I write this from Gravesend Rowing Club. Barefoot, in my thermals, headtorch illuminating the space in front of me. Justine, my Paddling Chief & Film Guru, has just tucked up into her sleeping bag on the floor behind me -where my own sleeping bag is laid out ready and waiting. We arrived at just after 7pm in the softest of spring sunsets – the air calm and mild, mirroring my own space inside, now calmed after the storm of the final preparations this last week.
Today has been so special – the finale of nearly two years hard work from my team and I to get L2L ready to go, and the start of the journey ahead. I have grinned from ear to ear most of the day and inside I have been singing, so happy and proud that we even made it to London. From here on in, the journey is the reward – but I am stoked that so many people have backed us and came out to Tower Bridge to cheer us on.
It’s 11.41pm and the alarm is set for 2am. This means that really I should be in my sleeping bag by now too. But I am on a bit of a high, so I won’t go before sharing with you a few thoughts from Day 1 of this 800 + day adventure.
First, a thank you – everyone and anyone who hooted, hollered or hugged me today – from near or afar. I am only here because of the collective efforts and energies and support of people and groups and businesses all over the world. This isn’t just my journey any more – it is for everyone.
So – some stats for Day 1:
* Miles paddled – 25(ish)
*Hours spent grinning – 24
*Hours spent sleeping – 0
* Mars bars eaten – none. Saving them for tomorrow.
* Bird species spotted – at least 6 (Shelduck, black headed gull, grey heron, fulmar, oystercatcher, cormorant)
Tomorrow we leave at 02.30am to try and make the most of the tide – the Thames Estuary starts flooding back in around 7am so we need to try and get to somewhere sensible like Whistable around then or shortly after, as being on a sandbank might not be the best fun. It’s looking like it will be blowing a fairly fresh and blowy southerly wind, so this should make for some interesting conditions as the water gets shallower and we shall probably get rather soggy with the splash.
Forgive the lack of coherent structure – although I am on a high, my brain is a little tired. So it is probably time I catch some sleep. It’s now officially tomorrow which means that in just 2 hours we get up to get back in the boats.
Onwards to the world my friends – we’ve a few more miles to go yet.
Happy happy days to you,
Sarah and Nelson (the kayak) x
PS Weather looks good for Monday – we hope to make the crossing to Calais, France – from Dover or Ramsgate
PPS Who made the caramel shortbread that we found on Justine’s boat before departure? It is delicious!