This Is what they’ll be sleeping in for the next 10-12 days
Sun is setting, river looks beautiful. We start kayaking tomorrow morning!
We have been in Gambia for about a week now and have secured over £3,000 of sponsorship! We have also had a substantial amount of fuel donated to us by Speed Petrol Garage and GamPetroleum… as well as over 250litres of mineral water donated by MULTiTRADE Gambia.
As for planning, we have been a bit hindered by the fact that the ship carrying our kayak has been delayed by 4days! This means that we unfortunately will not be starting on the 26th March (Shadie’s 5 Year Anniversary) but later next week, depending on when we clear our kayak through customs in Banjul (not the easiest or fastest of tasks).
On the bright side, we have managed to get one kayak training session in on some single kayaks on one of the creeks of the River Gambia, in the area we will be finishing our adventure in a couple of weeks! It was a nice change of scenery for us from the usual drab, dark and cold London canal. Having the tide behind us was a nice booster too – but on the way back, fighting the tide, was not so much fun!
A lot of our equipment and supplies have already been bought and sorted out, but every day that goes by we seem to think of more things that we will need! Hopefully by the time the kayak arrives, we will be 100% ready and raring to go!
We are less than 3 weeks away from our first day of kayaking near a village called Koina, the most easterly village in The Gambia. The last two weeks have been pretty hectic with a lot of preparation and last minute purchasing to be cleared up before we fly out to Gambia. I actually fly out on the 13th March and Grant will follow me on 16th. We then have a matter of days to drum up lots of sponsorship from friends, family and businesses in The Gambia, whilst not forgetting to keep up our training, and stocking up all the food, fuel and equipment we will need for 2 weeks in the bush!
Since the kayak was shipped, the visits to the gym have become more frequent and I for one am very much looking forward to getting started with this event… almost as much as I am looking forward to the carb-loading in the days before we start!
This is no small feat – so if you are reading this and have not managed to make a donation yet, then please click HERE and help us help Gambia!
Today Grant and I drove all the way down to Crawley (near Gatwick Airport) to drop off our beloved kayak so that it can make the long journey to Gambia in a container, thanks to Redcoat Gambia! It took quite a while to fill the whole thing full of our supplies and then to wrap it up nice and safe in bubble wrap! No more kayak training for us until we get to Gambia (which is going to be a nice little break), it’s all GYM GYM GYM for the next few weeks!
Thanks so much to www.lifesystems.co.uk who kindly donated £150 worth of mosquito nets / repellent and sun cream!
Today Amin joined us on the canal to get some good shots of us in action for a trailer he is making for us. Unfortunately, as has been the case too often over the past couple of weeks, the weather ruined our day! We were barely able to kayak at all as the entire canal (not just sections like before) was covered in a sheet of ice!! Sometimes I wonder whether we are missing out on some very useful climate training – as this ice-kayaking experience is certainly NOT going to help in Gambia!
Just got back from a 10mile, two and a bit hours, training session in full-on snow. The canal was still a bit icy, but not enough to prevent us from training. The snow was pretty intense though and didn’t make things any easier!
After Thursday’s failed attempt to kayak due to all the ice, I thought it would be a good idea to do some reconnaissance before gearing up for our usual 20mile weekend session. On Saturday night I made my way to Little Venice (where we had encountered ice on Thursday) to see whether we’d be able to kayak the following day… The result was that my car got stuck in the snow not once but twice, requiring the girlfriend and friends to get out and push! We managed to get the following pics of an almost completely iced-over canal – therefore NO KAYAKING TODAY!
Tonight we set off for our usual kayaking although the weather was sub-zero, little did we expect to come across so many sections of the canal that were blocked off because they were frozen over. After battling for almost an hour and only making it what should have taken us half the time, we had to turn back. It was getting colder and we ran the risk of actually not being able to make it back to the car as the ice was over 1cm thick in places!