After months of training in kayak paddling and expedition skills, the team of paddlers finally set off on their big expedition on Wednesday 12th July. A long drive to Stansted, a quick flight and car journey later we found ourselves at our start location for the trip. Forest covered islands and calm waters stretched to the horizon and we packed our specialist double expedition kayaks with eager anticipation of the adventure ahead. Just as we were about to set off the heavens opened in a short but powerful thunderstorm. It soon cleared and we set off into the afternoon sun. This set the pattern of the weather for the week – heavy rain and bright sunshine in equal doses.
For the whole week we paddled through narrow inlets, wider channels, sheltered lagoons and hopped from island to island with every corner giving a different view and each day providing us with a different challenge. Some days were a bit windy so we had to chose our route to stay in the lee of the islands. Not a problem as there were literally thousands of them.
Cooking on fires was fun but at times challenging if the wood had just had a soaking. Setting up camp had to be done in a way to protect our kit from the wind and rain. Not to mention the mosquitos and ticks! These creatures were not as abundant as we had been led to believe. Nathan suffered the only tick attack and Cadan lasted 4 days before his first mosquito bite. Each member of the group had a specific job for the day: fire master, cook, washing up and the ‘camp slave’ picking up any other random duties such as setting up the tarpaulin or tidying the boats.
The route we chose led us up to the most northern point of the Saint Anna Archipelago to the most southerly point of the Gryt Archipelago. In the 7 days of paddling we covered a total of 70km (45 miles), a very respectable distance in anyones book. Every member of the group did themselves proud. They all worked hard and bonded well as a team. The Awsome 8 are: Molly Noble, Elicia Ridley, Jack Gordon, Peter Singlehurst, Nathan Simms, Lewis Carne, Kieran Haining and Cadan Kewn. The equipment was hired from “Do the North” who really looked after us well, with every possibility covered. Many thanks too to Terry Turner who drove us up to and back from Stansted.
Click on an image below to see the gallery.
Anyone fancy it next year…….??