And now for something completely different: Kayaking the Aleutians

This has nothing to do with my current snowy biking but I am confident, dear reader, that you won’t mind the diversion for it is all about a film that you want to see, even if you don’t yet know that you want to see it. You might even not know that it exists yet. Read all about it, then watch it – there’s even a bit about a naked lady getting chased by a bear.

Even though she went to Cambridge... she's still one of my best pals.

Even though she went to Cambridge… she’s still one of my best pals.

The 101 days of kayaking along the Aleutian chain and up the Alaskan mainland to the nearest road last year were some of my favourite expedition days ever. Charged with adrenaline, set against a dramatic volcanic landscape and with a cast of characters as varied as native people through to honking, farting sea lions, inquisitive grizzly bears and shared with my good pal and big sister figure Justine – it was a journey that tested me in so many ways and helped me to grow in so many others.

While I am trying to stay upright, Justine would be taking photos/film.... The gnarlier the better.

While I am trying to stay upright, Justine would be taking photos/film…. The gnarlier the better.

Justine is not only a kick-ass sea kayaker. She is also a brilliant film-maker and her recently released film of our journey ‘Kayaking the Aleutians’ has already scooped at least three awards. You need to watch it – especially if you like beautiful places, amazing wildlife, a splash of nudity and a good story. It has been touted as her best film yet and I think I agree. It is raw, wild, honest and I think does justice to the place we travelled through, the people who call those lands home, and the friendship between us, complete with its challenges. Someone described it as portraying ‘excellently the challenges we faced together and between us’ and I think that sums it up very well indeed. That many miles in such uncertain waters are going to be challenging to mind, body and relationships – especially when one half of the double is way less experienced in a kayak than the other. The fact we made it, together, and still pals and smiling, is testimony to our friendship, teamwork, stubbornness and the fact that Justine was willing to embark on it with me. I couldn’t have done it without her. Though I could have done without the tent farts. Justine, my friend, you rock and so does your film of our jaunt.

Here is the trailer:

YouTube Preview Image

You can order the film through Justine’s website here:

You can also see if she will be touring near you with the film at public showings. If you meet her, ask her about the ‘I’m a little teapot’ dance and rib her about how she could only get into Cambridge 🙂 She’ll know who sent you.

For those of you wondering about an overall film of my L2L journey… The plan is to produce a film post-expedition – format yet to be decided. Jen Crook is currently wading through all the years and hours of footage, having a mini-expedition at her computer.

In other news, I am now back on the bike and riding strong, though in fact today I am waiting out an ice storm which has in fact not turned up as forecast. Stay? Go? Stay? Go? If only I hadn’t checked the forecast….

Until next time,

Sarah and Hercules (in Pennsylvania)




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10 Responses to And now for something completely different: Kayaking the Aleutians

  1. Margaret says:

    I have the DVD. It is definitely well worthy of the prizes. Buy it folks!
    There is a hint of Spring here in Scotland but it will be a while be you can shed some clothing layers on the bike on your route in the Northern States. There will be no need to strip off in the open to wash though, so naked cyclist shots will not feature when your film is eventually released.
    Stick in there. Tough woman.

  2. Barry Gumbert says:

    The trailer is brilliant., Just like you.

  3. Chris Wille says:

    Hey Sarah- Justine was just here in beautiful Victoria BC giving a slideshow talk on your incredible Aleutian Islands Sea Kayak journey. It featured clips from her film. All in all a super inspiring slideshow. Makes one really want to get out there and go for a paddle. What an incredible adventure you 2 shared.Not to worry- the nudy bits were blocked out…your expression was priceless- chased by a bear while bathing in a river!
    My wife and i – both avid, experienced long distance (cross continent) cyclists, have been following your progress for many months now, and are awestruck by your steely determination and incredible resolve to forge ahead on your epic journey through the toughest imaginable conditions. Who cycles across North America in wintertime?? Wishing you safe travels, Chris and Linda Wille

  4. Gwenn says:

    Our DVD of “Kayaking the Aleutians” arrived just last week and we have enjoyed every breath taking minute. The beautiful seascapes, animals, people, cultures. You are so amazing girl! You do not back down to challenges or let obstacles stand in your way of your goals. Kudos to your support team, and coaches as well.

  5. Congrats on your trip Sarah!!! Just saw Justine’s presentation at the Storm Gathering USA. It is very inspiring with beautiful footage and you gals making it happen! Can’t wait to watch the whole film. Best wishes on the rest of your journey!!!

  6. Ray Golden says:

    I loved the movie, and would highly recommend you buy the movie you will not be disappointed.

  7. Emma Timmis says:

    Oooooooh, looks bloody amazing. Cant wait to see some bear action!!! x

  8. Esther Bennett says:

    Last night we were watching this again…. It is a wonderful, beautiful film. Thank you so much Sarah (& Hercules) for changing course and coming to Adak. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this final leg of your journey home.
    Esther, Dacia, Alicia, & Augie.

  9. Hannah says:

    Hi,what do you do with the boat when you are sleeping?I love reading about your adventures.
    Good Luck

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Hannah –

      Either the boat drifts or I put out a sea anchor, which is a parachute on a long line in the water connected back to the boat. The drag slows the drift down and keeps me more stable in rough seas. I often lose ground overnight!



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