With a cold front following him and rain all around him, kayaker Daniel Alvarez paddled into Gulfport Thursday afternoon. He’d spent the night, by his best estimation, on a spoil island on the intracoastal waterway, somewhere by the Narrows (a skinny stretch of water off Indian Rocks Beach). He paddled into the Boca Ciega Yacht Club, pulled his 17-foot banana-yellow sea kayak out of the water, and waited for his Gulfport connection to get him hot soup and a warm home.
Mr. Alvarez is nearing the end of his 4,000 mile paddle from the northern edge of Minnesota to Key West. His trip, he hopes, will do more than offer him personal satisfaction: he wants to make people realize they need to help protect the waters that pushed him along his journey.
Outdoors magazine offered Alvarez a $10,000 grant to make the journey, and he, in turn, donated some of his own money to the four organizations he says help protect the route. He endorses four organizations on his travel blog, Predictably Lost: Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, American Rivers, Gulf Restoration Network and Florida Wildlife Federation.
“You need a lot of equipment to paddle 4,000 miles from the northern tip of Minnesota to Key West, but more than any boat, paddle, or sleeping bag, you need water,” Mr. Alvarez says on Predictably Lost.
The Boca Ciega Yacht Club and the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce co-hosted a reception for him and on Friday he spoke at the Gulfport Library. This past weekend, he climbed aboard his skinny sea kayak, and pointed it towards Key West. His only company, as it has been for much of his trip, is a plastic pink flamingo he pulled out of the water.
“I was going to throw it out, but then I named it,” he said. “Once you name something...”
Read Daniel Alvarez's trip log, Predictably Lost. Sincere thanks to Gulfportian Margarete Tober, Mr. Alvarez’s “Gulfport connection” who told the Gabber about this aqua-adventurer.