Paddling your own canoe......
..........is a very modest description of James and Fi Corfe's expeditions round New Zealand and down the west coast of Chile to Cape Horn.
Both these trips were undertaken in sophisticated sea kayaks, carrying all their gear for up to a month at a time, and more importantly, with their professional outdoor leader capabilities derived from Outward Bound backgrounds.
James runs an outdoor adventure company - Into The Sea Expeditions - and is fortunate to receive some sponsorship in kind, so clearly expeditions of this nature are good recommendations for potential clients.
The most difficult part of the New Zealand trip was the exposed South West segment, when high cliffs and difficult landings made long days necessary. On one occasion an all-night paddle was necessary, and on another, cows onshore prevented landing for some time.
Clearly bonds were formed in adversity, so as if there wasn't anough hardship in kayaking several thousand kilometres, they decided to get married.......
In 2019, this hadn't proved exciting enough, so they decided to undertake the Chile trip. Quite apart from the technical difficulties of navigating and dealing with the vagaries of the weather in those latitudes, Chile provided it's own problems in the shape of major civil insurrection, theft of gear, and a high level of bureaucracy for any sort of back country/sea travel. This is actually not a totally bad thing as it allows the Chilean Navy to know where travellers might be if needing help.
All this was taken in their stride, and they made their way down the coast, using the system of channels to protect them from the worst of the Pacific weather, to the Magellan Straits. This was the decision point as to whether to press on and actually round Cape Horn, with its reputation of stormy seas for seafarers. They did, and negotiated the Wollaston Islands complex to make the rounding, which, when tackled close inshore was less hazardous, but stil very challenging.
Returning to the UK was complicated by yet another objective danger - the world pandemic of Covid-19 - but they did make it back in the end !
A stirring example of how determined people with limited resources can still take on the big trips this planet has to offer for the adventurous.
All pictures courtesy of James Corfe: 2nd from top - approaching a landing through tricky surf, 3rd from top - with a local in better weather, 4th from top - drying the gear after a long spell of bad weather.
Follow this link for the YouTube video of James' talk ...........