River Trip 2013 Overview
We provide all food for the meals, support vessels, shuttle vans and even a kayak or canoe if you do not have one. Participants pitch in to help with setting up and taking down camp, gathering firewood and such. The most common group event is the cargo line which forms daily to pass along gear from the boats to the camping sites. The Starfish Enterprise is the rally point throughout the trip. The group is kept together through a Lead paddler at the front of the group and a power boat as the Sweep at the end of the group. These two keep in touch with the Starfish through VHF radio communications to ensure the group stays together and to help ensure that if any paddler needs assistance it can be readily available. A satellite phone is maintained on the Starfish in the event of an emergency that requires immediate contact with outside rescue resources.
We have strived to do everything possible to make the trip safe, fun and educational. All participants should be aware that this trip does involve risks associated with extended outdoor adventures in a place where the wilderness that contains beauty and relaxation also contains hazards associated with poisonous snakes, alligators, biting and stinging insects and water hazards.
Core to the logistical support is the Starfish Enterprise, a 36’ power catamaran that has been customized to support long range paddle trips. The starfish is powered with twin 150hp outboards and has flip down running boards along both sides to allow paddlers to pull up, tie off and go aboard for rest and / or refreshment. The Starfish has a ramp attached to the front or side to the shore that allows easy access to the galley where the meals are prepared and served. Other features include wash up facilities and hot showers, 120VAC electricity, ice maker, 300 gallons of fresh water and a marine toilet with a 100 gallon holding tank. We utilize center console power boats for gear transportation, river shuttles and Sweep to provide fatigued paddlers with a ride.
The Starfish is accompanied by our kayak hauler designed to open up the options for paddler trip when making long lake passages or to allow tired or exhausted paddlers the opportunity to take a break. This new maritime museum designed vessels demonstrates innovative marine craft for an evolving river economy. Following are the engineering drawings as designed and as built.
Cell Phones, Internet, Computers & Power
We have a satellite telephone on board for emergencies, although cell phones work in much of the basin. We have an air card based WIFI router that provides internet access when the service is available. 120VAC current is provided via an inverter and generator on-board the Starfish. Plenty of outlets are available on board Starfish for charging phones, cameras, and other electronic gadgets.
Shuttles, Van Transportation and River Shuttles
To simplify logistics for the through paddlers and crew we provide land based van shuttle transportation between Columbus, Chattahoochee and Apalachicola at the start and end of the week long segments. We do not provide land shuttle in between those points. Anyone wishing to make only a portion of the trip will need to arrange for land transportation on their own. We do provide limited river based shuttle between the evening camp site and the closest landing for trip embark / debark. Shuttle vans will pick up passengers at parking locations within 1 mile of the interstate ramps.
The shuttle schedule is as follows :
- Prior to departure, shuttle vans from Atlanta (the Buford Dam Store location) all the way down the I-85 corridor to I-185 to the Columbus departure point. Those vans then continue down to Chattahoochee, FL via US Highway 27 and then to Apalachicola, before making the return trip making another stop in Chattahoochee, FL on the way and stopping in Columbus. The objective in this trip is to pick up passengers and allow for car drops at the trip stop point.
- At the End of Week #1, we will run vans from Chattahoochee, FL to Apalachicola and then return back northward to Chattahoochee, Columbus and Buford as necessary.
- At the End of Week #2, we will run vans from Apalachicola to Chattahoochee, Columbus and Buford.
Shuttles for the day trip participants will be handled by power boat that will run the participant back up to the put in point where they joined that day. Day trip participants must either return at the end of the day or continue the paddle all the way to the finish in Apalachicola. There will be no shuttle vans supporting day trip participants since they will be returned by boat.
Gear Planning- What we provide
We provide camping tables & chairs, portable fire pit, rain tarps for foul weather, lanterns, shovels, axes, hatchets and saws. When we provide the kayak or canoe, we also provide a paddle and PFD.
Gear Planning- What you will need to provide
You need to bring clothing, personal rain gear, tent and sleeping bag, dry bags as necessary to transport you gear and a spirit of adventure. Overnight accommodations consist of camping on the sand bars, bluffs or designated campgrounds along the river. Use the Suggested Gear List for more information on what to bring.
The Cost for is $595 per person per week or $995 for the whole adventure. The cost for participation on a daily basis is $125 per day which covers river shuttle between camp and nearby landings.
If the trip must be canceled due to adverse weather or river conditions, a full refund will be applied. The trips require a minimum of 20 participants and we will allow up to a maximum of forty. If we do not have the minimum number of participants signed up for a scheduled trip, we will process a refund.
- USCG licensed master captain for running of the catamarans, Two for week #1 and one for week #2.
- USCG approved mate for running of the catamarans. Two for week #1 and one for week #2.
- Gear boat operators, Two for both weeks.
- Medical professional to be point person for trip first aid and emergencies.
- Chef / cook for galley duty on the Starfish Enterprise.
- Educators with local knowledge for presentations of local historical, environmental, cultural and maritime heritage.
How to sign up
You can sign up for the paddle trip via the web at the RiverEcoLogic web store or by sending a check, along with registration form and waivers, to the Apalachicola Maritime Museum at 103 Water Street, Apalachicola, FL, 32328. The links below take you to the trip sign up based on your desires. The first option is for the entire two week trip. The next two option links allow you to sign up for either the first or second week of the trip only. The third group of option links allows you to sign up for individual days. Note that when you enter the web store using a link below, you will be at step 3 in the process which prompts for the number of passengers and then proceeds through date selection and on to checkout.
Contributors & Sponsors
HLS Property Mgmt, LLC dba The Dam Store Kayak & Canoe Rentals and RiverEcoLogic.
The Apalachicola River Paddle Trip 2011 is brought to you by the Apalachicola Maritime Museum as a public outreach and education event consistent with the stated mission of the Non Profit Corporate charter from the Florida Secretary of State and as approved in the 501c3 filing with the Internal Revenue Service in order to provide education spread the message of the cultural, heritage and environmental values of the Apalachicola Chattahoochee Flint River Basin, the Apalachicola and the Gulf ecosystems. This trip is provided through a number of contractors, the most significant of which is HLS Property Management, LLC which operates as The Buford Dam Store, The Dam Store Canoe & Kayak, RiverEcoLogic.com and the Lighthouse Café, among others.