Joe Devito ~ July 2014

Posted at 10:23 am on 07/01/2014

Where are you from?  Your profession? (or former one, if retired)  I was born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey.  I went on active duty with USA in 1968, retiring from the Pentagon in 1992 as an Aviation officer.  I now live in St. Cloud, Florida.

2) When and how did you become interested in paddling?  I moved to Florida full-time in 2000 to goof and golf.  Being an outdoor enthusiast, I enjoy fishing, diving, hiking, biking, and got into kayaking to explore all the lakes and waterways here in the Orlando area.  I started off with a small 9-foot kayak locally and then took it on my first trip with Paddle Florida on the Suwanee. Bill Richards looked at it and thought maybe I was a little nuts to try doing 123 miles in it, but I made it and he gave me a kayak calendar for my good effort.

3)  Where is your favorite place to paddle?  Hard to pick just one.  I have been on most of the Paddle Florida trips, some more than once, and enjoy them equally as they are always fun with great people, exciting scenery, and unexpected happenings, especially with Marcia and Mim along. Certainly the Keys trips are the most challenging.  I also enjoy kayaking the local lakes and waterways here in central Florida.

4)  What’s the most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you on a paddling trip?  Flipping on the Keys trip (Flagler Centennial) and having Scott Keys and the Coast Guard Reserve come to my rescue. Also the feeling you get when you see most of your kayaking buddies waiting for you on the nearby shore to make sure you’re okay.

5) How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where?  11 total.  Suwanee-4; Dam-to-the-Bay-2; Keys-2; Peace-1; Withlacoochee-1; and the Wekiva-St Johns-1.

6) What keeps you coming back?  Bill, Mim, Marcia, Scott, Paul, Travis, and a host of others who make each trip special.

7) Can you describe a particular Paddle Florida trip highlight?  On one of the Dam-to-Bay trips we had a great bonfire on the last evening, good story telling, plenty of laughs, and several bushels of local oysters that were really, really good.  A night to remember.

8)  What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip?  Do it!


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