The second crew which composed of 4 Vancouver Policeman, 1 Royal navy
and volunteers from the local community had there wind up sendoff at the Rowing
Club at Paignton.
A great sendoff by the community, We are now Crewless and have no further plans
of moving on unless we are lucky enough to have locals ( Rowing Clubs ) help
paddle Spirit Dancer along the coast so having said that our mileages will suffer
and we will not be able to stay to the original itinerary.
Today was spent cleaning the canoe and relocating it to a mooring buoy in the
Paignton Harbour, I have made arrangements to visit Yorkshire and family for
a few days June 4 to 7th.
Hopefully by then we will be able to come up with different crews to help move
the canoe onwards down the coast, if this is not possible, the UBC team from
Canada will need to meet me here and paddle to St. Ives on the North coast of
Cornwall we shall see. The entire coast has been incredible with of course many
great challenges, to be expected.
A great day on the water from Exmouth to Paignton in Torbay, a 15 N Mile day
with a crew of 10 including new recruits Barry Hunter from the Cornwall Police
dept, Lt Col Steve Richards of the Royal Marines and David, Linda, Ryan Whiston
a family that joined us a week ago to paddle and help us move equipment along
Our group was hosted for breakfast at the Dockside Cafe in Exmouth, many
thanks to Vive for looking after our crew, we stayed at the Royal Marine base
thanks to Lt Col Steve Richards.
Also I had an interview with Terry Mills from Bay FM Radio about the events of
www.bayfm.co.uk Thanks Terry.
Our day was 4.5 hrs with no going ashore in order to make Paignton for 6:00 pm,
we were greeted by good weather until the last hour when we had a huge amount
of rain for the grand entry into the harbour, thanks to Ray , Jan and Sharon
for coming out in their boat to welcome us and escort us in.
We were greeted also by a rowing Gig for the last mile and we came ashore completely
Showers and food for the evening was hosted by the Rowing Club and speeches were
shared and gifts were exchanged by John Turner and self who presented a Stanley
Park Red Cedar paddle.
Another fine day on the water. Best to all and Paddles Up!!
Lyme Regis to Exmouth
A great sendoff and many thanks to the community of Lyme Regis and our host Giles
and Hanna Frampton who put our group up for 3 days. Giles is a Eco Developer www.ecodeveloper.com
Had a great visit to the BBA Boat Building Academy www.boatbuildingacademy.com thanks
to our host there Tim Gedge Director. The North West Chapter Canoe Club would
be very interested in seeing the work that is produced from this very interesting
Another very spectacular section of coast with many beaches and cliffs along
the way, after 12 N Miles we went ashore for 40 minutes while the group went
for tea. The canoe was anchored out and many locals were very interested in what
we were up to.
One fellow Nobbie in his late sixties asked about the canoe which was his mistake
as it was'nt more than a few minutes that he was asked to join us, Noddie was
seconded to the experience and did very well, sometimes we just take strangers
right off the beach!! And we get away with it!!
We were welcomed by the Town Crier, Paddlers that came out on surf boards and
the Exmouth town Mayor, Fantastic, the word is now traveling with us, BBC Radio
has now done several interviews.
A day off for the crew as poor weather all day plagued us unfortunately so the
crew spent the day in Lyme Regis which is a sweet Village with lots to do. The
forecast was a little better for the 29th so not a lot to report this day.
West Bay to Lyme Regis
On the eve of the 26th May the waters of this particular section of coast were
quite challenging and overnight while Spirit Dancer was secured to the moorings
in West Bay broke the stern line attachment and left some bruising and paint
removal off the hull of the canoe hence a patch will need to be done when we
can aquire some paint of the right color!!
The weather for May 27th was forcasted in our favour and therefore allowed us
to depart for Lyme Regis for another amazing day although very short we were
expected here for a special welcoming our Youngest crew member was Ryan Whiston
whom was interviewed by the local media, good going Ryan, this is my hope for
all who joins me to have the locals interviewed as often as possible especially
if they are my crew.To share there experience of paddling the great canoes of
We have been greeted by the Mayor and Harbour Master and many others to a fine
reception when we arrived on the shores of Lyme Regis, what a wonderful village
this is, everyone is very helpful and very very excited for us traveling in the
old ways of Canadian History.
I admire the Brits, they are very out going and extremely encouraging of our
acheivements, we have a very long way to go yet but with the help of the people
of this coastline it will become one of the finest ways of meeting the people
of this magnificent land.
We hope to depart from Lyme Regis for Exmouth tomorrow about 18 miles or so,
many people wanting to join me so the pressure is on to try accommodate some
of these requests.
Well I'm now off to another reception, at the boat building school where we had
a super tour of the locals building many beautiful hand built dories, kayaks,
dingies and one super 32ft Rowing Gig.
Best to all, and again please be patient with us that are waiting our arrival
further along the coast we will get there!!
Chris and Barbara and Crew.
Chesil Beach near Weymouth on a very calm day. There is no going ashore once committed to leaving for West Bay 18 miles in the distance. Chesil is a shingle surf beach and very steep with no opportunity to go ashore.
Portland Bill to West Bay Dorset
A Very difficult day, tried to depart along Chesil Beach and had to return as
winds were far too high blowing in from NEast, went back ashore and had tea with
Julie and Peter who invited us in while waiting for a change for the winds to
The forecast was for deminishing winds by 1:00pm and down to 10 Miles per hour
Easterly, did not happen.
We departed for West Bay with the hope for winds to die down but unfortunately
only asmall reduction to wind speed of about 15 to 20 with gusts to 25
on occasion. We were challenged all the way down Chesil of 15 miles and no way
to go ashore!! This was expected so a rather big commitment, the canoe works
well and performs easily in these conditions but crew tires easily, we are not
a strong crew but of intermedaite capability,I have chosen not to be on the water
above a Beaufort 3 as it is awkward with cross winds and we have to have two
stern rudders in order to keep the canoe somewhat strait!!
We arrive West bay in 3 hrs and 30 minutes, An exciting day ( Watching your back
is imperative here )with an interesting arrival to the harbour. There were very
few again to welcome us, very discouraging when we have no one there to greet
us after a hard day on the water, My arms felt this workout today!!
Susan a paddler and gig rower had left a message for me during the afternoon
to find out whether we would arrive in West Bay today and carry onto Lyme Regis,
called her up and said we are stuck for a place to stay this is now 7:00pm in
the evening. She got on the phone immediately and arranged to have us looked
after. We arrive by van at 8:30pm and met Jiles and Hanna who put us up in Lyme
We hope to paddle Spirit Dancer today to Lyme Regis but will be doing the usual
checks with weather and coastguard.
Just another reminder to all who are expecting us on the coastline, we
are having great difficullty keeping to schedules so please be patient and hopefully
we will arrive whenthe weather allows us to. It is best to check our website
under News and Updates.
The Vancouver Police and Royal Navy crew about to round Portland Bill - a nortorious penninsula to get around on a calm day.
Weymouth to Portland Bill and around to Chesil Cove
A short but intense journey around the Portland Bill to find calm seas and very good conditions to round the HORN as some would say!!
Portland Bill is a headland that requires very accurate planning with the tides here so timing is extremely important today was perfect as the races were far off the headland, many people were photographing us as we rounded the tricky headland.
A spectacular part of coast with many people in shock to sea an ocean going canoe travelling around this piece of coast, took 2 hrs and 40 minutes to get this done so very short 8 mile day, We anchored Spirit Dancer in the Cove, and Wally and Ken helping with security and camped with the canoe, we made presentations in the evening to the Harbour Masters office and to staff there also to MCA Coastguard Weymouth. Another fine day today on the water which we do get on occasion!
Our host Doug at Swanage receives a Stanley Park Paddle on behalf of our crew
May 23 & 24
Left Swanage for Weymouth to paddle the 20 NMiles of some of the most
beautiful and panoramic sea cliffs of the Jurassic coast here a very committing piece of
coast but we had good conditions overall and managed to do this section in 6hrs
and 20 minutes, we did not go ashore for this period of time and continued with
a following sea and some light wind where we were assisted by the sail a 12 x
8 ft Canadian Flag which provided lots of interest across this coast.
We arrived in Weymouth and greeted by many including some great help from the
Harbour Masters office, Remmie who is staff with the harbours office really helped
us out to make us comfortable, they put us up in a small warehouse and stored
our canoe on a separate finger to keep her safe. A very beautiful place Weymouth
is, and we have had the chance to meet so many in just a very short time. It
would be nice to spend more time in these places but time is not allowing us.
Geoff, who has a glass bottom boat that takes tours out, took us out and
we saw some eels and many species of fish in the harbour. We met with Sarah
from coastguard last night and she took us out to Portland
Bill to check on our
next move to the inside of Chesil Beach which is about 10 NMiles. This is a very
tricky headland and requires much input from locals and coastguard.
Presently the seas are 5 /6 with gusts to 7 so we will make another check tomorrow
with coastguard to get round this headland.
Thanks to all who are following with great interest, BBC
Radio Dorset will do
an interview with me tomorrow morning prior to our departure if weather allows
us, As I have mentioned it is a day by day planning for each move and we are
doing our very best to ensure our crews safety and delays must be expected so
again please bare with us. My very best regards, Chris, Barbara & Crew.
Departed Poole today and accomplished 8 N Miles to Swanage for another big day
tomorrow, 20 miles to Weymouth.
Passed by Old Harry a sea stack of beautifull shapes on a very smooth sea for
a change!! Great photo opps.
We are 7 in the crew and canoe feeling slow, With crew and
gear plus the weight of the canoe we are 3500 lbs gross a great workout in
deed!! We need more crew and unfortunately cannot drag people off the beaches
as most are in shock when we come into the communities!!! Met Doug with a beach
hut and stayed with him tonight tenting on the beach, canoe anchored, Presented
Doug with a beautiful Red Cedar Paddle, he was speachless when presented.
The Brits are truly very interested in what we are trying
to do, what a wonderful time we are having. LUV to ALL. Chris and Barbara.
Barry the Lorry Driver moved Spirit Dancer to Poole from Hythe, Flew Belleville
Rodair flag down the motorway Many shocked people seeing 60 foot flat deck
low rider through the narrow streets of Poole. What an amazing sight it must
Many thanks to all who are dealing with some of the very complicated
logistics and so sorry to the ones we left behind and not able to visit you. please encourage
us through these very challenging times.
Best regards to all, Chris and Barbara
New Update to May 20 news!
An amazing story of generousity, a week ago we hauled 'Spirit Dancer' canoe up
the shingle beach and prepared to bring her up on the promanade for safety, the
anchor and chain was also brought up and placed by the canoe, the next day our
anchor went missing and the chain was left behind, now we have no anchor.
Darren went to Dover to pickup a new anchor and we mentioned this to Rose Hewitt
this evening who is the Kitchen Manager at the Stade Court Hotel, hence our new
anchor is named Rose. Rose was in the guest house business for years in Folkstone
and became a manager here after selling her business. We are very greatful to
her generousity. We will remember her each time we lower the anchor.
The staff at the Stade Court hotel have been incredible and have supported Barbara
and I while delayed by weather, they are truly fine fine hosts, we have provided
many gifts to the staff here.
In addition to this report we are now being met by a lorry driver tomorrow with
a flat bed to move the canoe to Poole, it is a real dissapointment that we are
to move the canoe as we really wanted to paddle each section, the main reason
is that we have no good anchorage for our canoe so therefore we hope we are able
have better luck from Poole onwards.
Our apologies to all that were expecting us along this section of coast. A very
difficult decision indeed.
hopefully we will try again at a later date, we shall see.
Again, best to all, Chris and Barbara
We are having some very difficult times now with extra
) to move Spirit Dancer to Poole from Hythe, to catch up for lost time, we are
challenged all the way unfortunately.
The BC Coast is simple compared to what I'm trying to do. My only hope is to
have deeper water and safer anchorages for early departures west of Poole.
to be back on the water for 22nd May, we have been off the water since May 15th
and have lost a weeks travel because of the Shingle beaches, Wind and Gale force
6 to 7. Can't even think of anchoring out in these windy beaches.
Paddles Up To All!!
May 16th to 19th.
The Vancouver Police team has now arrived late on the 17th May we are now a team
We are challenged by so much..... Short on Crew, No anchorages for a quick departure
in most cases, so Spirit Dancer awaits its next move, the Shingle Beaches are
many and some steep so difficult to get ashore and depart, we cannot risk anchoring
her off shore because of wind.
For the past two days Coastguard has been advising of force
6&7 with up to
Gale Force off Dungeness, went down yesterday to investigate and sure enough
was mostly whitewater and breaking seas a fair bit off shore, to be expected
and now we cannot delay any longer so will have our trailer brought in
to move Spirit Dancer to Portsmouth to continue the journey.
A special thanks to all who have helped in this process, Rotary ( Brian and Shirley
Walkling ) of Hythe, The Shade Court Hotel in Hythe for accommodation and Breakfasts,
to Peter and Liz Brooker of the Sail Club in Hythe for helping with storage,
Dinner,and scouting missions to check the Royal Marine Canal that we were hoping
could be an option to make a move. Too many barriers here.
We are very thankful to so many that are indeed helping in so many ways,
the main enemy is Wind and no Anchorages for quick get aways, if we had that
we could continue early mornings prior to the winds getting up, hopefully when
we move the canoe west bound we will have better opportunities to anchor out.
FYI Spirit Dancer weighs
1400 lbs Dry and 7 crew cannot budge her, it takes 20 strong crew to move her
to the water hence, we need deep water with protective anchorage.
Please stay tuned to our next move, we apologize to the communities that were
expecting us between Rye and Portsmouth, we are very much indeed behind schedule
and many are expecting us along the way, so please bare with us.
Best regards, Chris and Barbara and crew.
To all that are continuing to follow our progress around the UK coastline,
the British are incredibly supportive of what we are trying to do and welcome
us every stage of the way, yesterday we received word from Best Western Hotel
that they would like to sponsor Barbara and I at The Stade Court Hotel in
Hythe until we depart on Sunday May 18 for Rye Harbour.
Every day is very challenging for me working with coastguard, rifle ranges,
media, press, local interest, departing teams (BCIT) looking after returning
car rentals, updating the website, wondering where my next team is etc., but
all in all it is the most fasinating project I have ever taken on. Barbara and
I have a little time today together for lunch while she is doing washing!!
The Rotary here in Hythe have passed the word now to Rye Harbour which is our
next port of call Sunday about 16 N Miles around Dungeness Point. I will
try with another update Monday if time allows, thank goodness for libraries for
our updates. Best regards to all, Chris and Barbara
Mileage to date NM 120 or 220KMs (10 Days
Folkstone to Hythe (Google
Force 7 off shore!! Inshore force 2/3! No problems today Tide and
Wind were with us, the group paddled well and we made 5 miles. We now finish
here with BCIT students, they did well and managed 120 NMiles based over 10 days.
They were challenged in every way and did super. Bless Them !!
No crew for the 15th and 16th May, will be in Hythe til our next departure.
We wait for our next team, Vancouver Police and Royal Navy to commence 17 May
Hythe is a lovely town lots of local interest, will be hosted by the local
sail club, store the canoe so she's safe. A newspaper in Folkstone is to do a
story for today's paper and I will advise everyone when it's out and will be
posted on our website.
We've been advised that the weather is to change later in the day.
Windguru.cz is a very good website for 24 hours a day coverage
and will give up to 7 days forecast. Check it out!
Best wishes to all who are supporting us and cheering us on!!
What a great story and challenge it is.
Chris and Barbara
A note from the Spirit Dancer Canoe
Journey web designer
Chris is not only organizing the trip, watching weather patterns and planning
the day's logistics, he's in the canoe paddling alongside the other team members,
meeting with officials and media people and visiting with all the kind people
along the way learning about the wonderful places the trip is traveling through.
On top of that Chris is somehow finding time to find a computer at each
stop to send in these updates by email. The man is amazing - and so is everyone
who is on the journey with him! Thank you to all who are following the challenges
of Chris and the crew. I am in awe of the undertaking and of all the support
the adventure has received. Thank you everyone.
BCIT students viewing the Cliffs of Dover on route to Folkstone.
We had calm waters this day in the Strait of Dover
Kingsdown to Folkstone (Google
Our group departed from Kingsdown at 7:30 am after calling Dover
Coastguard to confirm our departure. Everyone is in good spirits and
the Ebb tide again now in our favour, winds light and seas calm until 1:00pm,
we were off the water by then.
Our journey around the Cliffs of Dover was superb (Google
map link) steeped
with history and many people now encouraging us to paddle hard!! Lots of photos
were taken. We arrived on the east end of the Port of Dover and asked for
an escort. The Dover Port Authority came and met us and provided an escort
past the busiest Port in the world. It is an intimidating place with much traffic.
We went ashore after paddling at breakneck speed following
the support vessel,
we went ashore for a short break then continued to Folkstone, we arrive at the
bottom of the Ebb to find mud and sand in the Harbour so we tossed the anchor
out and tied a land line ashore and left Spirit Dancer for the rest of the day,
she is a marvellous canoe with a great history.
MCA coastguard called me and asked our crew if we would like to visit
Dover Coastguard and have a tour around the facility, Derek and Mervin came
and picked us up and took us to their headquarters, what a great reception we
had. Absolutely incredible, fine fine hosts, Frank the Watch manager provided
Barbara and I with a gift from HM
Service a plaque of honour. What a treasure.
We gave them a gift of a beautiful Red Cedar paddle that Stewart Nahanee made
from the Stanley Park wood and also a small paddle for all staff, in addition
to this I personally provided a number of pictures from the BC Coast and Canada's
High Arctic. A super day all round we hope to be in Folkstone tomorrow to have
a look at Spirit Dancer and to ensure she's fine.
Just a message to all that we hope to make it to Hythe tomorrow May 14th
where BCIT will depart back to Canada, our new crew comes in May 17th so hopefully
I will have a British Crew help me for the next few days. we shall see. Regards
Ramsgate to Kingsdown (Google
Another good weather day and set off for Deal about 9:00 am with
a volunteer Andy who wanted to join our crew, a television camera person met
us at the harbour and did an interview with me Mike Pett with TV Meridian news.
Hopefully something came up on the Tele in the last day or so to keep people
aware of our journey.
It took us an hour to do the 6 NMiles with a following sea and favourable
tide, we went ashore with many people very interested in our journey around the
coastline, Jeff another person who expressed interest immediately excepted my
invitation to join us for a short 2 mile sprint to Kingsdown he loved the opportunity
to be a small part of the experience. It is great that the locals come with us,
this is what it is really about, sharing the experience.
The group went out for dinner to the local pub and we are camping here at Kingsdown
for 3 nights.
Alls well and another fine day, we are very lucky with weather this past week.
Best wishes to all who have been part of this amazing journey. It leaves me breathless
The BC Coast is easy to plan and logistics certainly easier, here we are challenged
in every way.
The coast here between London and Whitstable has been challenging for us as we
have had to deal with shallow water and tides not working in our favour IE: Ebb
Tides have started in the very early mornings and then Flood by early afternoon.
Yesterday we were up to position Spirit Dancer for the top end of the Flood tide
and then depart by 7:00 am, therefore I was up at 3:00 am to ensure of an early
departure, we made very good time on the Ebb to Minnis Bay about 6 NMiles in
1hr 30 minutes. We met a great fellow Dougal running his Beach side cafe,
so we had an hour break with him, he dedicated lots of cookies home made by one
of the locals to our group and soft drinks. Great fellow and recognised the great
undertaking we have taken upon ourselves.
We arrived in Margate by Noon then off again to Ramsgate
by 1:00 pm , we are
now on the flood tide and will take 3 hrs to make 6 NMiles, we tackled the headlands
around this very intimidating coastline where one must be very focused
on safety as few areas allow safe approach to beaches and surf. Our crew is doing
marvellously well and we are continually challenged each day.
We are close to the 100 mile mark now and are behind, but to be expected.
Today which is the 10th of May is a day of updates and planning our next move
tomorrow, we are now having the Ebb tide in our favour for 3 to 4 hours and will
hopefully make Deal (Google
map link)in the early afternoon, we constantly check
with Coastguard , and Windguru.cz for up to date forecasts and wind direction,
yesterday we had no wind to speak of but we some very interesting rip tides of
the headlands, 3 in particular.
I will try send photos to the site when I can, also message
to Ron Currie, your
paddle you made for me is superb and is performing very well, good job Ron.
Important news for next crew. Lastly to my next crew coming in, it is certain
we will not make Portsmouth by the 14th May so please get in touch with me on
07503 444 856 for directions to the start of your leg.
Regards to all of you that are following our progress. Chris and Barbara.
Delayed by Force 4 in Herne Bay (Google
map link) will depart May 9 early
catch the ebb tide at 7 am which should get us to Margate (Google
Map link) early afternoon, crew in good spirits, we are looking forward
to getting in our first 100 miles in, for a beginner group of young adults they
are doing very well.
Unfortunate delays based on logistics and getting gear moved and also
accommodation, unfortunately the word is still not out so no real welcomings
yet on the water, the locals are very interested in what we are trying to do,
so I'm certain that things should start to role when the media advises the communities
we are on our way. Day off for crew and planning our next move.
Very good day force 4 15 to 20 knot winds crew did 4 N Miles in two hours against
strong winds and some tide, we are trying to arrive at the top of the flood tides
as we want no issues with managing Spirit dancer on the low end of the tide,
we are dealing with very shallow water as there is very low angle to the terrain
we travel ie Mud and Sand for 100's of meters out to sea.
We have been welcomed by the Herne Bay Sailing Club Mr David Hogben president
of the club, we are right on the sea and overlook the North Sea (Google
will depart on May 8th for Margate which will provide us with close to 100 N
Miles for the first week. We will most likely make Portsmouth by May 14th but
we shall see once we have turned the corner.
Many very interested folk in regards to the canoe and some very interested a
stunned looks like star ship enterprise on another planet.
Best wishes to all who are following our progress and the supporters helping
us with the most challenging logistics I have ever taken on.
BCIT crew paddled Spirit Dancer 15 NMiles to Whitstable in 4 hrs, tides were
helpful here but wind a constant problem but to be expected, it will be interesting
once we head West around the heal of UK, we have been on a day on and day off
most of the time and dealing with constant logistics each day.
We have been hosted by the Sea Scouts of Whitstable
My Neil Austin and they must be commended for there efforts and wonderful hospitality,
they have also helped with moving our gear and equipment as there is far too
A very good day all round and very good team spirits, we are making about
10 to 12 miles per day based on conditions and fitness of the group, a beginner
group doing very well.
Day off for crew, will reduce mileages to 15NMiles per day if possible, we are
somewhat on schedule but that can change very quickly based on the seas and weather,
the past three days have been very good but when on water, Canoe
based in Queenborough overnight and will be paddled into Whitstable (Whitstable
Google map) tomorrow with
the Ebb tide South of Sheppy Island.
Very tough day today from Greenhithe (Google
map link) to Queenborough (Google
map link) 25
miles with headwind all day long stretches of mud bays and no getting ashore,
large seas with unusual tide conditions, one of the locals in Whitstable said
a horrible area to consider paddling, 12 miles of mud flats and very distant
to any community 3 to 4 miles in some cases. not the place to get into trouble
as it is very exposed to the open sea. Crew very tired and a struggle to make
head way but in 8 hrs we made 25 miles without much influence from the tide this
day. Spirit Dancer canoe is marvellous, is now moored at Oueensbourgh.
Barbara's birthday and day off for crew at Greenhithe, crew spent the day
shopping and preparing for the big day's paddle to Whitstable.
BCIT students depart the River Thames on May 1st 2008 with the M25 Bridge and the North Sea in the distance.
Sendoff from Putney at 12:00 am To St Katherene's dock for press
and media very good coverage and great gathering, Royal Marines Lt Col Steve
Richards organised marines and Royal Navy, CBC and Global National there, very
interesting paddling the Thames River with a few challenges for the crew running
with the Ebb tide. Made it to Greenhithe with another great reception, Sea Scouts
30 mile paddle this day under good weather most of the day.