Thursday, 28 August 2014

We go forwards together or not at all

ALS seem to be raising millions by people throwing water and I genuinely think its phenomenal.  The power of social media is tremendous!
   I set out to be the first person to circumnavigate the south of england, I set out to do it in a recyclable plastic kayak using sustainable wooden paddles, to make a bold statement about elite level performance and cherishing our environment.
I wont be the first as the weather really has pounded me and in a third of my time I only managed to move a sixth of my distance, but I stand by the equipment I am using and by my decisions to support the oceans.
People that understand the ocean have commended me on my efforts but some have said that seeing I havent completed the challenge they wont donate to the worthy cause of the Marine conservation society. Next week I will try and push further north and reach Bristol. Even the idea of getting back in my boat is uncomfortable. Yet I'll do it because the oceans deserve not a bucket of cold water from me but at least a bucket of tears of which I have most certainly given; on day one I truly thought I may die at sea I cried I weakened and I found resolve, on the day I came out of my kayak in large surf I cried through disappointment and failure as a weather window closed on me and I have cried from the support I have recieved even though I have felt so alone. I dont cry easily yet August 2014 and the north Atlantic have demanded this of me so I have given, and I intend to give some more. Please share this, please donate and please care, NOT for me but for our oceans and the organisations trying to protect them. Motor Neuron Disease is awful, but there will be no point curing it if we let the Oceans die for without healthy Oceans there simply cannot be healthy Humans.

Here is what MCS do   on average I get 150 page views per day...over 6600 in total so far and I have Raised £700   be part of the solution. Share this post far and wide..... not for a man going kayaking but for an Ocean that we all very much need,  for my own vanity dont let my tears be for nothing, for they were truly meant for something!

Thank You.
Simon Luck

What we do
MCS, the UK charity that cares for our seas, shores and wildlife
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the voice for everyone who loves the sea. We work to secure a future for our living seas, and to save our threatened sea life before it is lost forever.

Marine Protected Areas
Our wonderful seas, shores and wildlife are under threat. Almost nowhere in UK seas is marine wildlife safe from harm. We need to establish vital marine protected areas where wildlife can recover and flourish.

Levels of beach litter have doubled over the last decade. MCS works to clear our seas of the rising tide of rubbish that is so dangerous to sea life, including seabirds, whales and dolphins.

Fish Stocks
88% of Europe’s fish stocks are overfished or depleted. MCS works to reduce the overfishing which is devastating the life in our seas, and promotes sustainable seafood alternatives.

Clean Seas & Beaches
Our work ensures that the sea’s rich wildlife can be restored, fish stocks grow more plentiful, and our beaches and seawater become cleaner. We depend entirely on the generosity and enthusiasm of our supporters to continue to care for our seas, shores and wildlife.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Sorry ....few days out again

Cruel irony....the one wind direction I didnt want for this section of the trip was easterlies and that is what I have!  After constant northwesterlies on the the west coast I've really had enough!..... I promise this isnt because of the perfect swell thats just arrived. ...although I am very keen to surf it...... I'm gonna walk away from it all for a few days and if I get conditions tgat I'm happy with I'll crack on till Bristol,  but so far I havent stopped frowning once and yes the trip wasnt meant to be easy, but I've  been limited to when I can go due to work commitments (as so many people are) and I'm not prepared to keep breaking my heart..... so sorry if any one feels let down but I assure you that what ever your feeling is nothing compared to how I feel right now. Sorry again.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Day 9 Ilfrascum- Lynmouth (711 short)

.....that means I've paddled 139 miles.

Ilfracombe was ghastly today aside from a few polite humans there were a lot of ignorant rude people.... I guess the weather didnt help them to be filled with holiday cheer!    It took ages to launch the boat as low tide Ilfracombe is a bit of a pain. But that was the best bit of my day gusts of upto force 6/7 were both felt on the water and evident on the forecasting sites. I'd stipulate a direction, but that would suggest there was only one, instead of the constant variety I experienced.
   I reached breaking point today physically I feel great, technically and tactically my skills are better than they ever have been, but psychologically I'm smashing into a mountain side, I cannot see me completing the circumnav so I'm now trapped with a nagging 'whats the point?'  I can move my goals to something more achievable in this unseasonal weather but in my heart the kayak south 850miles has still failed therefore so have I, and no matter what is said the voice in my head when I sleep is the voice I have to live with. And I'm fine with that, what I won't be fine with is failing my friends family and indeed the oceans I care so much about. 
My blog has had around 6000 page views yet only raised around £500 it is so simple to donate to the MARINE CONSERVATION SOCIETY  you have to be able to separate between what I'm doing and what the Marine conservation society are doing. .... the oceans aren't mine they aren't yours and the flaura and forna that inhabits them aren't anyone's either yet we behave like we have domain over them when we simply don't.  If you read this blog post text just £1 maybe 2 if you're feeling flush it'll make a difference to the ocean. Its gotta be worth it I'll be doing it immediately after writing this. I wonder if you do to? KSAE50 £2 to 70070 
I truly don't know if I'll paddle tomorrow but I hope someone else does..... I adore kayaking but my time of doing it alone seems to be passing, there are some phenomenal athletes out there that are able to become isolated from their friends and family and endure massive hardships to achieve their goals, thats not me I'm a guy that can endure hardship for my loved ones, But not for this......I think the challenge is a good one, I think I've been unfortunate with the weather that I keep encountering and I'm unhappy more than I'm happy on the water right now but I couldn't feel more blessed by the support I have received. If I choose not to continue I do it for my own wellbeing over a challenge,  but the oceans don't matrer any less to me

Remember to text.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Day 8 Hartland-Ilfracombe

Probably my easiest mileage so far today. 25ish miles in pretty fair conditions.
    Leaving Hartland at low tide I felt slightly off as I've just spent 2 days doing next to nothing whilst waiting for an appropriate weather window however passing between the rocks at hartland point I started smiling, those 5 minutes of paddling have always been a personal favourite of mine, the water accelerates between several routes of what often feels like grade 2 White water. I've always had a real passion for hartland from climbing, surfing,kayaking,walking and working there and today was no different I left with a smile and hoisted my sail on a 050° heading towards Morte point headphones in and The Foo Fighters belting out anthems.  It was easy......and then the wind increased and the southerly became a south easterly pushing me off shore making my approach to a now bubbling Morte Point a little more awkward, but I passed the race without incident cruised past Bull point lighthouse (which is beautiful by the way) then received a text message from friend and Skern Lodge MD John Watson calmly checking I was still the right way up as the tracker wasnt broadcasting. Sure enough  I was close to  Ilfracombe at this point and came in to land at around the 5 hour mark. As an aside the rock based fishermen of Ilfracombe are either excellent at casting or diabolical! ! As in short order 4 seperate "gentlemen" cast within a couple of metres of me.  On landing I met a guy that works for p&h but I have to be honest I was hungry and didnt perhaps celebrate what a superb product they produce!  There were a couple of other gentlemen with their kids that were very warm and welcoming its really appreciated when people see what I'm doing and show an interest.  Tomorrow I'll have the tracker back on line and continue to chase Bristol and my departure from the west country.

Friday, 22 August 2014

A 25.3 mile headache

Who ever thought 25.3 miles of home waters would be my stumbling block..... I've had so much support and appreciation as to my efforts so far but the truth is I've barely traveled an 8th of my distance and time is no longer a disposable comodity of which I can play im going to try and cross yet again on sunday southerly f4 may catapult me across the bay on a nice downwind run and theni can try and clear the estuary get onto the canals and hopefully bash out some higher milage and race down  my own demons and maybe drown the monkey on my back! But until the Bristol channel gives me permission I'm stuck (in total luxury) at home. I'm so desperate to clear the southwest west and see things I've never seen but currently I'm trying to learn patience. .....still!
I may brush the sand off my kit tomorrow but other than that I'll just be keeping an eye on the weather.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Its what we sea kayakers do.

Day7 a time to hide

I'm not religious in that ghost stories and burning bushes don't really lead me to Rapture but I do often love religions poetry, in that I can say I am a fan of religion, but probably only in that.

The Book of Ecclesiastes - A Time For Everything  is a poem that always echoes in my skull and for me today the words a time to run and a time to hide were the verse of choice.  The actual poem is beneath  I had a good run today only 7 miles but it was 7 in a solid force 5 with waves breaking over my beam, running swell carrying me from aft and wind chop over my Bow it was hectic, hectic and fast but ultimately fun however today was meant to adjoin the two tideraces/overfalls at Hartland point and Morte point... Hartland has claimed many a ship over the centuries and wasnt taking mine today and a place gets a name like Morte for a reason so those and the 17 miles in between were reason enough to envoke poetry :
There's a time to Kayak and a time to Surf A time to Run and a time to Hide..... so thats where I'm at today: hiding at home.

The kayak is performing beautifully the p&h scorpio really is great in all conditions.  My Greenland paddles are so enjoyable to eat up miles but I'm not yet there as a rough water paddle, my flat earth sail earnt its place on the voyage today pulling me about 5 of my 7miles my waterproof camera is lost at sea but was taking good pictures,  my dirty dog polarised sunglasses were awesome until I lost them in my swim the other day. All the kit I've chosen has been superb really. At the end of this trip I will do a full inventory .
Thank you so much to everyone that has donated towards the care of our oceans. But really at this stage thank you to every single one of you that has offered a word of encouragement or support it really makes a tremendous difference to me keep it up for another 3 weeks please!!

Thanks to Glyn Brackenbury for his steadfast approach to life. There isn't anyone on this earth that comes close to him (happy birthday)

I'll now wait rest recover then get to some proper paddling 

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboreth?
I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

The Bible, King James Version

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Days 5 and 6.....a visit from a kayaking Jedi

So after throwing all my toys into the sea on the previous morning Glyn came down to once again (for the millionth time in 13 years) sort my life out,resulting in a solid 2 days paddling albeit 10 miles short of my intended Hartand finish instead ending up at the fickle surf spot of Duckpool near bude.
Day 5 was a beast I felt pretty strong after 2 weather days and we made excellent ground I had a real bash of confidence in the rather sporty Trevose head tide race with some funky wind keeping me on my toes but got through unscathed, havng a couple of hours rest in a cove by the lifeboat slip before pushing on to lundy bay near port Quin.
Day 6 was a first for me a ( if I do say so myself) flawless 20+mile crossing to Morwenstow following a NE bearing past port Issac tintagel and eventually bude. The highlight of the two days were the pod of Common dolphins that rather playfully breached all around us at the time I was recounting the story of Dawn Brancheau's death at sea world by the Orca Tilikum (I am vehemently against cetacean captivity) when a Dolphin breached centimetres from me on a collision course (I only pooped a little bit)  Glyn of course found the Irony of a "defender of dolphins" being harassed byvthem hysterical.  The rest of the trip was uneventful and by the end I was totally void of strength I'm home tonight aiming to get a big day tomorrow hopefully getting onto the north coast.... weather and strength permitting! !

Monday, 18 August 2014

Day 4 looking forward not down!

Wow I was LOW this morning! The trip isnt so much a circumnavigation of the south, more a circumnavigation of my emotions and resolution.  I went this morning when I probably shouldn't of, as an experienced surfer the surf looked really manageable.  But that was through the eyes of a surfer as a kayaker in a very heavy boat I should have thought differently, I genuinely thought about quitting today but the truth is force 6 westerlies on north cornish surf beaches arent easy. If I'd been a mountaineer it would have been a tent bound day,but I went anyway and got bitten, fortunately I recovered most of my kit.
  The trip isnt really a solo unsupported circumnavigation anymore.....not in a purist sense anyway. I will meet with other paddlers where possible to help keep me on track I will phone friends and seek advice and encouragement and if theres a way to do things thats better than mine then thats what I shall do.
  Having 2 weather days so early was hard to accept and it seems like an uphill struggle but based on how well day 1 went in marginal conditions I have no doubt I can redouble my efforts and soar... After all its not just about me its about my friends my family my oceans my planet.
I wont rule out the possibility of having to return to work with an incomplete trip but I will be completing the route wether its this attempt or in the future. Hard days aren't nice but they're a necessary evil, they're what make the good days great.


Day 3 was a weather day I got some rest which was great due to force 6 winds.  Today. Day 4 has started with much the same weather and 3-4 foot onshore surf I've been feeling incredibly vulnerable in the build up to the trip with lots of people telling me about my will power and stubbornness and how I'll succeed at all costs......I think thats  who I used to be maybe 5 years ago. But the person writing this couldn't feel more frightened weak and alone.
There were times on day one where I was really scared but today has been different I've just taken a heavy beating in a fully laden expedition boat in heavy surf followed by a long swim and the loss of some kit including my maps for the next 50 miles im sat on a beach cold and alone I just want to go home and back to my job!

Saturday, 16 August 2014


Day 2 was fun....tiring but fun. A much shorter day in the region of 15 miles, but I had a bit of company from the elusive Howlett so it was cool. We spent the day against the tide but explored a few beautiful caves near St Agnes where another Friend Carl sauntered over to say hello, which was really touching. The support in general has been overwhelming, if it continues I may have to change some of my opinions about humans. Tomorrow is going to be a weather day with an early start Monday to start chasing towards north Devon. Early to bed againi reckon.

Day2... slow start

Stunning location of Godrevy. Heading to polzeath against wind and tide as I needed a lie in. The cornish beaches are a key spring board for some solid miles  through next week.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Day one

31 miles into headwinds upto f5 about 5 tide races....2 of which tried to better me...and nearly did.....if im honest I gave more than I had in the tank. Tomorrow morning will be a good indicator but the beast is now underway at least, I need to find pace and routine. My tent is a minging already.  Gonna get some sleep in a minute. ... I hope I do you all proud, I certainly will try. Weather is my biggest stumbling block right now. its all a bit overwhelming at the day at a time.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

This means everything to me.

The following is from my Manager at Skern Lodge words like job and vocation dont do justice to my place of employment   Barry Glyn John and Andy are the most perfect  people to  work alongside. Thanks for your support.

I missed you yesterday to wish you the best for your journey, though I don't think I could have said what I wanted to say as well as Terry Pratchett...

"Why do you go away?  So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."

Enjoy the adventure and face the challenge with the same approach you have shown this year and you will return with head held high.
All the best Simon.

The secret ingredient/jersey pocket

These unbelievable all natural energy bars are gonna keep me going on the water get in contact with Rich to fuel your adventures! !

Lamorna Cove

Lamorna is where it begins for real.
  The weather is looking like it may let me play for a couple of days but it will be breezy later in the weekend so Friday the 15th at around 10 am I will shove off  aiming to clear Lands End at around midday and setting day ones camp at Godrevy. Saturday will be a push up towards north Cornwall with an expected weather day on Sunday.  Everything is as ready as it can be, Ive chosen the launch point as if I start at Falmouth, I have to put in a large crossing early on, this way I've still got a good launch and landing I still clear Lands End and the Southwest relatively early and hopefully avoid the heavy weather set for 2 weeks time. One last sleep and then I'm away.....I finally get to stop talking about it and I get to do it......way better than Christmas! !!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Nice piece .

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Text to donate for a place on my boat

If you donate £2  I'll put your name on my boat.....if you donate £5 I'll put your message on the boat offer available until 5pm on the 14th of august get creative dont be too rude!!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Article for Reading post.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The forecast till friday. Plans aren't changing!

Theres nothing like a good breeze to put you on edge the week before launch.....looking like I should get away with it though.....the plan remains the same.  Clear Lands end and paddle!

Niton (Extended Forecast) From: 1900 BST Tue Aug 12 2014 To: 1900 BST Fri Aug 15 2014 On Tuesday evening a deep and unseasonable low centred near the Shetland Isles 983 will move to northern Forties 990 by midday Wednesday. During this time a deepening low is expected to move eastwards from Biscay 1012 to eastern France 1006 by midday Wednesday. The more northern, and deeper, low will continue to fill and move southeastwards overnight and through Thursday to be centred near Oslo 997 by evening. Pressure will continue to build from the west and by midday Friday an anticyclone will be centred Fitzroy 1026. Strong westerly or nortthwesterly winds will cover all waters and may increase to gale strength across southern Biscay for a time on Tuesday night. On Wednesday and Thursday winds will decrease from the west, with strong northerly winds expected to become confined to southern Fitzroy by the early hours of Friday morning. Thereafter little change is expected

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Organising chaos

With 12 days to go and only one full day off work before the off, preparations are feeling incredibly snug. I moved house this weekend unpacked and then started planning to pack....a weird position to be in for sure.  I had a good sail on the estuary this morning actually keeping pace with a laser pico, and beating it upwind (he had no paddles). 
Having never undertaken anything so big I dont know how I should be feeling right now but im gaining a mantra  that pings in my head a lot at the moment. ....
Sky above, Sea below,  Paddle, Paddle, Paddle!
Simple rules that shouldn't see me far wrong.