Monday, 17 April 2017

Head down and focused.....

Wow, it's been a few weeks since I updated my blog .... but for good reason. My life has been fully immersed in the white water kayaking and other worlds beyond...

Life just hasn't stopped - if I am not on the river or pool, I have been organising the upcoming trip - whether it's equipment, food, logistics or courses. So much has happened in a relatively short space in time. However, together it is getting closer to the goal... and that is more than off the scale exciting.

To think when I stepped off the plane in January - my focus was to kayak from source to sea - unsupported and unassisted - solo without any support or help along the way. Funny really.

Since January I have spoken to many of the folks who have travelled the same or similar route and so with this and other research, I gained enough understanding to know that a unsupported and unassisted journey would only be possible if I was happy to kayak big rapids alone and turn down food and gifts from communities along the river. This is something that would have changed the journey dramatically ... and certainly not for the better.

Although I am expecting the full journey to take 6months - I am not on a strict timeline - unlike Antarctica that had restrictions on time, seasons, temperatures and flights - for this journey - similar to setting out on the PCT - I want to be guided by the path and experience rather than competition, season or time.

With this in mind, I have decided to start at the source of  the River Mananon - the headwater  river with the most water, least amount of pollution and dams, most spectacular scenery and kayakable decent. For the whitewater section, I will have a guide (dying on the rapids is not a good look) before I continue the 3000miles alone along the full length of the River Amazon to the sea.  I really can't wait to get on the start line... knowing that there is over 4000miles between myself and the finish.

As I write, the plan is coming to life, slowly and surely - ok so it's not slowly .... it's at a rapid pace just like my kayaking. Although there are of course troughs, barriers and repeats ... forwards it is. It's happening.

2 months down the line, I have spent many an hour on the M4 (and other motorways), flown to France (another chapter in the journey), experienced many London Kayaking clubs and pools, kayaked the Thames,
Kayaked many Rivers in Wales, 

(Testing out a touring kayak)

kayaked the Ardeche,

and even slept in my hammock (a first).
 (Look in the background - it's there) 

Beyond this I have had the complete pleasure of meeting folks who are so supportive and enthusiastic about this trip (more about these folks later) and trialling kit and food. The kit is substantial and although I have now confirmed my touring kayak (less adaptations) and torch; the inflatable kayak for 200km of the headwaters section, main kayak for the main white water section, food and equipment is still in the trial period. What I know, similar to Antarctica, there won't be local kayaking stores hidden in the Amazon jungle.... so it has to be right, the best and will last the journey albeit filming devices, solar panels, kayaks, knives, dry bags, portage devices, clothing, medical equipment, paddle floats, food, footwear, lighters, filters and even underwear..... etc etc etc...... 

Cause 4000miles is a lonnnnnnnnng way 😀 ish....