I love the cold; the crunch of snow under my boots, the crisp clean air that leaves your nose tingling and the wonky smiles of snowmen. I even love the clothes that you get to wear in cold places; snuggly sweaters, fleece pajamas and hats… anyone who knows me knows that I love hats, especially bulky knitted ones. Cold climates are awesome, but occasionally you just need to warm up…
It was a cold afternoon in Wales and Mark and I had just gotten off the water. We were cold, and the gas fire and hot chocolate just wasn’t doing the trick. There was a map of the world in front of us and my eyes fell to Jamaica. I questioned Mark about why we never paddle in warm climates and neither of us knew. It was then that we decided to circumnavigate Jamaica.
Oddly enough things started to fall into place immediately. That week I met a woman who knew another woman, who I also knew, who had the contact information for a kayaker in Jamaica, and in no time at all we were talking, planning and making it happen. This was over a year ago, and on Sunday, Dec. 28 we fly there. We’ll begin paddling on Tuesday, Dec. 30.
The team consists of three of us, myself, Mark Tozer and Wes Moses. We’ll start and finish in the historic Port Royal and paddle counterclockwise. As far as we know, we will be the first people to attempt this circumnavigation, which totals 635 miles. As far as speed, there will be long days and there will be longer days, but we’re not trying to set a speed record. Instead we’re planning to enjoy the water, the sun and the Jamaican scenery as we paddle around a place that Mark and I have only ever seen in pictures. We plan to finish by the end of January.
As for gear, we’ll all be using gear provided specifically for the expedition by Kokatat, Snap Dragon Design, Barz Optics and WindPaddle Sails. I’ll also be using gear provided by the following sponsors: Outdoor Research, Gath Helmets and Joe O’ Paddles. Mark and Wes will be using paddles provided by Celtic Paddles (which is awesome, but I’m going to stick with my GP 🙂
Canoe & Kayak Magazine will be posting updates as we go.
For those of you spending the winter in a cold environment, please tell it “hello,” and throw a snowball or two for me. Wherever you’re spending the winter, enjoy it!