The alarm went off at 4:15 and we prepped for a 45 mile paddle up the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, across the Oregon Inlet, through the Roanoke Sound, past Kitty Hawk and on to Duck. We were excited by two emails from local friends and watermen... Patrick Riley with Outerbanks Kiting and Jack Crouch From Outer Banks Paddleboard... both of whom offered support and kind words of encouragement. We knew the winds would be strong but we thought we could navigate the predicted 15-20 mph SSW winds.

Loaded with PocketFuel (pineapple coconut and chunky coconut cherry today :)), Garden of Life protein bars, Clif Shot Bloks, Erin Baker's cookies, and 2 camel baks with 2 scoops of EFS in each... and the requisite sun protection lip balm tucked in the leg of our tights... we headed up to Matt's house where we had stopped and stored our boards the night before. When we got out of the car, the winds had increased to 25+ and were way more west than south. We considered tacking back and forth, but with no support boat, 20+ miles of unprotected open water, and the Oregon Inlet, we thought perhaps it would be safer to head to ocean side of the Outer Banks for a little protection from the dunes. The protection wasn't enough...at least our kiteboarding friends would have a fantastic day. 

Throughout this trip, there have been many unexpected reminders of why we chose this adventure. Today, the reminder was what we saw when walked across the dunes to assess paddling on the ocean side. We immediately noticed how much plastic littered the sea grass. There were bottle caps, bottles, take-out everything, plastic bags, balloon strings, lighters, an empty pack of Marlboros, the "TOR" from a TORO lawnmower, Styrofoam cups, fishing line, and fortunately/unfortunately a full trash can in the 20-25 mph wind with no lid. We decided that rather than risk getting blown out to sea, we would pick up trash, enjoy some time in the waves, and get back on our boards as soon as conditions improve. 

Our Garmins are holding fast at 225 miles, with 75 miles to go, and we plan to press start again and complete the paddle part of our mission this weekend. In the meantime.... we made a promise to ourselves, and to each other, that until we got back on the water we would commit to refusing single-use plastic. The bottled water, plastic bags, straws, plastic utensils, and take out boxes are no brainers. It will be interesting to notice the impact in our daily routines by refusing food in single-use packaging at the grocery store and personal care products in plastic.

We have gotten texts and messages along the way from friends who shared little changes they made as we were paddling - Katie Elzer-Peters talked about how to wrap her homemade energy bars in reusable plastic bags from EMS, Patty Tikkala shared her story about switching from single plastic bottles to refillable water containers at her party, Patty Davis told us how she planned to take a reusable water bottle to tennis rather than buy water, Jackie Hill is planning to purchase a carbonation machine to make seltzer water at home, instead of buying it in plastic bottles.

So, we will end this post by sharing how excited we are by the friends and partners we have made thus far, and an invitation for anyone to join us in our adventure in refusing single-use plastic.
Back on the water in a few days.... 



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