Sailing with George 

Paddling along the ditch (the intercoastal waterway) in Venice I heard a voice behind me.   "Hey you gotta pretty good cadence going there! Where ya heading??"   The voice was that of my new good friend George, an outdoorsman, sailor, river runner, mason, and just about as many other skills as you can think of. You can imagine we got along real well! George has been sailing down the coast and is trying to get to the Keys. We both were struggling with the weather and after talking I ended up on his boat!

  Sailing was a nice little break from paddling for the day, and it gave me a little time to get out of the weather and get cleaned up. Let me tell ya, I definitely have the sailing bug, and if I wasn't paddling, I'd probably still be on that boat! We split a marina fee 50/50 and boy was it nice to get a hot shower and get some laundry done! 
  Our conversations were just about endless. We always had something to talk about and jokes and banter were everywhere. One wo…

Paddling the Bay Area

Coming into the St. Pete area has been quite an interesting trek! The rain has been hectic, the storms of people have been heavy as well. I'm constantly dealing with boat traffic, heavy winds and dense rains. 
 I've been enjoying the intercoastal through the west coast, as it's provided a sheltered area from the winds I've been dealing with. There's been many mangrove islands to paddle through, and beautiful grass beds to peek at while I pass by. 
 - Coming through Indian Rocks area. The bridges are always fun to pass under, they also serve as a good reference for distance and pace. The only time I've been to this area before has just been day visits to the local beaches. I've really enjoyed seeing the west coast from a different and new perspective. 
- Trying to cover ground before the storms I paddled into the night! Kayaking until 10:30 pm, I felt faster in the cooler air and dark skies. 
  Thanks to my buddy Cole Volpe and his family! They gave me a grea…

How my first year of college prepared me for paddling the gulf coast

I get asked all the time, "Dude how'd you even train for this trip?"     Well the truth is I really didn't. I didn't touch my kayak until a week before I left, I didn't even paddle at all before the trip. I just kinda jumped into things, and after a few hops, skips and leaps here I am.  I was recently thinking about how since I left there hasn't been this big shift in thinking you normally get when you're on a trip. Usually when I set off on an excursion it's like everything slows down and you tune out the rest of the world. The past month has just seemed normal, just time passing by as I move place to place.  I figure I owe this lack of "shift" to the fact that I've been adapting to college and living away from home the past year. Everything has been constantly moving, changing schedules, changing places, meeting new people and running around on quick trips. There was always something new, and I've grown used to looking around e…

Sailing to Suwannee! 

Well today was quite the adventure! Shortly after leaving our new friends John and Joni we paddled a couple miles out to a point where we could just see Horseshoe beach off in the distance maybe 12 miles away. The wind was straight on our backs, and I thought about how much I had been wanting to try sailing my kayak..."Hey Harrison, how do you feel about trying sail?"After a quick stop and some paracord/tarp quantum physics rigging we had ourselfs a fully functional catamaran downwind spinnaker! 
  Our rig was simple. Two corners of a lightweight tarp tied to our decks with the top corners tied to our paddles. The boats tacked together with nothing but  our spare paddles and arms.  The  paddles would act as masts and I figured the whole thing could be quickly taken down in the event we needed to separate and paddle.    We learned and adapted as we went. Every mile that passed by we figured out how to postion ourselves and our lines to maximize speed and maintain course. We…

A Big Bend Thank you 

We've been enjoying some incredible paddling the past few days here in the Big Bend! The weather has been exceptional and the scenery has been incredible! Today marks my 20th day of paddling and I'll be coming into the Suwannee river! Yesterday not even 20 minutes into our paddle I saw two Sea Kayakers off in the distance. I told Harry "I'll wait for you up ahead I'm going to see who this is!" I'm so glad I paddled ahead. As soon as I caught up I was greeted with the friendly faces of John and Joni, two paddlers from Jacksonville. Sure enough they had actually heard of my trip and been following my SPOT tracker! I couldn't believe that out in such a remote location I ran into people who had heard of me! 
 We ended up paddling the whole day together and the miles flew by as we spent the day chatting non stop and observing the many sea turtles, sharks and rays we came across in the shallow sea grass beds. 
Later on they offered us a place to stay in Stei…

Bikes Bikes Bikes  

So currently after paddling roughly 100 miles in the past 3 days I've been holding up in Tallahassee. It's been a great place to wait out the unfavorable weather and for my good friend Harrison to come up and paddle the next big section with me. Right now the trip stands at about 300 miles in two weeks, with around 500 miles left. I'm feeling good and ready to paddle, but as of now I've been pedaling!     Anyone who knows me knows I love bikes and have been working on them since I was kid. I currently have 7 stuffed in my apartment while I'm away. I figured while I was here in Tally I'd check out the local bike community and see if I could get my hands on something to ride around. I got much more than that. 
   I poked around a few shops and had some good talks but nothing prepared me for where I spent most of my time today. A friend of a friend referred me to Bike House, a local warehouse loaded with bikes, piles of parts, tools, and quite a few friendly hel…

Artificial Reef Chief

This Tuesday I had the opportunity to meet up with my dad (Keith Kolasa) and artificial reef specialist Tim Mullane in Port St. Joe. We met at their shipyard, Colleen Marine, and got to check out the material that Hernando county is having deployed this summer. All of the material will be loaded on a barge and shipped over through the Gulf of Mexico.

 "What a heck of a boat" I thought as we walked up to the barge. I couldn't imagine driving this massive hunk of metal loaded down with tons and tons of concrete all the way back down to Hernando beach, let alone my 100 pound gear-laiden sea kayak. Later we had walked around the ship yard observing the material that will be placed on the sea floor off Hernando Beach. Concrete pyramids stacked 8 feet tall, cubes and culverts, and other innovative designs were scattered all over the place. "Everything is made here and designed to provide habitat and structure for the marine organisms" Tim explained. "If you pu…