Local adventurer and guest blogger, Sarah Outen describes the latest phase of her London2London:Via the World expedition.
There is always an energetic mix of excitement, nerves and frenetic activity to get the ‘To Do List’ ticked off in the final weeks before an expedition starts. I am in the middle of that melee now, with the energy ramping up by the day. In seven weeks I shall be flying out to Alaska to start the next phase of my London2London:Via the World expedition. The overall expedition is a series of linked expeditions in which I am attempting to loop the planet from London to London, travelling by rowing boat, bike and kayak. So far I have kayaked, cycled and rowed all the way from Tower Bridge, London to Adak Island, Alaska over the last three years.
This next phase involves a 1400 mile kayak along the Aleutian Island chain from Adak (the most westerly town in the USA) to the nearest road in Homer, on the mainland. It is going to be intensely challenging and beautiful, picking our way along this stunning chain of volcanic islands. With substantial distances to be paddled between islands and changeable weather and feisty, unpredictable currents making for days of waiting for good conditions and then long days on the water when the weather window appears, it will be the longest and most challenging kayak paddle I have ever undertaken. I have many thousands of miles experience in a rowing boat, way out in the middle of the ocean… but the coastline is a whole different matter… My paddling partner Justine Curgenven has kayaked some epic trips in the past, but even she says this will be the most challenging paddling she has ever taken on!
Since my return from the Pacific Row in October 2013 we have been making plans and researching, as well as training for the trip. Lately, we have been collecting kit and ticking off the equipment lists and training. We’re getting there, slowly but surely.
My training involves a mix of things on and off the water. Kayaking for both skills and kayak fitness is important, but so is cross training. I have been using a Rutland Cycling sponsored Giant MTB for this, as well as circuit training and weightlifting.
We expect the kayaking leg to take us 3 months or more, taking us into the Alaskan autumn. From the start of the road in Homer, I shall then be solo once more as I head south and east towards the Canadian east coast. The goal is for me to be safely in place on the Atlantic seaboard by this time next year, ready for a few weeks down time and recovery before a few more of preparation for the final row home across the North Atlantic. It seems strange to write ‘If it all goes to plan…’ as there are so many things that may happen between now and then which will influence my progress and therefore final end date. But, if it does all go to plan, I hope to be back under Tower Bridge in the autumn of 2015, having rowed, cycled and kayaked from London2London:Via the World.
Watch this space for the stories as I chase those miles home. The only thing I can promise is adventures, surprises and stories.
To follow Sarah’s London2London:Via the World expedition check out her blog and Twitter