Here at Brightstone Transitions we are coming off an epic Winter break trip! We teamed up with Breakwater Expeditions to provide our students with an exhilarating and high-adventure “getaway”. Lars Hall, our guide and one of Breakwater’s Founders, describes the excursion perfectly.
On December 14, 2015, 7 students and 2 staff from Brightstone Transitions made the long drive down to south Florida to embark on a 5 day ocean canoe trip to the 10,000 Islands region of the Everglades. After picking up and meeting the Breakwater Guides in Fort Myers, the group, now complete, made their way to Everglades City for the evening, only to wake up early and put on the water the next day.
After organizing all their gear and reviewing canoe skills, the group put on the water in Everglades City and paddled out into the maze of mangos in search of the sandy beaches and endless views of the Gulf of Mexico. After navigating through the labyrinth of mangroves, the group had lunch on Picnic Key and then finished the day of paddling to Camp Lulu Key, their camp for the evening. Although the longest day of the trip, the group benefited from its early rise and had the wind and tides in their favor for their 9 mile paddle.
The following morning on the 16th, the group woke up eager for a new destination. Knowing the longest paddle day was behind them, the group wasn’t as rushed and took their time this morning. The day brought warm weather, cool breeze and numerous dolphin sightings. After paddling about 6 miles, they reached White Horse Key, their destination for the next 2 nights.
The day of the 17th brought relaxation, fun, swimming, beach combing and more as the group enjoyed a well deserved lay over day on Whitehorse Key.
With a day of rest underneath their belt, the group picked up once again and headed to their next destination, Brush Island, about a 5 1/2 mile paddle. It was at Brush Island where we encountered our first taste of maritime weather. As the winds were blowing 25-30 Knots, the group made camp in the evening and hunkered down as the storm blew away any bugs that might have been there.
Showers and running water were all the group needed for motivation on the morning of the 19th, as the group woke up for the sunrise and paddled the final 3 1/2 miles to their take out in Goodland. There the group was picked up and taken back to Everglades city to clean gear, themselves and enjoy a final meal together in town.
In total, the group completed about 24 miles of ocean canoeing. Along the way, we saw dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and numerous marine life scattered along the low tide line. Also, although displaying a valiant and tenacious effort, Brightstone’s leader was unable to reel in a fish…
Lars Hall Founder / Operations Director, Breakwater Expeditions
Our young adults were able to get out in nature and experience a peaceful setting while also pushing themselves both physically and mentally. The main goal for us was to have fun outside. Brightstone students took it to the next level and stepped of their comfort zones. They showed a ton of leadership and growth. We are grateful to Breakwater Expeditions for such a great opportunity and a big special thank you to our guides, Lars & Bonnie.
Jason Cox Director of Business Development, Brightstone Transitions