I SHOULDN’T HAVE LOOKED

“Is failing to plan really planning to fail? Or is it just true adventure……” this is a quote I borrowed from our fellow circumnavigators of this year, the Midlife kayak team. But then one evening when I had nothing better to do, I found this

on http://www.martinkayaking.co.uk/, another fellow circumnavigator and from London, too. Now, it got me thinking. Is it still ok that I only looked in the map while studying the Cape Wrath area to find out if it is worth to stop there on our way? I read the menu in the Ozone café, and it sounds like we could do this.

And then I came across this http://www.aroundbritain4britain.co.uk/.

Impressive that someone plans it so in advance, but probably a norm. I like their daily schedule. Michal and I usually take between 1.5 and 3 hours to get ready on multiple day trips. But it got me worried. I have not planned for hot chocolate in our food bag. I would have to rethink the whole idea again.

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MEETING WITH THE “ENEMY”

Sometimes I think we should be writing more about our preparations or about training for the journey. Deep down we know that we should be spending time on the water in order to be in shape for our big trip. Well, the reality is, we don’t have the time. When the idea of the paddle around the UK came up, we haven’t had the slightest idea what it means to prepare an expedition. At the moment we just about manage to scrap some time to write things, letters, proposals, something all the time. As for the time spent on the water, even with Michal naively having various trips in mind for perfect training, we have to treasure moments we manage to steal to have some fun paddling.

Last Saturday was one of those special days. We were invited by our big film fan, Jason Cole, to paddle with their group of paddlers from Chiswick, down the river Thames towards Thames Barrier and back again; all this with the tide.

Here a little problem appeared for us, the logistics. The choices were to drive early morning to Chiswick, paddle up and down, pass our house twice and then spend long time driving back to the east. Or try to get a boat in West London and take public transport.

We opted for the third option; paddling up towards Chiswick to meet them and then go back with them. There was a little catch; we had to paddle against the tide. And so, on Saturday morning we woke up at five am, drove to Basin to get our boats and started to paddle at 6.10am. The river was calm, the air fresh, the flow against us was fairly strong and demanded commitment as every stop brought us very quickly back towards Shadwell.

We paddled for just over two hours, stopped for breakfast at Chelsey and met with the Chiswick and Putney group just after Wandsworth Bridge.

This was very exciting since part of the group was “The Paul”, as in Paul Barrett, one half of the Eat, Sleep, Paddle Team which also circumnavigates the UK this year. In the time Michal was shaking hand with him I did not know that the other member of the team was present as well. Actually, I only found this at home, when Michal told me. I am so sorry, Eurion. Never mind. What is more interesting is the small size of the sea kayaking world.

Paul and I actually met two years ago passing our 3stars, as for Eurion, he fished me out at The Bitches this summer.

It was a very good trip; we paddled with them to Greenwich for coffee and then let them go at Shadwell.  It was very nice meeting the other team, as for competition, we all agreed we just want to have fun.