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Thread: Kayaking around the Gulf of Mexico

  1. #1
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    Houston Chronicle

    Feb. 6, 2003, 6:17PM
    Two kayakers are ready to circle Gulf of Mexico
    By BOB MARSHALL

    Copyright 2003 Newhouse News Service
    NEW ORLEANS -- On Sunday, Arthur Hebert, 45, and Larry Koenig, 49, will step into their sea kayaks on Louisiana's Grand Isle beach and start paddling west. If all goes well, in a little more than six months they will return to Grand Isle paddling from the east, having covered almost 4,000 miles in completing a circle of the Gulf of Mexico with stops in Texas, Mexico, Cuba, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
    They can list a number of noble reasons for leaving their families and careers for half a year and spending about $15,000 each -- not counting lost salaries. Reasons like spreading the story of Louisiana's coastal erosion problem, or trying to help nations along their route find a greater appreciation for the importance of a healthy Gulf.
    But when pressed about their motives, Hebert, of Gretna, and Koenig, from Baton Rouge, are as clear as can be.
    "It's the adventure," said Hebert. "When it comes down to it, I guess we could travel by car or plane to all those countries and talk about the coast. But it's the adventure -- paddling places we've never been, the uncertainty of what's over the next wave, not knowing where we'll be spending each night, the conditions we'll find when we come ashore.
    "Everyone needs adventure in their lives. I know I do."
    Their plan is simple.
    "We're just going to follow the coasts, camping along the way, and make two long open-water crossings," Hebert said, with the kind of understatement common to endurance athletes.
    It's all there on the Web site, lacostadelgolfo.com. Hebert and Koenig have divided the adventure into 34 sections for the sake of organization and for providing locations where they can be resupplied by their support group back home. Janell Koenig will coordinate the effort from Baton Rouge, meeting the pair where she can and also mailing items to designated spots.
    Their 17-foot kayaks will be packed with enough food and ultralightweight camping gear to make them self-sufficient for eight to 12 days at a time. They will carry portable GPS units to help plot their positions and speed. They plan to average 25 miles per day, depending on wind and sea conditions.
    The two greatest challenges on the trip, Hebert said, will be crossing 133.4 miles of open water between the Yucatan and Cuba, and paddling 110.4 miles between Havana and Key West. Both sections will require paddling against stiff currents and potentially dangerous seas, napping aboard their 17-foot-long, 21.5-inch-wide kayaks and contending with uncertain welcomes from various governments.
    "We're still working on some official recognition from the Cuban government, but we've talked to a lot of American sailors who say the Cubans welcome private boats on cruises, so we're counting on that," Hebert said.

  2. #2
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    I've had the pleasure and honor of paddling with Arthur Hebert--quite a guy. The article doesn't mention the fact that he did a solo paddle across the Gulf of Mexico, from Yucatan to Louisiana, a few years back.

  3. #3
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    Wow! I never heard about that. I thought it was a tricky proposition just to cross from the Yucatan to Cuba & then to Florida. Across the Gulf from the Yucatan to LA is a heck of a trip. I guess his biggest worry will be the Cuban authorities.

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by JimHillman:

    I guess his biggest worry will be the Cuban authorities.
    Actually, I would bet there will be little or no trouble from the Cuban authorities.

  5. #5
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    I can't imagine sitting on my butt for that long,,and I'm an expert at it.

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