Friday, 24 February 2017


So, the starting pistol has been let off and the whitewater training for the Amazon is officially in full swing.  I have say I love it..... no, really really love it! Although its going back to basics and stripping all of the skills back; I am so pleased that my next challenge involves kayaks and water.


(Day 1 - going in a straight line... or attempting to 😀)

As part of setting up my training programme, I have been in contact with a variety of kayaking folks and to date, I have to say, on the whole, the kayaking folks are uber friendly, laid back and really supportive. Of course most will make the judgement that expecting to head down the Amazon so early in my kayaking career  is very ambitious and probably too ambitious in their eyes; but that is thought without knowing me, my history, my drive or knowing what I will be doing between now and the time that I head down it.  Yes, this is very familiar senario, echoed with every adventure that I do. 

Luckily the supportive ones can tell that I will do it anyway so 'its better to help as much as possible so that I am safe as possible rather than the alternative not'. I have to say, I am very relieved that I am not having to self teach myself on the river and rapids on my own .... 

Nonetheless, there are some, of course, that have shut down and closed the door; but thats life and fortunately unlike the rest of the kayaking world whom I am extremely thankful and grateful, their support and help has been truly amazing. I guess that is the reason that it is the fastest growing sport in the country (apart from being the most amazing fun too). 

This last week has been amazing (thank you Dan). I have made myself very comfortable in a canal and a couple of rivers in Wales and have loved breaking down each skill and repeating it again and again until it becomes automated and natural. There is still much to do and develop but at the moment it feels really good and miles away from my blind Bambi on skies moments in Antarctica. 

Today was spent on a river with rapids!! 

First rapid EVER! 😀😀😀 ok its tiny... but it was my first 😀😀. 

But YES, I did actually say RAPIDS.... after just 2.5 days on slow moving water, I was able to head to the RAPIDS 😀 👏👏 although they were little ones (low level grade 2) there were plenty of rocks and tree obstacles that could, if I didn't have control, become a pressing issue.



However, these rapids meant that I could test my learnt skills but also 'play' and push my boundaries and see what the kayak can do such as doing repeated 360 turns in and down the rapids and even go backwards down them: 


(Yes I just reversed down this lip) 


and making sure that I could 'rest' and land in 'eddies' within the rapids. 

Yes, too much fun but also completed with a level of control (thank goodness!).

Of course, the day wouldn't have been so perfect if I didn't 'go in'.... all in the name of testing my 'evacuation drills' !!? Ok, it wasn't planned and yes, it was because I got a wee bit too confident for my own good and yes again, at the point that I lost momentary focus, was the point I had to reach for the eject cord! 

Nonetheless, what was really good as part of my development during the day was (from rapid no 1) - being expected to speak out loud my thoughts of how to approach and execute the rapids by identifying hazards, eddies and route through. I was uber pleased and relieved that my 'judgement and observation skills were strong and sound and each decision and process was right' (especially when I led). I suspect that this skill has been developed/refined by my previous experience of lots of solo time whether on trail and more recently on the ice. But wherever it has been developed - it very much gives a boost, hope and makes the upcoming challenge/goal a more realistic one. 

Yes, more time in the water is needed (what a hardship 😉), more skills and experience needed .... but on track a the moment. 

......And i cant wait 😀

(Loving my new look).

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Time flies!!!!!! Really

Gosh doesn't time fly... it's been 3 weeksish since I flew away from the ice. Over the last few weeks I have had an enforced rest even though my body just wants to hit the trails and carry on the intense exercise. Sadly with my polar thigh, that was 'under control and being managed' on the ice, got infected whilst back in camp.

I was initially told it would take about a year to clear up.... but I am very relieved to say that I am giving my legs just one more week to completely heal.  To think of the mess that they were in as I hit Punta Arenas clinic - the wonders of the body strike again.

But I have to say, I have already moved on from my Antarctica adventure - it's already been packed away into yet another chapter of my life. This has been needed as I am already focused, planned and putting into action my next adventure. Oh dear!

True to form, it, of course,  has to be a step up from the previous - a challenge, an adventure and a way of finding my breaking point. The cold, baron and most extreme place in the world didn't break me - far from it. So, my next adventure had to try the opposite. What?? I hear you ask....

A place that's hot, humid, teaming with dangerous wild life and people with machetes/guns and moving water. Guess that's the jungle .... and just to take it to a different level (beyond my experience) - I will be kayaking down the River Amazon from source to sea all 4000+ miles of it. Oh and did I mention that I am aiming to do it solo (although for safety reasons I may have an interpreter with me for the notorious section to help me negotiate the 'deals' with the drug lords or 'organ harvesting folks'! Whether I take this option remains to be seen.

So, I have two windows, the first in September 2017 or the second in March 2018 .... I want the September start of course but that depends if I can raise funds and sponsors. There is of course the need to develop my training and make sure that level 5 white water kayaking is strong and I am capable.

So, after the disappointment of only skiing solo to the South Pole (rather there and back due to delays at the start), the excitement begins again as I focus on my next challenge.

Already it's started, I have booked my lessons in kayaking, booked a course on self defence, trying to finalise a recce of the jungle  in march,  and (oh yes, I have to wait a week more) the fitness training will begin. What I can guarantee though, is that for the next year ... I will be spending a lot of time in the water 😀😀 thank goodness I am a 'fish' - hopefully the water will give me a little bit more luck than the last one 😀😀