THE TWO YOUNG WOMEN ARE JULIETA “JULES” GISMONDI AND LouAnne HARRIS, ALSO NOW KNOWN AS THE ATLANTIC SUPergirls.
Jules and LouAnne leaving New York City on October 12, 2015.
In what has been referred to as an “Epic Paddling Trip,” Jules and LouAnn’s journey is more about raising money for two charities than simply paddling 1,500 miles. These charities are First Descents and Mission Blue, both of whom do exceptional work related to the ocean.
With a goal of raising $ 30,000, as of February 2 they had raised $ 15,635 from 96 people over a period of five months.
First Descents non-profit organization that gives free outdoor adventure trips to young adults who are fighting cancer. This includes paddleboarding and kayak experiences at the Manhattan Kayak Company boathouse where Jules and LouAnne work. This is how the two found out about First Descents. Visit: www.firstdescents.org
Mission Blue is an initiative set up by famed oceanographer Sylvia Earle, which focuses on ocean conservation. The goal of the initiative is to educate the public about protecting “Hope Spots” or special places within the ocean that are vital to the health of the ocean. Visit: www.mission-blue.org
So who are these special young women?
They work as kayak and paddleboarding instructors at the Manhattan Kayak Company. While their summers are spent teaching New Yorkers and tourists the joys of paddling, winter is their off-season.
While many instructors may take this time to relax, Jules and LouAnne decided to paddle down the entire East Coast. Their mindset was “Key West or bust.”
A native of Argentina, in May 2015 Jules became the first paddle boarder in 11 days to sail 287 miles around Long Island. Her preparation included a trip back to Argentina where she paddleboarded in Patagonia.
LouAnne is a native of Alaska. She studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and is a personal trainer at Boom Fitness and is a Guide/Instructor at Manhattan Kayak Company.
Julieta and LouAne paddle about 20-25 miles a day and spend most of their nights camping; though the people they met have been very supportive.
On February 1st, day 113, they paddled 16.88 miles over a 6:23 hour timeframe.
LouAnne Takes a Break en Route
“People have been really enthusiastic about the trip when they hear about it, offer help and support with their homes and cars,” LouAnne said. “That has been the best part of the trip.”
After spending as much time on the water, Jules and LouAnne know a thing or two about the importance of water quality. So they decided to use their expedition as an opportunity to conduct water testing along the eastern shoreline. However, the idea stemmed from their job at the Manhattan Kayak Company.
“People are always worried about if the Hudson is over-polluted, but it has been cleaned up over the past 40 years and now is the cleanest urban water way in the country,” Jules said. “The struggle of trying to get New Yorkers in the water is actually what motivated us to do the water testing.”
Jules and LouAnne are testing the nitrate and phosphate levels at various spots along their trip and then posting the results online, following the recommendations of Columbia University’s John Jay College. So far the results have been promising and the water has been mostly clean.
“It’s interesting to see the correlation between people’s location and their involvement with the waterway,” LouAnne said. “When you spend time interacting with the water, you will spend more time taking care of it.”
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While many have given them support, it is their strong friendship that has been the key to this entire trip. Over the past three months, they have faced various obstacles but have kept their spirits high thanks to one simple rule.
“Our rule is that at the end of every single day, no matter what happened on the water, we have to hug,” LouAnne said.
The Atlantic SUPergirls have stayed true to this strategy and it has worked thus far.
“Sometimes you don’t need a complicated plan to succeed, just determination and a friend to always encourage you to keep going.
We are pushing each other but not getting in each other’s way,” Jules said. “I couldn’t think of anyone better to spend this long of time together.”
January 20, 2016 / Dynamic Duo Coming Ashore at Amelia Sound
“Our expedition’s objective is to inspire action towards a healthier planet and a healthier way of life. Two thirds of our funds will be donated to important causes that are very dear to us: Mission Blue and First Descents.
We will also be collecting data as we paddle along the coast and contributing the results to research focused on studying the changes that are happening in our oceans and waterways. We want to understand how we affect these as well as how they affect us. Your help means the world. We are eternally grateful for your support.
See you all out there.
LouAnne and Jules”
LouAnne and Jules Jumping in the Indian River Lagoon
To donate to LouAnne and Jules’ campaign please visit:
Please also visit: www.atlanticsupergirls.com
Follow their progress on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/atlanticsupergirls?fref=ts