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Archive for the ‘Sabbatical’ Category

Geoff and Andy will be giving at talk about the trip tomorrow night at St Mawes Sailing Club.

Look forward to seeing you there

Geoff and Andy

http://www.stmawessailing.co.uk/xml/eventssource/index.php

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Hope to see you there!!

Geoff and Andy

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A little video to say thank you to all those special people who made our little trip possible, who wished us well, who inspired us along the way and of course, who made such generous donations to our charities.

There are so many people to thank and sorry if we have missed anyone!

The fabulous total raised now stands at £11,800 (including Gift Aid this should climb to over £14,000).

Cheers

Andy and Geoff

http://youtu.be/MC4-dz4-QWk

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Already three weeks since we finished.  Beards have gone, swollen numb hands almost back to normal, kit all cleaned and put away and we’ve just about finished sorting through the 500 or so video clips and 1,000 photos.  We’ve started preparing a short talk about the trip and have a couple of opportunities to test the boredom thresholds of audiences next month. “Then on day 7 we paddled some more………on day 8 we did the same….”

Once we’ve had a chance to do some editing we’ll share some of the video clips with you all.  There are some cracking shots but clearly we only got the camera out on sunny days – very little evidence of the worst summer on record!

Just in case you had wanted to be at Portscatho Harbour when we arrived three weeks ago but couldn’t make it, a couple of video clips for you.

The first is from Mark Hatwood who runs Roseland Online:

http://youtu.be/yhykmIuQkhA

The second is from ITV News West Country.

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Well, a little later than advertised (2.30pm) on Thursday, Geoff and I paddled into Portscatho Harbour, let off a couple of smoke flares, jumped out the boats and gave each other a big hug. But the biggest hugs and kisses were for Sue and Tanya.

2,318 miles, 115 days, 92 paddling days, around 2 million paddle strokes (no we didn’t count). Job done, expedition over.

We had paddled to Portloe on Wednesday night and caught a glimpse of Portscatho in the distance between Gull Rock and Nare Head. Just for a moment we discussed just pushing on and landing to surprise everyone but that was just for a moment. We were looking forward to a couple of beers on our last night in the knowledge that we only had 5 miles to go and of course seeing all our families and friends.

That night we washed, changed and slept on two benches pretty much in full view of the village. Sorry about that Portloe but we were demob happy and didn’t care! The next morning after breakie and a chat with a few residents and holiday makers we launched. To our surprise we got 3 cheers from them as we left. We were both in tears as we paddled out of the harbour.

We had plenty of time so we paddled round Gull Rock and waited for some friends who said they would meet us to paddle in the last few miles. Mike Greenslade, who was so much part of the expedition early on, Simon Osborne, from Sea Kayaking Cornwall who coached both of Geoff and I to get ready for this expedition, and his fiancé  Roz Leahy. To our surprise John Shaw, Zoe and Pete Shepherd also paddled out to meet us. A couple of motor boats (sorry no names) joined too. So that was our amazing little flotilla as we made the last few miles.

As we got close to the harbour we could see the crowd that had gathered. I think we were more nervous than we had been all trip. Such an amazing welcome. Better than we had ever imagined.

Thank you all so much!!

Sorry we couldn’t get round and say hello and thanks to all of you!

It may take us both a little while to adjust and certainly a few days to clean and repair all the kit. I may just write a couple more reflective blogs as we get used to life back on land. But in the meantime thanks for following our journey. It’s great to be home!

Andy

(Photos courtesy of Mary Alice Pollard http://www.justnicephotos.co.uk/ and Simon Osborne Sea Kayaking Cornwall)

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What a great day!

Today Geoff and I had seven visitors who all popped down to say hello and wish us well for the final few days. It was lovely to see them all and there was much hilarity.

Geoff’s sister, Jane and Mum, Audrey had driven down from Avoncliffe

My brother Mike, his daughter, Hannah and her friend Frankie had dropped in on their way back from a holiday down in Cornwall.

And what a surprise. A friend of Tanya’s from South Africa, Helen, who now lives in Dorset and her friend Bruce, dropped by to say hi and wish us well. Tanya and Helen haven’t seen each other since Tanya was 13 (and that was some time ago!)

Thank you all so much guys it was a lovely day and now that we’re on our way again tomorrow you’ve set us up nicely for the final few days!!

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No doubt you’ll have notice the rather unseasonable winds that the South West is experiencing at the moment. That and the fact that we have to negotiate Portland Bill races next have meant we’re off the water till probably Saturday morning. We had hoped to be home by Sunday but it is now looking like our arrival will be delayed till Wednesday or Thursday next week.

In the meantime guess what we’re up to….

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Six days since we rounded the corner at Dover and only 160 miles left to do. We had been making cracking progress knocking out more than 30 miles a day and then our old friend, the wind, decided to put in another unseasonable appearance.

We navigated along the coast from Dover to Bexhill in thick fog banks, Force 5 and 6 easterlies blew us round Selsey Bill and up the beach at Hayling Island.

We picked our way through literally 1000s of sailing boats, kite and wind surfers and the odd ferry and tanker in the Solent whilst slogging against a Force 4 gusting 5. Indeed at one point we had to hold station by a channel marker buoy whilst ferries passed either side of us.

We were stunned by how beautiful Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters are from the sea.

We pushed into Bournemouth still with stiff headwinds. The sun was out so we thought it would be a good opportunity to dry kit out in the sunshine and shop for provisions. Of course when we got into town the heavens opened and soaked all our kit. We felt sorry for ourselves, and I questioned what Geoff must have done in a previous life to bring this luck upon us!

Pulling on wet kit we paddled to Swanage past the amazing Old Harry Rocks. We had a chat with the Sailing Club there who kindly let us sleep in their boat yard. We rigged up the most sophisticated tarp system yet to keep the rain off.

It was a tough few days but at least the miles kept tumbling.

Yesterday morning we arrived in Lulworth Cove (along with about a million other people). We could see HMS Bullmark patrolling the Olympic sailing area. A reminder that we need to plot our course carefully over to Portland Bill, around a 12 mile crossing, or we could find ourselves in a spot of bother.

Because of the serious tidal conditions around Portland Bill we have to get the timings right – around a two hour window during the ebb tide. Unfortunately the winds are not playing fair and have pinned us down in Lulworth.

So for only the fourth time on this expedition we have given in to the elements and booked into a B&B. We have both had showers for the first time since north of Newcastle (whether we needed them or not!) and I’m sure the residents of this pretty Dorset Village are grateful.

Slightly disappointed to be held up yet again, but excited by the prospect of paddling into Portscatho Harbour next Tuesday (hopefully!)

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Bit of a slow day today. Only 16 miles. I picked up a tummy bug the day before the Thames Crossing and think it has finally caught up with me. I’ll spare you the gruesome details of the last two days paddling, some of you may be having your tea. But this afternoon I ran out of energy and so I slept on the beach whilst Geoff wondered around the cafes and galleries of Folkstone. We pushed on this evening to Hythe which is where we are spending our 100th night.

Getting round Dover was a key milestone for us so It was great to tick that one off today. Last night we slept in St Margaret’s Bay and were up at a reasonable 6.30 to get on the water for 8am. From there we could see France only 16 miles or so away. (Odd to think that that wouldn’t count as a long crossing in our books anymore). Indeed neither of us could get a UK carrier on our phones but we could get France Telecom!!

As we rounded the corner towards Dover we popped the cameras on and did our best Veera Lynn impersonations. It wasn’t pretty.

As we approached the massive harbour walls a bank of fog started to descend. Fortunately visibility stayed good enough for us to edge up to the edge of the entrance, look left and right and left again and paddle across. A few minutes later a cross channel ferry entered the harbour. Not close but close enough to give you a sense of how large they are and how small we are.

The stream around the harbour wall accelerates and forms an exciting race which we bounced around on for five minutes or so before we were across the second entrance and away towards Folkstone and reflecting on the fact that we have turned the final corner!

Not long now.

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After an eventful couple of days crossing the Thames Estuary we’re in Deal. Tomorrow morning we’ll be turning right for the last time and start the home straight. Just 350 miles to go!

These photos show what the south coast is all about for us. Relaxed paddling, cafe stops and more cafe stops. For some strange reason we feel more comfortable sitting outside. We have gotten used to people looking at us funny.

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