I am just back in Cali, at a Motel 6 in Yreka, catching up on some work and sleep before leaving in the early hours to make the final drive home.
So just a quick update: I finished the circumnavigation of Vancouver Island at 7.42pm on Saturday October 11th, in the dark and rain. I started at 2.53pm on Wednesday September 24th which by my sketchy math makes a total of 17days 4hours 49minutes.
It was one of the toughest challenges I have ever undertaken on several levels. Whilst the sea conditions I faced were much less challenging than during my UK and Ireland circumnavigation, and that was of course a much longer (6 month) trip, the fact that I was trying to break a record and that I desperately wanted to get home to be with my family meant that what seemed at times to be constant headwinds became incrediby frustrating. I pushed my body and mind as far as I ever want to go and will not rush to put myself in that position again. I found the pressure of breaking a speed record quite different to that of being 'first' to do something. It was definitely a different mindset and one that turned an amazing journey into something of a chore for a large part of the time.
That said of course it is very satisfying to have set out with a goal and to achieve it. I saw some incredible scenery, had some really close encounters with some amazing wildlife, and grew to love and respect our ocean and its coastline even more than I did before. I learnt a lot about myself now that I am a father and how this has changed my attitudes to record breaking and risk taking without me being aware of it until now.
I will download my camera and get some photos posted asap. Thank you so much for your support. Believe me, knowing that there were quite a few folk willing me on made all the difference when the doubts crept into my head, which they did several times.
By the way, I used a Valley Nordkapp (standard size, NOT the low volume) and it was awesome! My Kokatat gear performed superbly, as did my Optimus cooker, Mountain Hardware tent and Gaia dry bags. I used a Lettmann Nordic wing paddle in a medium blade size and 215cm in length. The same type of paddle that I used for my UK and Ireland trip and once again it was as smooth as silk and bomb proof.
After 700miles I had no blisters on my hands, just an aching back and two very sore heels which I bruised whilst bracing in big seas whilst being blown down the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Time to get some sleep so that I will have the energy to play with Shea Bella tomorrow afternoon.