Charlie Para ~ December 2016
(11/30/2016) Where are you from? Your profession (or former one, if retired)? I am from Jacksonville, Florida. I am a retired engineer for the local electric, water and sewer utility. When and how did you become interested in paddling? I am mainly a sailor. I bought a foldable kayak for a trip to play with and because it would fit on my sailboat. It turned out that I enjoyed paddling around. Where is your favorite place to paddle? I like to explore around small islands and paddle out to a reef to do some snorkeling. So far, it has always been possible, if not graceful, getting back into the kayak from deep water. What’s the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip? In the Bahamas, there is an island with wild pigs that swim out to meet you as you paddle by. They are pretty big, not cute, and fairly insistent that get their toll of cabbage or an apple. Fortunately, I was able to paddle faster than they could swim. How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where? I have been on the Suwanee River Wilderness Trail and the Dam to the Bay on the Ochlockonee River - both this year. Can you describe a Paddle Florida trip highlight? Watching my brother and some friends trying to put up a giant, leaking, borrowed tent in the rain on the last day of the Ochlockonee trip. They provided everyone with pre-dinner entertainment and ended up with about five tarps over the top looking very shanty-esque. What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip? Practice with your tent, bring or rent a kayak, and go. Paddle Florida takes care of everything else. The food, entertainment, camaraderie and paddling are all great.