Margo Pelligrino Concludes her Paddle the Pacific

Back in July we told you about Suunto enthusiast Margo Pelligrino and her epic journey paddling the Pacific Ocean from Seattle to San Diego in her outrigger canoe. Her trip was an effort with the Blue Frontier Campaign to help bring awareness of Ocean preservation. Her Suunto Lumi was an integral instrument in her trip as she braved the waters of the Pacific this summer. This past weekend Margo successfully paddled her way into the beaches of San Diego bringing her trip to an end. She was all smiles as she was greeted by family and friends. Read the article by Robert J. Hawkins of the San Diego Tribune about her arrival:

The Jersey Shore met Ocean Beach on Sunday morning. Nobody got punched. Nobody got arrested. And no reality TV cameras were on the beach to record this meeting for posterity.

The real reality: Margo Pellegrino, 43, of New Jersey steered her 21-foot Kamano outrigger kayak through the three foot surf and then carried it onto the sand about 30 yards north of the Ocean Beach Pier about 10:40 a.m.

She high-fived her "land crew goddess," June Barnard of San Francisco, and in unison the two of them screamed "No hulis!"

In other words, she didn't dump the outrigger while coming through the surf.

Crazy way to end a two-month solo paddle that started 1,500 miles away in Seattle.

On shore to greet Pellegrino was her husband, Carl; two kids Billy and Julia; and her mom, Judy Howard who summed it all up for the family in her distinctive Jersey accent: "I came here on the plane. It was much faster. I'm very proud of her and my son-in-law."

Just up the beach were about a thousand supporters of clean ocean water, here for the 19th annual Surfrider Foundation Paddle for Clean Water. About 300 of them had braved chilly water and weather to mount their boards at 10:05 a.m. and paddle through the pier for the mile-long loop around the end and back to the beach.

Pellegrino, escorted by a pair of red six-paddle outriggers, was waiting for them off the end of the pier, having just rowed over from Mission Beach. "This is cake," said Pellegrino with an effusive laugh. She had "unofficially" finished her paddle on Saturday, taking the 20-mile Mission Bay to San Diego Harbor swing around Point Loma.

Pellegrino's paddle and the Surfrider event were both about calling attention to ocean polluters. Since 2005 Pellegrino has been long-distance paddling for the cause. Miami to Maine ; New Jersey to Washington, D.C.; Miami to New Orleans; and now, Seattle to San Diego with support from the Blue Frontier Campaign.

"It is amazing. I can't believe I did it. I hate the cold!" said a shivering Pellegrino as she stowed her gear.

The trip itself? "Gnarly, the whole distance. California was sweet. California was sweet," she says. "All my days off were because of events or schedules. It wasn't weather. Oregon and Washington, it was conditions, weather, bar closings ...."

Not that kind of bar closings. Sand bars.

Pellegrino has seen her kids three times since the tour started -- at the Seattle kick-off, at Shelter Cove in Fort Bragg and on Thursday when she paddled into Mission Bay. Husband Carl, who works for the EPA in New Jersey, says they've been in nearly daily contact by satellite phone during the trip.

And her next trip? Pellegrino says whatever it is, she wants her land crew member Barnard in an outrigger along with her. The two were put together by Blue Frontier's founder David Helvarg (author of "50 Ways to Save the Ocean") and they clicked.

"We talked on the phone for 20 minutes and didn't stop laughing, recalls Pellegrino of their first encounter. And they were laughing still on the shore of Ocean Beach. San Francisco and South Jersey bonded in hardship, laughter and a love for the ocean.

"And we'll take Snookie on," teases Pellegrino. "She ain't Jersey!"

Great job Margo, this is an amazing feat!

For more on Margo and her journey visit her website here.

For more on the Blue Frontier Campaign vist their website here.

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