Ready….Set….Go! (guest blog by Stephanie Conneen)

Last night I was cleaning up my office and found a thumb drive in a small bag so I checked it out and found this essay Steph had written about her first time sky diving. I wanted to share this with her family, friends and especially her sky diving crew. The photos below are of a trip we took to NC and visited the outdoor skydive simulator. They are the closest I could get to her actually sky diving. I’ve never featured a guest blog and could not imagine someone more deserving.  Enjoy!


                                                               5 September 2009


December 19, 1998, the time had come. I had been living for two months on site at the airport, in a van, among Them; they had taken me in as one of their own. I had been saving money for two months to finally be able to experience this life-altering event that I had been hearing so much about. I was about to become “One of Them.” I was going to make my first skydive, and I had no idea what I was in store for, or how much it would change my life.


The JK/MC Annual Yak Track.

This year John Kumiski and I did a west coast trip that consisted of the following areas;

Deer Prairie Creek Preserve, Manatee River, Little Manatee River, Myakka River,  Peace River, Cockroach Bay Preserve, Hillsboro River, Chassahowitzka River, Withlacoochee River, Rainbow River, and the Suwanee River.IMG_0353


Low budget/high values-SW Florida



Our state needs more awareness art like this.

Earlier this year I marked off 3 days on my calendar prior to summer camps starting. While the days remained marked off for months, I never planned on going anywhere. The week prior to the days marked, my buddy Capt Brian Sherman from Louisiana hit me up. He said he would be in Marco Island the next week and had never caught a snook. Well what a coincidence because my marked days magically had plans now.
I left on a Wednesday morning and the night before I ran out with friend Capt Alex Gorichky to do our bi-weekly trout listening study. On my way to him I stopped for a sub and in the parking lot was a woman that could not get her car started. I got her rolling before the storm dropped and when she asked what can she give me, I said a high five. I got that, a hug and a $20 that I tried to refused with no luck. That bought my dinner with plenty of change that I’ll get back to.


The end of love.


Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management


Words can’t express how I feel about the outpouring of support so I will simply say, I LOVE YOU & THANK YOU!!! I’ve been waiting on one last touch to write this blog but today I realized I won’t have Steph’s memorial bench until late Sept. So, once it comes in, with some help from her girlfriends, we will install it on the Indian River Lagoon’s edge at the end of Valkaria Rd for all to enjoy. Endless Windz owns that property and Mike has agreed to let me install it there. Steph liked to watch the sunrise from the location. I plan to install it on what would have been our 4th Anniversary, October 26th. Anyway, I’ll get on to my last adventure with her. Including are some random photos that don’t even scratch the surface of the cool things we did.


The Econ is HOT right now

Friend Tammy Wilson and I had plans to hit the Econ in late July but I was about to come off of a six-day work week and I was ready for a break. To add, July was only going to be a bit hotter than June. Both Tammy and I had Monday off so we jumped at the chance and invited friend Dee Kaminski to join. We had a great little group and off we went.

I always have mixed emotions on bringing cameras with me. Documenting trips is something I love to do but there are times that I don’t get to soak them up as much because of the distractions caused by the camera. So, I brought them, couldn’t find inspiration to take photos, second guessed bringing them and then it hit, I saw an image. That’s really all it takes is seeing that first image and then it’s downhill from there.


Memorial Day Paddle, 2016

It’s been a while since I attended a Heroes On the Water-Space Coast Chapter event. I’ve been working most weekends so my schedule has not worked out with the Sunday events. Fortunately, I didn’t have anything planned for Memorial Day and noticed there was an event so I put it on my calendar.



The good, the bad, the Everglades in February.

You first have to pick a crew. It may be small or large (preferably small) but either or, do not, and I repeat, do not journey into the Florida Everglades alone. The Everglades is home to some wild beasts, unpredictable weather and unforgiving circumstances. The crew should be friends, diversified with leaders and followers. Too many of one will leave you lost or in a fight. They must also like the outdoors because if they don’t, you may never hear from them again. This trip, my crew consisted of Jason Camusso, a somewhat new friend and two old skateboard buddies from many moons back, Chris Lehman and Matt Giles. Matt was with me in November when we paddled into the depths of the SW most area of the Everglades out of Flamingo on a 4-day trip. After that trip, I knew I wanted to squeeze in one more adventure before it got too warm again so I almost immediately planned this trip for February.



A very overdue thanks.

In 2014, fellow kayaker Redfish Chuck asked me for my address. Of course I asked him what he needed it for prior to giving him my coordinates but he was reluctant to say. All I got was that someone had something to send me. Curiosity always has me intrigued so I reminded him a few times about said object that hadn’t come yet before I ended up forgetting about it. Because of the countless people that say they want to go fishing and never go, I don’t hold my breath very long and continue with life. However, a few months down the road and I received a large box from RAILBLAZA and inside was a nice new C-Tug cart with a note from Mark Vlaskamp informing me to enjoy my new cart. The cart I owned at the time sufficed but it was far from what I would later find out the C-Tug could do.




It was December of 2014 and John Kumiski and I were fresh off a seven day trip in the Florida Everglades when we asked each other, “Where to next?” Home was the obvious plan of actions but where would our adventure take us in 2015? It didn’t take very long to decide after 2015 was underway and John asked if I had ever been to Louisiana. Sure, I’ve driven through it and spent New Year’s Eve there when I was 16 (a totally different type of adventure) but fishing? Nope. “Let’s go.” While John did 95% of the planning, I did the driving in my Nissan.


Sunrise over Venice