Published on June 18th, 2013 | by NSB Observer0
Coastal Cleanup Raises Awareness in Edgewater
Mother Ocean’s Justin Riney and his team arrived at George R. Kennedy Memorial Park in Edgewater on Saturday, June 15 at 10:00 a.m. ready to host a coastal cleanup of an island just east of the park. As the crowd waited for him to arrive by water, we were all surprised when a van pulled up and he jumped out.
“The goal isn’t for me to paddle every square inch of the waterways,” Riney stated. “It’s an awareness tour for the waterways and to raise awareness of Florida history.”
2013 is Florida’s 500th anniversary since Ponce de Leon landed on Florida’s coastline in 1513; in celebration of this momentous occasion, Mother Ocean has partnered with Viva Florida 500, the Florida Department of State, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and various others to embark on a yearlong journey combining the best of exploration, adventure, stewardship, science and sport into a package that will include the full gamut of the waterman’s lifestyle.
Riney was greeted by excited residents ranging from children to adults, a group of Geocacher’s and representatives from Paddleboard New Smyrna.
Sean Sharrow is an active Geocacher and one of the main reasons why Riney stopped where he did in Edgewater.
For those of you who have never heard of Geocaching, their website states it is “a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.” A basic membership is free and gives you the ability to search for these hidden containers by zip code. After you find the container, you sign a piece of paper inside with your Geocacher handle. The “Corbettz” team from Apopka is shown here after they found the cache located at Kennedy Memorial Park. Click here to read more about the history of Geocaching.
Sharrow explained the Geocacher’s already had an event scheduled at George R. Kennedy Memorial Park, so when he heard about Riney and Florida Expediation 500 (XF500) having dates available in cities between Titusville and St. Augustine, he contacted Riney’s team and suggested Edgewater as a stopping point.
“Sean organized this event, but this whole stretch of waterway is really special to me,” Riney stated. “When I trained for this project I did six conservation paddles in Florida and the Indian River Lagoon was one of them. So, I started at Ponce Inlet and paddled all the way to Jupiter Inlet. And coming through this stretch was the most magical experience for me. I had a tailwind and was able to just cruise, I hugged the mainland all the way down to Haulover Beach and the red fish were exploding in front of my board. It was an unbelievable two days for me and I have been looking forward to come back here for a year.”
After stopping in Edgewater for a cleanup and hosting a meet and greet at Paddleboard New Smyrna, Riney prepared to embark on a journey from NSB to St. Augustine by paddleboard, only stopping to camp along the way.
“You get little snippets of all the local history, the culture, the people and the environment and then you move on,” Riney stated.
Riney has also captured the social media world by creating an Expedition Florida 500 (XF500) Facebook page. You can follow him along his journey as he updates daily from his iPhone, stating “It’s like reading an adventure book online in real time.”
Mother Ocean is a “nonprofit organization dedicated to creating, inspiring, and empowering ocean advocates worldwide. Founded on January 1, 2012, Mother Ocean seeks to create an oceanic movement that goes beyond the traditional confines of the coastal community, encompassing all of our planet’s waters.”
Paddleboard New Smyrna offers paddleboard rentals, lessons, tours and sales from their beautiful waterfront location at 177 North causeway in NSB. Bringing the community together is a key part of their mission, as well as keeping our community waters and parks clean and safe for all to enjoy. Find out more at www.paddleboardnsb.com.