Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tim Taylor Completes Solo Circumnavigation of New Zealand

When I undertook a personal journey attempting to paddle the length of New Zealand in 2011, I was initialy disapointed to be over shadowed by another young paddler who was, that same summer, going for the record of "first ever paddler to round all main islands of NZ in one go" and do it solo on top of it.

We (Tim and I) came to be friends over email and hoped to paddle together at some stage on our journeys if possible (it never came to be however). I got over my little bit of ego envy and stood in admiration of this fiesty young blokes guts to takle such a large goal (one I had turned away from). we shared a common journey though each of us completed different parts at different times, and my journey of 3 months gave me the insight to know just how amazing Tim's effort to complete all of the NZ coast by paddle was.

Tim Taylor was not able to complete the whole project in one go, though did finish his objective that he started in 2010  this year, Good Job Brother, Hats off to yah! 
                                                                                                     ~ Jaime ~

 here is a bit form his last entry, and find more of his stories here

"Wednesday the 29th was to be my final day on the water and what a day it was. On my plan I had indicated that I was going to take 2 days to do this final stretch back to Tauranga but that ‘get home itis’ had well and truly infected me and I made the decision to risk it all and just see if I could make it After all, if I did make it I wouldn’t exactly need any energy reserves for the next day. With a really dodgy forecast this was a bit of a gamble but I was on home turf now and I knew that I could take certain risks along this stretch of coast and get away with them.
  Out on the water I made myself one hard rule which was that I would only stop on the hour for my designated snack stop. Nothing else. Knowing I had a long day ahead of me, I put on my ‘tunnel vision goggles’ and really just chewed up the miles. I rigidly kept to my no stopping rule which was hard because I was passing some beautiful coastline and because my body was often screaming in pain (particularly my legs). Passing Whangamata not long after 10, I knew I could make it back to Tauranga. Out to my port side (left), I had the Bay of Plenty’s silent sentinel, Mayor Island, watching my progress and occasionally I could see the top of the Mount come into view between swells. These both gave me a huge boost mentally.
  I was out from the Bowentown Heads at around 3pm and after dodging the bar area, I really cranked up the pace. From the Heads to the Mount is a distance of 25km and the closer I got, the faster I went. It was as though the view of the Mount was spurring me on and I was amazed that my body could actually keep up with this pace after such a long day. Out from Karewa Island, I could see something heading towards me and I said to myself “if its kayakers who have come to paddle with me, they had best be prepared to paddle hard because I’m not stopping now!” Luckily it was a boat and it turned out it was some old friends who had come out to guide me in. Bob Ockwell had guided me out of the Tauranga Harbour when I first left on this journey and when he pulled up alongside he said “I told you I would meet you when you got back.” I just replied, in a cheeky fashion “there’s a definite lack of fishing rods on that boat haha.”
  By the time I came into the Tauranga Harbour I was buggered. I still had to paddle up to the Wairoa River and as the tide was almost fully out this was an extra distance of about 15km. It also meant that I had to paddle into an outgoing tide for the last hour. Getting a final spurt of energy, I powered up the harbour, overtaking a bunch of yachts that were racing (there wasn’t much wind so they were going pretty slow). Finding the Wairoa channel is always a problem at low tide as floods each year often change it or completely fill it up with sediment. This time was no exception and I ultimately had to drag Waverly through a series of shallows before I found the deeper water. I was now on my home river and I allowed myself to relax and just enjoy it. I met old family friends Mark and Marie McGarver, who had paddled down to join me, and together we paddled the final few kilometres of my journey. Passing under the train bridge we were greeted by camera flashes and cheers. I stopped for a few minutes before heading the final distance up to the main bridge. It was now completely dark and a simply amazing evening in its own right but the welcome I got totally blew me away. There were dozens of people cheering me in and I was a bit shocked by it all...this had just been a kayaking trip to me so I never expected that sort of reception when I got home. So I have to say a MASSIVE thanks to everyone who welcomed me in. I will never forget the cheers, the handshakes, and all of the big hugs that I got...I was totally in awe of it all.

The final tally for the day was 87.5km for 13 hrs 45mins. It was the 3rd longest day distance wise that I have ever done but it was the longest I have ever done time wise and I was completely buggered. It was a great way to end an awesome trip. For the record, I spent a total of 112 days on the water for the entire expedition, covering an average of 49.4km per day. My longest day was 95.8km and the total distance I paddled was 5529.3km.

I would just like to say another MASSIVE thanks for all of the support that I have received during this whole expedition. I met hundreds of people, received hundreds of emails and I was always blown away by the level of love and encouragement that I received. Like I said, this trip was a just a big kayaking trip to me and I always thought I was just doing something that I do best i.e. If I didn’t do it I just wouldn’t be working to my potential and I would ultimately be letting myself down. I never realised how much this trip would mean to other people so I am really stoked that I was able to give you all something. Your support and encouragement was your way of being part of it and I can confirm that it definitely helped so thanks for coming along for the journey.

The next big thanks are to all of my sponsors. I was blessed with an amazing group of sponsors who had my back all the way through. The gear, the financial support, and the physical support that they provided was crucial and I could never have done it without them. Please consider all these brands when you next come to buy a bit of gear or have your next adventure because I can recommend all of them. All of the equipment that I used has been thoroughly thrashed, abused and otherwise treated badly...and all of it survived. So if I can’t break it then no one can! Most of these companies are NZ locals so help another Kiwi out and give them some business.     

So what’s for the future? Well my next big project is starting my very own kayaking business. This will be based around my second big love, kayak fishing, and I hope to be taking people out on their own little kayak fishing adventures around the Bay of Plenty. I figure I may as well try to get paid for kayaking haha. Keep an eye out for ‘NZ Kayak Adventures’ coming to a shore near you and on this website as I will be using it for both the business and for any new kayaking adventures. There will also be the book, which I hope to get sorted over the next few months. I guess you all will know about the adventures that I’ve had but this will be the definitive version and it will have all of the photos, so keep an eye out for that too. 

As always, I will be available through the usual channels if you ever want to get in touch but until then everybody, get out and enjoy a slice of NZ and enjoy what this amazing world has to offer. 

Paddle hard."

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