Now that I have stopped aching enough to type properly I thought I'd drop you a quick email.
It feels great to have done this trip, it has been on my personal goals for a long time now and to turn it into a reality confirms my self-belief wasn't misplaced.
It was important to me to do it alone because I wanted it to be a personal achievement right from the planning and preparation stage rather than being lead by someone more experienced and therefore taking away the responsibility. This wasnt just about paddling the distance, it was about the expedition - albeit close to home. I paddled a lot of coastline I have not seen before. I carried all food, water and equipment for at least 3 days plus 1 day extra incase needed. The Romany took some careful packing to get all in and I was surprised how heavy it ended up being - it was a long way up and down the beach each day with all that kit and the kayak!!
Once I felt I was ready and the weather looked good to go I asked George to check over my plans just to make sure I wasn't way off the mark, he was really encouraging and very helpful. So I headed of as planned early Monday morning.
I was really pleased with the way the planning worked out, it was good to see things unfolding on the water as I had expected, if a bit slower. I knew I wasn't going to be fast and it was never about speed but I found I needed to start earlier and finish later to cover the distance. I also had not imagined just how long it would take me each day to get organised after getting off the water and again in the mornings packing things up again.
Mostly the conditions were well within my ability and part of my planning had been to arrive at key places at the right time to avoid any big conditions. Heading off from the Sound to the Calf was fun because I still could not actually see the Calf even after leaving Kitterland across big Sound! The last days paddle, from Perwick to Laxey turned out to be the most challenging, once I had passed Langness I thought the biggest was over, however, Santon Head turned out to be really big and between there and Port Soderick I was definitely challenged, I picked up a strained shoulder and when I arrived at Port Soderick I had to consider carefully if it was sensible to carry on. I judged that conditions would improve from there forward and once I hit Douglas I was back on familiar water so decided to carry on after a good rest, food and a hot coffee.
Landing at Laxey, with Anouk waiting with hot coffee and biscuits, I felt like a huge relief and a great sense of achievement, the excitment of setting off seemed such a long time ago!
Any way the email was not really intended to tell you about the trip it was really meant to thank you for all the invaluable training, your time and support provided through Adventurous Experiences and the Adventure Club that has equiped me with the skills and confidence necessary to make this reality for me.
p.s. I know circumnavigating the Isle of Man is nothing new but from what I have read nobody usually includes the Calf and I really liked the idea of a figure of 8 - do you know who else has done it this way?