2022 The Year of the Sea Kayak

Despite living a life focused on mountains, I’ve always thought I would enjoy sea kayaking. It shares many of the elements that draw me to my mountains sports – travel through wilderness, skill, risk management, beautiful locations that are hard to reach any other way.

Living up in the mountains, it has never felt easy to organise. Recently I decided that it was never going to be convenient, but I was going to make it happen anyway.

The first sea kayaking I ever did was in 2018, a multi-day wild-camping trip through the Finnish Archipelago, self-guided with friends, jumping in at the deep end and loving it. Plans to do more were soon derailed by life, and then by Covid.

Cathy camping on the Finnish Archipelago kayak trip
Paddling at the Olympic Park
2021 – back on the water

The 2021 phase of Covid allowed for travel close to home, but still had any long-haul flights out of the question, and my speaking work done remotely by webinar. It seemed the moment to pursue sea kayaking with more purpose.

The highlights of the year were a circumnavigation of Menorca with six friends, and a 5-day training camp in Croatia with Belgian coach Dimitri Vanderpoele. To try to get more days on the water, I tried a little slalom paddling at the Olympic Park in La Seu d’Urgell, close to my home in Andorra.

Upcoming: Kornati National Park kayak traverse

With (almost) the same group as did the Menorca circumnavigation, we now plan to paddle the length of the Kornati National Park in Croatia. Starting at Rab island, we have eight days set aside in June to cover roughly 220km to Skradin. It should be warm, relaxed and easy-going, a gentle warm-up for the Greenland trip in August that I have now been trying to do for three years!

To try and get more time on the sea, I have joined the Pagaia kayak club, based out on Llança on the Spanish Costa Brava. The aim is to try and paddle once a month. Also on the schedule is the Shetland Sea Kayak Symposium in July.

Kornati National Park kayak traverse
Planned route for Greenland kayak trip
Our planned route
Greenland – third time lucky?

Postponed for the second summer in a row, due to Covid travel restrictions on entry into Greenland. We have again booked flights for summer 2022….. fingers crossed!  

In August of 2022 I plan to join five other paddlers for a 10 day expedition, setting set off from the tiny Inuit village of Kulusuk.

Kulusuk is home to only 200 people, local Inuit hunters and their families and is is one of only five settlements on the east coast of Greenland. This region is one of the most isolated in the world and is cut-off to access by sea for over half the year. In the summer months the sea ice breaks up, allowing boats to pass between the steep rocky islands in the region.

​Our route will be entirely exploratory, the aim being to experience glaciers, iceberg-filled fjords and truly remote camping. We will be completely self supported, carrying all the equipment and food we need. We will collect water from rivers and streams, and aim to find new campsites each evening.

Our planned route goes north from Kulusuk, following the vast fjord network which lies between the steep mountainous islands. Our goals include the Apuseaq Glacier, an impressive calving glacier which gives birth to many of the icebergs which ebb and flow with the tidal currents and winds.

We will then turn east, passing through narrow fjords bordered by 1000m high mountains, aiming for the ice-choked water of the Sermililk Fjord. Finally we will make our way back south to Kulusuk. (Postponed from 2020, due to Covid.)