Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Departing New Orleans on approach to Venice, LA


Joe has now passed through his original goal of New Orleans and is within a couple days reach of the final destination of the trip: the Gulf of Mexico! The past two days have been hectic on the river. Barges and super freighters have made for slower and more stressful paddling. Having to avoid these huge structures, while still putting in long miles, have made Joe very excited for the completion of the journey. The man made river traffic was not the only sighting on the river yesterday; Joe spotted a 7 foot alligator close by to the kayak. He was both excited to see it while apprehensive of approaching too close to this common inhabitant of the swampland of Louisiana. Joe passed by the animal and continued on, in his words, “playing Frogger with the other river traffic.”

Usually, without too much planning, Joe can find a suitable sandbar or campsite to set up for the night. That was not the case last night as Joe had to spend a restless night camped in the industrial section of New Orleans. He got very little sleep, always on edge from the river traffic and “unique” camp surroundings. He set out this morning, super tired from the night, but ready to push on through the swamp.

(Paddling through downtown New Orleans)

(The third nearly full moon I saw. A superfreighter is in the distance)

Today (Tuesday), Joe again encountered heavy river traffic. He received a warm welcome from the ships today though. One barge gave an encouraging honk, followed by the Captain coming out on deck and waving him along. The port authority also flashed their lights, recognizing the tiny red Mary Agnes on the water. Once past the main industrial section of New Orleans, the traffic calm slightly and Joe was able to better appreciate the river jungle that is surrounding him. Joe likes the finishing environment: every minute presents another challenge that is keeping him vigilant. The swamp is different from every other place on the river thus far. “Everything tries to eat you out here….I’m getting no rest or relaxation because I’m always doing something,” referring to the alligators, mosquitoes, and river traffic that are making this section interesting.

The Mississippi River Delta from space (photo from

Tomorrow (Wednesday), Joe will make a push to Venice, LA, the final civilization stop on his journey. The town is 46 to 47 miles away from his current sandbar campsite.

(Sandbar camp. The crawfish crawled from the water through my camp. This photo was taken when the water was low)

(This what I did when I was awoken by a crawfish in my tent. I think I was pretty sleep deprived at this point)
(The midnight intruder)

(Sunset from the sandbar camp)

He will try and rest up at the Cypress Cove Lodge before a final push to the Gulf. Joe will then try and arrange a ride back up to Venice, where we will pick him up and take him back to the Big Easy to celebrate this amazing accomplishment.

(Getting close to the Gulf)

As for myself, I begin my travels from San Diego, via Denver, to New Orleans tomorrow morning. I will have limited internet access over the next couple of days, but will be sure to update you all on Joe’s completion of the journey. Joe would like to thank everyone who has been emailing and calling him with congratulatory remarks; he really could not have done it without all your support, hospitality, companionship, goodwill, and generosity! Also, Joe would like to thank the barges and port authority for the relatively safe passage through this busy thoroughfare. This journey has been simply amazing and I look forward to a final update once Joe looks out on the Gulf of Mexico and returns safely to Venice.

Paddle on,


1 comment:

Tiffany said...

This is so way awesome! Right on, Joe! What an amazing accomplishment.