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Kayak For Safe Passage Kids: A Grandmother's Solo Paddling Expedition from Maine to Guatemala

Photo credit: Mike Glad
Photo credit: Mike Glad


Florida 1,000 Mile $1,000

Paddling Challenge 



Follow Deb's Progress:

Kayaked over 1,500 miles!

Revised plan as Deb rehabs after neck sugery


Why is Dr. Deb Walters kayaking almost 2,500 miles?     

  • To tell the story of the children living in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
  • To share how inspiring the mothers are who labor with grit and perserverence for a better life for their children
  • To talk about the success of the Safe Passage model school that fosters critical thinking, self sufficiency and confidence.
  • To raise funds for additional grades for the school

How is Deb engaging people in the Safe Passage story?

  • By using a daily blog and other social media
  • By giving presentations to schools and other groups in small towns
  • By speaking at larger events in cities along the route

What's the route?

Deb stayed close to shore from Yarmouth, Maine to New Jersey.  She went up the Delaware Bay and down the Cheasapeake Bay to Norfolk, Va. where she began following the Intracoastal Waterway to Florida. To avoid the possibility of armed attacks on small craft in Mexico, Deb will 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 stretch Deb will kayak along a barrier reef and open coast to Rio Dulce in Guatemala.

Who is Deb?

Dr. Deb Walters is a grandmother from Maine, retired scientist and university leader, Rotarian, Safe Passage Board Member, and kayaking adventurer.  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.

After comleteing over 1,500 miles of the expedition, Deb had emergency neck surgery for a massively herniated disk.  Despite this major injury, Deb is not giving up!  After a short break,she is carrying on with the speaking tour and the sailing component while she undergoes rehab. Once recovered she will retrain and continue kayaking.

  • July 2014 through January 2015: Kayaked over 1,500 miles from Maine to Geaorgetown, SC.  
  • February 2015: Emergency neck surgery and recovery
  • March 2015: Speaking tour in Florida and rehabilitation
  • April 2015: Sailing leg from Florida to Guatemala for speaking tour in Guatemala
  • May to September 2015: Contine rehabilitation and retrain for extreme kayaking
  • October to February 2015: Kayak from Georgetown, SC to Key West, FL
  • March 2016: Kayak from Belize to Guatemala

How can you get involved?

Deb is undertaking a couragous mission, but it would not be possible without the help and support of our sponsors and a host of wonderful volunteers.  Deb will be carrying her food, water and gear for camping, but would welcome offers of a bed along the way.  To host Deb, or help out in other ways, click here.  You can also sponsor per mile, follow the blog, find events to attend, read articles and stories, and learn about our generous corporate sponsors.

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Big Thank You for our Corporate Sponsors!  

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