24 June 2012

Strange Day

Today has been a little strange as I blend back into the world; the bath is still full of dry bags, boxes of mutilated maps litter the house and I'm just back to being a pain in the bum to her who matters.

But, while the paddling is over the adventure isn't yet spent. There is plenty for me to review, write, analyse and reflect upon. While there are still many, many more photos to look at, people to contact, and bills to pay!

Life goes on - but I'm determined to stay in my little adventure world for as long as I can.

For those who are interested to know how much you can get into the Taran front deck pocket, out came:
blackberry phone x 2
Julbo sunglasses
Petzl headtorch
Gerber multitool
a token flare(!)
and 2kg of choccies bars, cakes, gels etc - enough to last until lunchtime just about(!)

Yesterday was finally the final day. The wind had blown hard throughout the night but by morning it had shifted a little to the SW, life looked a little more promising.
I decamped and wheeled the boat down to the beach. A large group of divers had strewn the place with kit in anticipation, but the bad weather had spoilt the visibility for them; so I watched as they carted everything back up the hill - glum faced.

Though the wind was still blowing the sun was out and I ventured along the headland towards the lighthouse seeking a mobile phone signal. Eventually I scrounged a few bars and phoned Mike Webb from Rockpool with details of the plan, along with Pete Baars (Summit to Sea) and a brief entry on the blog.

As I was buffeted by the wind I sat there and had a little time to reflect on what was behind me and what was still (briefly hopefully) to come. It was a melancholic moment, so much had gone by and now the end was in sight. I wanted take my chance before the wind gods shut the door once again; even with only 8 miles to go I wasn't counting my chickens - it was still rough out there. At the same time I could have just carried on paddling, I didn't want it all to end, there was so much more to do surely.

Time came to get on.The paddling was a mixture of scratching along the cliffs and slogging across the bays which were hard work. But eventually it was Cemlyn beach that lay ahead, along with a group of friendly faces, a giant french fancy, some champagne and the best food of the trip! Justine had made up some excellent soup and it had meat in it, at last!

And that's how it ended, we stood on the gravel, buffeted by the wind, swapping stories and eating cake (and soup) - not a bad way to finish.

It had been 72 days of high and lows. Would I do it again I was asked, hmmm I couldn't say I would jump at the chance to set off again tomorrow. But I would use the day off to pack the kit once again, the day after would be soon enough, oh yes...


Anonymous said...

John, a huge congratulations to you and your paddling skills. What a journey you have had. Enjoy reflecting on what you have achieved, it will be just as important to relive the moments. And well done your support team at
HQ. they did a terrific job seeing you round.
I'll look forward reading more about it.
I have Just a thought for you, I have some pupils interested in paddling across the English channel in 2013. If, when you have settled into a normal routine (if you ever want to), it would like to invite you to school to speak of your adventures. See what you think. Cheers, Dave Howie

Mark Sundin said...

Good one John, fantastic acheivement, bloody tough bugger to keep fronting up every day. Well done.