My favorite local trip; river to the ocean

This is one of those local trips that’s a lot of fun because it’s not just kayaking. I begin on the river and kayak for about 30 minutes, then kayak through a narrow channel that takes me to a barrier island. From here, I walk across the island which is more like a jungle, and end up on the beach. Since the beach is only accessible by boat, its usually very serene.
Here’s a quick video of the scenery. Sometimes great places are close to home. Enjoy!

Ducky in Palm Beach

“Again?”….I mused as the big, blue, bus size amphibious vehicle drove by. It seemed every time I was at lunch downtown, the vehicle named Diva Duck would drive by. Not only that, it was always completely full of camera toting tourists.

Curiosity won out and a friend and I finally took the plunge and booked a tour on the Diva Duck. As we waited to board the big blue vehicle, I really wanted to crawl underneath and see how it all worked. Fortunately, our onboard guide gave us a quick overview of the vehicle.

While the name on the side may say Diva Duck, the real name is the Hydra-Terra and sports dimensions of 39’ long, 8’ wide, and 13’ feet high. To keep all of that moving along, it is powered by a 300 hp 7.2L Cat diesel engine, via an Allison heavy-duty transmission, Velvet drive, electronic rudder control, and 100% combined power on land and water for beaching operations. On land it can hit 70mph and on sea 6 knots.

We loaded up, headed out and were treated to a plethora of duck stories and puns. Admittedly, some of them did “quack us up”.

Riding in the open air was fun, but the highlight of the tour began with a right turn onto a boat ramp located on North Flagler drive. As we waited for the boat ramp to clear, a curious crowd of onlookers gathered. Everyone wanted to see this big vehicle make the transition from wheels to water.

Soon, we eased down the boat ramp and within seconds this behemoth of a vehicle was casually floating along. The guide noted that the vessel is said to be unsinkable and for you history buffs, they said the same about the Titanic. Thankfully there aren’t icebergs in the Lakeworth Lagoon.

Interestingly factoid though: the vessel is manufactured with buoyancy foam filled compartments and will remain afloat with all the drain plugs removed and full engine room flooding. Wouldn’t it be fun to be the people who conduct those kinds of tests!!

We floated across to the shores of Palm Beach and heard stories of famous people and their homes. Does the name Marjorie Merriweather Post sound familiar? I’ll give you a hint; cereal. More specifically, Post Cereal.

Speaking of elegant homes on Palm Beach; most all of them have towering hedges that are beautifully groomed and of course provide ultimate privacy. I thought it was just being artistic, but it’s a little more than that. Zoning rules only allow a six foot privacy fence, however, there are no rules on hedge height. I like the hedges better anyway; they add a natural and artistic touch.


As we turned and headed back, the afternoon overcast and light breeze turned to black and windy. Soon, we could see that 30% chance of precipitation heading straight for us. However, I remember the forecast said 30% chance of rain, not 30% chance of monsoon!!

The wind blew and rain came down in buckets; 10 gallon buckets at that!! The nose of the Duck confidently bobbed in the waves as we headed toward land.

The vehicle has open sides for better views so you know what that means when it rains. Yep, we were like ducks in a hurricane. However ducks have oil on their feathers so their body stays dry. We don’t and didn’t!! The cheery crew was more than accommodating with towels and wiped off our seats numerous times. It wasn’t a big deal as most of were laughing and taking pictures of each other totally drenched. It’s only rain…..

As we disembarked, drenched and a bit windblown, I must confess, I felt a little bit ducky. My friend and I laughed about being soaked and said; “We’ll never forget this trip!!” It’s those unexpected oddities that always lead to those great stories that begin with “Remember when…..”

If you’re looking for something unusual that combines a little bit of land, sea and history, then you might enjoy taking a tour. For more information: http://www.divaduck.com/

Disclaimer: I’m not paid by or affiliated with the company; I just took a fun ride and wrote about it

Four days, one back pack….can I really do this?

This isn’t going to fit……I said as I looked at the pile of clothes and gear on the bed. I was heading to North Carolina for the weekend and was determined to take just my back pack. I’m not a light traveler, so this was going to be a challenge, but that was part of the reason for the trip.

I could see myself getting on the plane, placing the pack under the seat, and easily disembarking upon arrival. No bag check, no fees, no waiting at the baggage claim, and no worries about trunk space. Just grab and go.

Making it work:
A little clarification is in order; my back pack is not like the large, steel framed one I carried for four days in the Grand Canyon. It’s what I call a commuter back pack that is the perfect size for traveling because it snugly fits (gets close enough), under the seat on commercial flights. In spite of it’s small size, it has been to a lot of cool places and as I write this, it’s packed for another adventure.

I was heading to the mountains, which were cold so I carried layers. First were my clothes: zip off pants, shirts, rain jacket, and socks. Next up was my DLSR with 18-200mm lens, and a water tight container that housed two video cameras and their mounting/cabling accessories. Ok, that took up all of the space. I still had my fleece jacket and a few other small items that just wouldn’t fit.

I reluctantly drug out my gym bag, which seemed to swallow everything up into a dark abyss. This isn’t going to fit under the seat at all. Plus, what am I going to take on the hiking trails? And then it hit me… I loaded everything in the back pack, and used a cloth grocery bag to hold my jacket and camera. Perfect!!

What a feeling to stroll through the airport with just my backpack and a small bag. To comply with the one carryon rule, I wore my jacket, stuffed my camera into the back pack, and rolled up the shopping bag. I made it with one bag after all; thankfully I didn’t have to open it till I arrived!

Freedom:
Wow, what a way to travel!! When it came to get off the plane, I just grabbed my pack and went outside to wait for my friend. No waiting for my luggage at the baggage claim, no lifting or wheeling thirty pounds of luggage around the airport.
At my friend’s house, I left the cameras in the pack, and swapped the clothes for snacks. Within a short time of arriving, I was on the ground exploring.

The rewards:
I’ve never traveled so light and it was fun. I enjoyed refreshing mountain streams nestled in the forests, scenic views from the tops of mountains, long waterfalls, and peaceful hikes through the forest.

Returning home was bittersweet, but now I know that I DON’T HAVE to take it all with me. Life is full of analogies and I couldn’t help but wonder if I could pack a little lighter in life. Hmmmm….that’s a whole different story.

If you get the opportunity to ditch the luggage and just grab your back pack and head out, you should try it. The freedom is addicting.