I am the lone kayaker.
Although I’m always happy to paddle with company.
I have always had a thing about wildlife. And a thing about the sea. And for not quite so long ,a thing about kayaking.
For about twenty years I paddled a waveski (and still sometimes do), but with the beaches becoming increasingly crowded, and the advent of touring sit-on-top kayaks about fifteen years ago, I switched to distance paddling both on the sea and along rivers. And was pretty keen on kayak fishing.
However not being particular partial to eating fish, and having shared my kayak with some hefty Tope, this has sort of fizzled out as I wouldn’t really fancy catching anything bigger, or with sharper teeth.
So I have changed direction slightly and am currently focused on encounters with the superb marine wildlife that can be found around the coast of SW England.
My adventures have taken me around the entire coast from Poole Harbour to Minehead, including going up every inlet as far as I could go, and venturing out to every island including Lundy, Scilly and Eddystone rocks. I suspect I am the only person daft enough to have paddled along all 1154 and-a-half miles of it.
I have enjoyed myself so much I have now extended my paddle wanderings to all the rivers in the southwest, camping trips down the Thames and Severn, the Devizes to Westminster canoe race, the ‘Big Four’ Scottish rivers (Tweed, Tay, Dee and Spey), and a couple of months expedition around the west coast of Scotland.
Total distance paddled , as of 18 Oct 2016, currently 15,826 and-a-half miles, give or take the odd furlong. Yes, I do record them in a little book. I’m a bit like that.
Actually I am VERY like that and there’s barely enough room left in the cupboard for all my little notebooks. I keep meaning to throw some of them out ,but entire booklets of train numbers seen from platform four of Reading station when I was eleven, or every butterfly seen in the garden on every day for three years, represent a lot of hours of hard work so it seems a pity to destroy them. There’s a word for people like me who obsessively record stuff and I don’t think it’s particularly flattering.
I have been thrilled to observe the fastest bird on the planet, the second largest fish, the biggest turtle and most recently ,possibly the second biggest whale in the world.
Not to mention the otters, pine martens, eagles, seals, sunfish, porpoises and four species of dolphin. And many superb seabirds, one of which sat in my kayak with me before continuing on its way .
Oh, and a Roe Deer and a Badger swimming in the sea.
All from my little sliver of plastic, eighteen foot by two (and that’s the big one).
I don’t intend to hang up my paddle quite yet as there are more places to visit and, more importantly, more creatures to see.
And I havn’t even started to mention the scenery….
or the sunrises……