On July 11, Deb Walters plans to embark on a solo kayak expedition from Maine to Guatemala. The purpose of 63-year-old Walters' passage is to raise awareness and funds for a school for children living in the Guatemala City garbage dump community. She plans to paddle more than 2,000 nautical miles over the course of a year.
Walters intends to stay close to shore from Yarmouth, Maine, to mid New Jersey and then follow the Intracoastal Waterway to Florida. She then plans to travel from Florida to Belize aboard the sailing vessel Polaris with Bernie Horn, president of Polaris Capital Management, and Rich Howe, Safe Passage Board president. For the final leg, Walters will kayak along a barrier reef and open coast to Rio Dulce, Guatemala.
Walters is a grandmother and retired scientist. Her previous solo-kayaking expeditions were in the Arctic, along the Atlantic coasts in the Northeast and the Maritimes, and through tropical waters in Mexico.
From the press release:
"Deb was inspired to undertake such an audacious journey when she met the parents of the garbage dump. Deb has served on the board of Safe Passage, a Maine nonprofit working with the 600 children and their families in the garbage dump community to provide education, nutrition, health and entrepreneurial support for eight years. She decided to elevate her commitment by paddling from Maine to Guatemala, stopping along the way to share the children’s stories. Deb is a prime example of how normal people can do extraordinary things when passion is combined with grit and perseverance.
Almost all of Deb's equipment has been donated by 40 corporate sponsors, including a custom-designed kayak, and more. Walters is paying her own personal expedition costs, so all money raised will go directly towards adding additional grades to the Safe Passage school.
The public can follow Deb’s daily posts on social media and hear her speak during frequent stops. Her quest can be followed at www.KayakForSafePassageKids.org, Facebook, Twitter, and her blog, where she will post updates and videos."