Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Don Starkell

As many people know I am an avid collector of books related to canoeing and kayaking and two of the most memorable paddling books were written by Don Starkell.  I remember reading "Paddle to the Amazon" in the early 1990's and inspired by what he had achieved with his sons, it encouraged me in my own small way to take my children canoeing on North American rivers.

Sadly Don died on Saturday at his home in Winnipeg, aged 79.  He probably traveled further than any other paddler, with his journeys recorded in journals.  To read more about his life see the full article at "Canoe and Kayak".
A truly inspirational paddler.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Milos Again

In October 2010 Chester and myself from Absolute Adventures organized a circumnavigation of Milos, that well known sea kayaking island in Greece, to raise money for Jersey Hospice and Centre Point Trust.
A total of 30 kayakers, from Jersey, headed towards southern Greece for the last week of October and we were blessed with some excellent weather at the beginning of the week, followed by some more entertaining conditions.

 Sulphur Mine on the east coast of Milos.  A great spot for a break and a swim, even in October.
 Cooking porridge on the west coast of the island, after a night of violent storms.  Tents were flattened, sea kayaks blown along the beach and the night sky lit by lightening storms.
 Kleftico.  The south west corner of the island with a superb range of arches and stacks.
 The final day along the south coast.  Clouds of this size produce entertaining squalls!
 Sarah proving that even after a night on the beach it is possible to look reasonably glamorous.
On the north coast of the island.  Ideal conditions for exploring the geological features.

In October 2011 we are returning to Milos again with the aim of raising more money for these two charities so if you are interested in helping to raise funds whilst paddling in one of Europe's great sea kayaking destinations why not get in touch.  Contact myself for further information and consider heading south this autumn.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ecrehous for the first time in 2012

Looking at the weather forecast on Thursday it looked like a window of opportunity might arise for a quick Ecrehous trip today, and what a window it was.  An early morning departure from St Catherine's was greeted by a stunning sunrise.

 Apart from a couple of lifeboats, one from France and one from Jersey, plus the Channel Islands Air Search plane we had the reef to ourselves, something which never happens in the summer.  Fortunately the lifeboats were only training.
 Looking across towards Marmotier, although it wasn't a particularly large tide, two hours earlier we had been playing on standing waves where now there were only shingle banks.
 Jersey in the distance with the distinctive shape of Mont Orgueil Castle.  It was like paddling on mercury, as we headed back towards the island.
 This is what sea kayaking in January is all about.  Seas this flat almost never occur even in the height of the summer.
My first visit to the reef this year was particularly memorable, snatched between two windy periods.