, OBX style. We woke up on the boat in River Dunes and went to sleep in a hotel room in Buxton. The local boating community said that the gators along the ICW *might* not bother us but we should be particularly careful of the water moccasin. Duly noted. It was about 30+ miles across the Pungo River Canal and another 25 or so up Alligator River...with no support boat, and no obvious place  for us to exit the water. We emailed Will Rich, who had done a Key West to Maine paddle two years prior for SUP Clean-up and Wounded Warrior Project. Will said he and his paddle partner had come up through NC on the inside of the Outer Banks and didn't know anything about Alligator River. Thanks for the inspiration Will! We decided to avoid the gators and snakes, do a lateral move and find a drop in point around the Buxton/Avon area in order to finish our trip along the OBX. Surprise to the spot tracker checkers! 

Our trip has been filled with dropping in and pulling out of many strangers' (and now friends') properties. Today, we did a quick street side clothes change and dropped in between a couple houses. It was a beautiful afternoon paddle 20 miles up to Rodanthe. We paddled across miles of shallow shoals, beside and over marsh land, and giggled each time we saw a skate beneath us, a big turtle beside us, or a white egret posing at water's edge. Along the way, we were reminded of the purpose of our paddle when we found a black mylar balloon with the words "Congratulations grad!" fading away as it floated in the water. We scooped it up, bunggeed it down and kept moving. Shortly thereafter, one of us went to retrieve a red mylar balloon on a red string trapped in the grass at the edge of the water, while the other found a yellow balloon with a white ribbon floating in the water. We thought again about the skates, the turtles, and the egret we just saw, and whether they could distinguish between their food and our party remnants. 

The skyline lit up as the sun set and we pulled in to the next stranger's dock right at dark - who happened to be a kiteboarder with a rack in his garage big enough for at least 8 SUP's. Thanks Matt! We stored the boards there and left with great satisfaction about the decision to come to the Outer Banks and excitement about the mere 75 miles to go. 

We stayed up til midnight pouring over maps crafting our strategy to navigate the tides of the Oregon Inlet, an increasing SSW wind, a goal of 45 miles and where to stop to refill our CamelBaks.


06/16/2013 9:23pm

Thanks for sharing. Glad the alternate route is working. I'm teaching 60 high school students to kayak this week. Hoping to instill the sense of wonder for our marine environment and charge them with stewardship for its well being. Might even introduce a few of them to SUP.


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