Well a year in the planning and the Paddle Against Plastic Pollution finally happened. At dawn on a perfect July Monday morning the team set off from Porthcurno Beach at the very west of Cornwall to head for Scilly. We mentioned the plan in a blog over a year ago. And at last conditions favoured us…

The Mission

The purpose of the mission was twofold. Firstly to highlight the increasing issue of plastic pollution in our seas. And secondly to raise sponsorship monies for Surfers Against Sewage.

Check the piece about the crossing here in Cornwall Live

The Hazards

I have nothing but respect for all the paddlers who took part. And apart from having to battle against strong northerly currents that plagued us most of the way, and the hazard of crossing two busy shipping lanes.

Shipping Lanes between Lands End and Scilly

Shipping Lanes between Lands End and Scilly

There was even a close encounter with The Scillonian, the ferry from Penzance to the Isles.

Scillonian passing Kelvin Batt en route to Scilly

Scillonian passing Kelvin Batt en route to Scilly

One of the unanticipated issues that more than one paddler had to deal with afterwards was sunburnt feet!

We even had visits from a pod of dolphins during the crossing. Plus a visit from a big lone bull seal, who was a very long way from the nearest land.

It was an extremely long 13 hour day at sea. Long for us on the support boat and excruciatingly longer for the paddlers. So we spent the following day relaxing and enjoying Scilly at its very best. And in the late afternoon we headed back to the mainland, passing on the way back the iconic Wolf Rock lighthouse, with its ever present seal colony.

A day to remember for all of us!

The long road home…

When planning the trip, Finland’s Archipelago Sea had intrigued me. Have a look for yourself on a map. The more you zoom in the more islands you discover. It reminded me of staring at the sky on a clear cloudless sky. The longer you look, the more stars you see… It’s the sort of place you could spend a whole summer cruising and never staying in the same anchorage twice.

We left the Archipelago Sea on yet another flat calm day and cruised through the Swedish archipelago to Stockholm.

But home was calling – National Geographic had asked for a re-edit of our Truk Lagoon film 

And they wanted it ASAP. So although we had planned a homeward route through the Swedish Canal system from Stockholm to Gothenburg, that would have added an extra week to the trip. Reluctantly we decided to save that for another year and head back through The Baltic for the Kiel Canal.


The final leg of the trip…

Eddie left us part way back – like us he had jobs piling up back home. So Elliott Harrison and I made the last part of the trip together. Bad luck with the weather close to the Kiel Canal turned to worse luck once we were through, and eventually we had to leave Cecienne in the marina at Breskens. We returned a couple of weeks later and on glass calm seas completed the voyage home to Falmouth.