Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | June 13, 2012

The TWS Finish Line

There are really no words for me to describe what I felt as Jonathan and I approached the finish line at the Texas Water Safari early this morning. After paddling 260 miles from the start of the race at San Marcos, it was surreal to see the finish line off in the distance at the village of Seadrift, Texas. The sight of Seadrift was especially beautiful because, the night before, Jonathan and I had encountered waves and headwinds that slowed our progress as we paddled across San Antonio Bay. Our planned three-hour crossing turned into nine hours. But, we made it!

One thing I can say with all certainty, there is truth in advertising when it comes to the Texas Water Safari. It is indeed the world’s toughest canoe race. The Texas Water Safari was unquestionably the hardest physical challenge I have ever faced in my life. I am grateful to my son Jonathan for asking me to do this race with him and for helping me to prepare for it. And I am also grateful for my family. My daughter Niki was an amazing team captain. She handled all of our check-in logistics like a pro (my wife was her assistant). We missed having our youngest daughter Gina with us this year but she called several times from Malaysia to check on our progress.

Thanks to each and every one of you who followed our journey on our Spot Tracker page and also on Amy Granger’s Facebook page. Niki shared many of your comments with us at the check points along the way in order to encourage us. And, we were indeed encouraged knowing that so many of you were thinking about and praying for us. You helped us reach the finish line. I will share more stories about our adventure in the coming days.


  1. Thank you so much for allowing us to follow this journey with you. What a joy!

    • Thanks for following our adventure, Carol.

  2. Thank you very much!

    • Thanks, Mortuza. Hope to see you again soon in Bangladesh.

  3. Congratulations to you both … absolutely fabulous! What an accomplishment. I loved following your progress … but I am secretly pleased you are back home safely without any injuries.

    • Thanks, Jackie. It is great to be back home safe and sound.

  4. I love it! Way to go guys. I did not follow much as I have been up to much. Congrats! Omar, I leave for South Africa 15hrs. I will be in Joburg. I will friend Amy on FB. So proud of you guys. Totally awesome. I look forward to our next lunch catch-up. All the best, Dacques

    • Thanks, Dacques. Godspeed as you travel to South Africa. Look forward to seeing you again soon.

  5. We are thankful for your safe finish and impressed and encouraged by your effort and fight!!! Way to go Omar and family!

  6. Congratulations, Omar and Jonathan. NOW….you can rest!

    • Thanks, Pam. Definitely looking forward to lots of rest!

  7. Congratulations on finishing STRONG! It was really fun keeping up with you and Jonathan through the tracker & thru Amy. I had a nice conversation with Gina at 4 am while waiting for your canoe to start moving yesterday. You sure know how to GO BEYOND!

    • Thanks you, Patricia. Those final hours were tough as exhaustion, wind, and waves forced us to stop for a few hours. Thankfully we were on schedule and had the discretionary time to rest. It was an emotional finish for me, knowing that Jonathan and I had done something like this together. Thanks for following our journey and for your prayers.

  8. Omar, Sabbatical means ‘rest’ for most. I guess your definition is ‘row.’ I know that being with Jonathan and conquering an adventure like this is a great way to get ‘rest.’ I can’t wait to hear more about it. Looking forward to Wendy’s.

    • Thank you, Doyle. One thing is certain — I will definitely get lots of rest in the coming days. This morning I feel as though I have jet-lag times ten! I am so grateful to Kingsland for blessing me with the gift of a sabbatical. I have been refreshed by spending time with my heavenly Father, with my earthly father, and being a father. Doing the Texas Water Safari with Jonathan and Niki is something I will always treasure. Thanks for working with our Personnel Team to help bless our staff with opportunities like the sabbatical. See you soon. Looking forward to our time in India in July.

  9. Congrats you guys! That’s awesome. The last picture sums it all up – thanks for sharing it with us!

    • Thanks, Eva. I will always treasure the memory of this experience and the moment captured in that last photo. Thanks for following our journey.

  10. We are so proud of you all for committing to and finishing such a journey. Bob and I couldn’t go to sleep the last night of your journey. We finally folded around 2 A.M. as we are not as stronghearted as you guys. The first thing the next morning we checked our computer to make sure you made it. I know you will always have this shared memory bond your family, look back on and share with others. Great job.

    • Thanks so much for following our journey, Clara. It’s such an encouragement to know that you and Bob and so many others tracked our progress and prayed for us.

  11. TADA! So proud of Team Garcia – congratulations -Eat some Chicken and bask in your success- thank you for sharing your journey with us!

    • Thanks, Sandy. So happy to have finished this race. Chicken from Chic-fil-A is definitely on the post-race menu.

  12. Way to go Omar of the World and Jonathan!!

    • Thank you so much, Christy of the Nile. 🙂

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