Day 43 – The Pascagoula Riviera

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Yesterday I was joined on the water by David, the other half of my hosting team, and Penny, a paddling friend of Lori Bosarge at the start. It is so nice to have company on the water-I always welcome it, as this is often such a lonely endeavor on the water. Today I look forward to paddling with Eric and Alice. We plan to stop at the LePointe-Krebs house, built by a plantation owner back in 1753 out of tabby material-which is crushed oysters and Spanish moss to make a cement type mixture. This is the same tabby material used in the slave quarters that you can still find in parts of the South like Sapelo and St. Katherine’s Islands in Georgia.

Here I sit in the guest “all purpose room” of Eric and Kim Richards. They have a wonderful home and a separate high up boat house above their dock here in the “Pascagoula Riviera,” as their friend, Alice, calls it. Part guest room, part entertainment mini-hall, part playroom, it is a fabulous space looking over the marshes and back bays of the Pascagoula River.

Once again it’s another place I have to come back to, especially since, according to Eric, I missed the really good parts-I mostly picked a straight line to the Chevron facility which I felt like I was looking at FOREVER. I couldn’t help myself yesterday and had to take advantage of good wind at my back, blowing me West. There were surfable bumps to ride, and – even all loaded down more than it should be – the canoe seemed happy to be out in the wind swell and small chop of the Mississippi Sound.

Eric met me on the water on his peddle SUP board, which is out out by Hobie. It handled the little rolling wakes of passing boats just fine and seems to be a fun alternative to paddling a SUP. I had tried one at the Carolina Cup this past April and thought it was a lot of fun. So Eric came out to meet me and give me some history of the area, including the oldest building around that was built before the Louisiana Purchase. Today we’ll go visit it, as Eric and Kim’s friend Alice is very involved in the restoration of it.

After a fabulous dinner of salmon and wonderful salad (note to self-get the recipe of the salmon glaze and the the chick filet kale salad Alice made), fantastic local beer-“Lazy Magnolia”-we retreated to the porch of the guest house/entertainment room. There we were joined by Charlie McVeigh and his wife, Minon. Charlie had been fishing and enjoying the day on the water from his kayak. He had been out there with a friend and his little dog, who apparently is the kind of dog to take with you if you are camping in the backwoods and cypress swamps of Mississippi.  I’m hoping for one of Brent Taylor’s little rat terriers, but I’m a little worried with my bad Coco at home. She can be really nasty with other dogs at feeding times.

We had a great time just chatting out on the porch and looking at the lights on the water. I was surprised none of them had ever noticed the Southern Cross in the sky-it is something which I love to see but for some reason I never made a point of looking for it when I was in the South before. It’s just kinda cool to me to be able to see that constellation. I guess there’s something in my make-up, well, according to my Grandfather Howard, my Grandma Howard was a “Southern Belle.” She was from Texas, so who knows, is that special warm spot I have for this area in my genetic make-up somehow? I do really love it down here-the honesty of the people, their good heartedness, their willing to dig deep and help a fellow human. Sure you’ve got some rascals but it does seem to me the good outweighs the bad. And hey, no one down here wants dirty water, either!

Eric told me about some of the battles he’s been involved with to keep the areas waterways clean. He is very dialed into the Gulf Restoration Network as well as the kayaking world down here. They seem to have a great bunch of folks and get people out paddling and camping in groups, which is a really fun way to see the cypress swamps and smaller rivers. The thought of it makes me itch to come back and take more time to poke around-there is so much history here and beautiful places to see.

And the stories! I could listen all night to Alice and Eric and Charlie swap camping and water stories. Well, maybe after today we’ll have some more stories-Alice and Eric are going to join me on the paddle to Ocean Springs today, where I’ll be staying with one of Eric’s friends, Cynthia Ramseur. Actually, she connected me with Eric. I’m really looking forward to meeting her.

I better get moving! The sky is getting lighter and I’m sure Eric and Kim have breakfast going, although I’m STILL stuffed from last night!

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