I caught wind of this expedition on the Canoe & Kayak Magazine website, where they have posted an interview with Hayley Shephard, a New Zeland woman who intends to paddle solo around South Georgia Island.
Hayley’s circumnavigation attempt may not sound all that challenging at first. After all, it’s a “mere” 375 miles around South Georgia. But when you take into account that the island is located in a very remote area of the Southern Ocean, some 870 miles from its nearest neighbor, and that the region is legendary for its incredibly bad weather, you start to have an appreciation for what she hopes to accomplish. The coastline is said to be both rugged and beautiful, and there will be few places where Hayley will be able to escape the elements. The place is so remote and foreboding in fact, that no had circumnavigated it by kayak until 2005, when a team led by Andrew McAuley accomplished the feat, and an indicator of how dangerous it can be, is the fact that she’s required by the New Zealand Government to have a support vessel with her at all times.
As you might expect, Hayley will be attempting this epic paddle for cause. She hopes to raise awareness in the general public about the plight of the albatross, a sea bird that she has come to love in her many wanderings at sea. She says that many of the birds, as well as other species, are being killed by outdated fishing techniques used in the commercial fishing industry. She hopes to put pressure on that industry to adopt some new techniques that won’t endanger the birds.
In the C&K interview, Hayley talks about her thoughts on why she wants to make this journey, how she had prepared for it, and why it has been delayed for several years. This year, in order to achieve her dream, she took out a loan, essentially going into debt, to see this expedition through. You have to really admire someone who is willing to self fund their own adventures in order to chase their dreams.
Find out more about Hayley and her expedition at KayakingToSaveAlbatross.com
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