Going with the flow

Submitted by jono on 12 Sep 2016.

The publication of a website is a concrete step towards backing yourself into a corner that is difficult to escape from. If you are reading this it means that I have taken the plunge - publicly committed to a challenge seemingly so large that I question my own sanity. It's good to ask those questions, rather than blindly stumble into this.

Obviously no one has taken on windsurfing around a continent before. That is unsurprising. Until I had windsurfed around a country - Britain - neither is it an idea that I would have entertained. I don't imagine that it is an idea that has been seriously entertained by many.

A challenge like this would also be prohibitively expensive unless you were prepared to sail unsupported. Only two people I am aware of have windsurfed a country unsupported - myself and an inspiring chap called Robert Henshall - who windsurfed the coast of Ireland.

You also need an empty diary for a year or so. Let me just check... Yep, should be able to manage that.

It also helps to be experienced enough, but not so old that your body will fall apart before the end. Mmm. Fingers crossed on that.

And you really should have a good idea of what you are about to attempt. In truth I haven't looked too closely at the finer details as there are just too many to consider. The most practical approach is a just in time approach.

But I have been to Northern Norway. I visited the start point and looked out over the empty expanse of Barents Sea. I got a feel for the scale of the place. Understood the distances between settlements. Saw for myself that the arctic landscape between these is truly untouched and near enough untouchable. When the wind blew it seemed impossibly cold, and the unsettling pre-launch fear of expedition sailing was back with me.

And I identified that the wet stuff is still water, the same as is found further south. And helpful, friendly, amazing local people I met assured me that the sea does not ice over, that there are no polar bears on the mainland, and orcas are unlikely to be a problem. Yes - there may be snow on the ground in May - but the weather is likely to be mostly settled. There will be 24 hour daylight. I sampled dried cod and dried reindeer - locally available and lightweight expedition food. I benefited from the generously shared knowledge of local experienced adventurers.

My new friends gave me practical advice on how to approach this first leg. They seemed to think that the proposition is a reasonable one.

I left with a clear understanding of how I needed to prepare for this expedition.

So, the pre-website launch worries are there. But they are mild. I have a conviction that my path is to embark on this adventure. Fate, the alignment of stars, good fortune, oddness, whatever... has privileged me with an opportunity so beautiful that it is my obligation to accept.

Tagged with: Preparation Reflection