Svalbard

We have just a lovely couple of days, (not weather wise) in Brecon at the 60th birthday party of somebody I paddled with in Svalbard, way back in 1983.  We spent two months kayaking the west coast of Spitsbergen, a more detailed account of which is available here.
As far as we are aware we were possibly the first sea kayaking expedition that used dry suits whilst on the water.  It really was a time of discovery, the rumour was that you would be inverted and drown if you had to capsize your kayak whilst wearing a dry suit.  There is a brief description of our experiments and how fortunate I was to survive!
Dave has reached to grand old age of 60 and so on Saturday, Phil, Pete, Dave and myself were together for possibly the first time in 30 years.  The last time we could remember all being together was at Dave’s wedding in 1988.
Spending two months together kayaking in the Arctic can pose significant challenges to relationships but 35 years on ours seem to have survived and although we don’t see each other that often, it is amazing how comfortable we are in each others company.  The shared experiences of 35 years ago continue to bind us together into a tight knit group.
If you are planning a kayaking trip this summer try to reflect on what impact the journey will have on your relationships and hopefully in 35 years time you will still experience the same empathy between the members of the group.  The success of sea kayaking trips can be measured in so many more ways than nautical miles paddled.

Svalbard
Our first paddle turned into an 18 nautical mile crossing of Isfjorden, made slightly more challenging by the ice in front of the kayaks
Svalbard
Heading south after rounding the north westerly point of Svalbard.
Svalbard
In weather which was warmer but damper than we experienced in Spitsbergen we walked around the Brecon countryside following lunch

On a slightly different note one thing I have discovered this week, due to the amount of time I have spent inside, is Paddling Adventures Radio.  They have over 100 podcasts, which are perfect listening when you are in the bath.  Sean Rowley and Derek Sprecht are the two hosts, who talk about a range of paddling related activities and all in very relaxed style.  It is recommended listening.  The podcasts could be perfect for when you are in the gym.  Give it a listening and sea what you think.