Hidden Gems of Lower Thames

We paddled down the Thames countless times, day time or night time, we would go with the tide marvelling at how wide, fast, and exciting the river is. 

This time however, we set to do something different. We joint our friend Ian, who has done this trip before, and relying on his local knowledge we approached the muddy banks of the Thames at low tide with good faith. 

We started by the Diver. We’ve seen him many times before when returning upstream from Gravesend, always handing there, partially submerged in the water or mud. The concrete barges have been here even longer, since 1953, as an extra protection during floods. Amazing structures, once floated, used during WW2. 

We launched and crossed to the other side, the south side. This time we decided to stay very close to the shoreline to explore. We didn’t need to wait for long, as we passed the yacht club in Erith, strange heaps of mud came into view. But of course, it wasn’t mud, it was what the heard about some time ago, the petrified forest, thousands of years old. We could see few tree trunks  and many root balls. We will definitely be back at even lower tide for closer inspection. 

Our next stop was the mouth of the river Darent, tributary to the Thames, we paddled as far as the tidal gate surrounded by walls of shiny mud, supervised by a turnstone (according to Ian). Sadly time was pushing us, and if we wanted to get to our planned destination, we had to turn and continue downstream. 

We wanted to visit Broadness Harbour, a little tidal harbour on the tip of Swanscombe peninsula. I never heard of it, but few times while going past Broadness Point to Gravesend I glimpsed some boats stationed there. The creek leading into the harbour was dry but mud was firm enough to let us land and go on shore. What an amazing place: highest pylons in the UK, Met Office weather station. The wind moving through long grass with ramshackle houseboats and huts behind reminded us of Aleutian Alaska. 

We crossed the Thames here and turned to go upstream with the tide. At Purfleet we briefly peeked into the mouth of river Mar Dyke, but the flood gate threatened to open any time, so we decided to proceed. However we spent some time admiring the remains of the old quay. In the late 18th century this place was used as a natural harbour, and a quay was built to land gunpowder for the magazines in Purfleet.

From here the wind and tide pushed us back past the Coldharbour Lighthouse back to our launching place.


Although the title might be misleading, three zeros were seen just past the Carnsore Point. We left Kilmore Quay to continue our journey around Ireland. We had the most southeasterly point to go past, Carnsore Point. There isn’t much I can say about this only that instead of planned nuclear power stations it had wind turbines on.

The point itself provided some fun seas, and a slushy smelly short stop. We entered St George’s Channel, which connects Irish Sea and Celtic Sea, by now we paddled through both.

Our spirits were high when we discovered that each and single one of us has a zero on their compass. Yes, we can say it now, we started our last leg towards finish. Yet, nothing is straightforward, and with Lindsey’s back to work day (Monday) fast approaching, the weather seems to like to keep us in the unknown in terms of when the finish will be.

The coast settled into a long line of beaches, which some may describe monotone, but I like long unchangeable coastlines as much as I like cliffs, islands, and anything else.

We made stop in Rosslare for ice cream, and tea-coffee, before continuing with another tide later that evening. We are committed to distance once again. Sadly this resulted in beach camping, but at least this stretch made it into another film “Saving Private Ryan” this time.

The following day, apart from surf launching, brought another long stretch of beaches. However this time regularly broken down by views of smaller and bigger villages, a harbour or two, and eventually some mini cliffs.

Done with surf landings and launching, which I like as much as camping on sand, we were heading to Arklow, big harbour.

Big harbours aren’t easy for camping, yet we were lucky, and ended up staying in Arklow Rowing club for two nights while the weather settles down.


We had a lovely weather day off in Ballycotton. The following day the forecast was suggesting an early window before the wind goes to F5 or F6 or F7 depending which forecast we checked. We made the plan of getting up at three in the morning, start to paddle with the first light, then finish early in the day as the wind picks up. We decided to go step by step bay by bay depending on the conditions.

It wasn’t that bad getting up so early, and soon we were paddling, later enjoying the sunrise.

We rounded first headland at Knockadoon Point, and landed for breakfast. I have to report that the best portaloos in Ireland are to be found here. Open, clean, and having not just one roll of paper in the dispenser, but one free standing one, as well as two yet unopened packs of four rolls each. It’s small things that make us happy nowadays as well being important to us.

From then we went towards Ardmore. The sea was calmer than we thought and the wind mild. I never tire of looking at the coastlines, cliffs, beaches, but thought for those, who do, I will not include any landscape pictures for once. Ardmore was great, we managed to get tea and coffee and ice cream.

Then off we went past Mine Head with a stop on the beach past Helwick Head. Here, late in the afternoon the few hours of sleep we had, the early start and the distance started to show up. Luckily, Lindsey could get a bit of quick canine therapy and was good as new to continue.

I don’t like the idea of finishing paddling landing on potentially surfy beaches in areas that are exposed in weather that is unsettled, so we agreed to aim as far as we can, preferably to a harbour just west of Annestown. And definitely I wasn’t going to finish on Bunmahon surf beach. But obviously, sometimes these things just happen, and when the wind finally picked up some 12 hours since we started paddling, and raised the sea to quite a wavy one, we had to get off.


The weather has been favourable to a point that Lindsey would check forecast and almost sight that there isn’t a rest day to be seen. And that is good as we felt we were ready to put some miles in. The weather forecast didn’t always deliver the promised low winds but we enjoyed the occasional headwinds nevertheless. Well, most of us.

Our flight started with crossing from Bolus Head in county Kerry just short distance south of Portmagee to Dursey Island. Long crossing with the possibility being broken off by landing on Scarrif Island. Sadly the swell was lively and we could not make landing on steps apparently carved in cliff by monks long time ago.

We had quick break on the water on the south side of the island and continued towards Dursey. We spent two days in Portmagee as we were waiting for conditions to improve for this crossing. If we had doubts the day before, we were happy with our decision as the calming sea changed significantly the closer to Dursey we got. We surfed into the sound and looked for place to land. We decided to land on mainland side of the sound. With the only Irish cable car over sea water overhead we made to the slipway.

Zoe approached the slipway first, but suddenly started to slide back into the water. I wanted to help her, so approached the slipway, jumped out, and only as I started to slide back into deep water I heard warning of it being very slippery. Zoe had drysuit, I had dry trousers, my cockpit filled by dumping wave, yet I managed to jump back onto the boat before the water reached my waistline. I was floating on top of my boat, Zoe was swimming to the shore, Lindsey landed on steps in almost civilised way. People fishing on the pier had no idea of the evolving drama. Fortunately eventually Zoe reached the non slippery part of slipway, my boat drifted to shore, and Lindsey came to help to recover casualties. After coffee, tea and ice cream from the cable car car park we were ready to launch again and push toward White Ball Head.

We left White Ball Head into a calm sunny morning, ahead of us was a long crossing across Bantry Bay followed by Dunmanus Bay, we decided to go straight for Mizen Head. The sea was flat and we settled into a rhythm which will be broken by sips of water, snacks and occasional closing and opening of drop seats, we had twenty kilometres to do. The views were great, Bear Island, Sheep Head, Mizen Head, lighthouses, sky, occasional yacht, then the dolphins appeared.

Several different pods, coming closer to us, some of them jumping high out of water, some going right under our kayaks. Where crossings go! It was one of the most pleasant ones. Mizen Head came and went, but with nowhere to land we had to continue further choosing Gully Cove as our late lunch stop.

In the end we didn’t make it quite there, and landed in dead seal tiny cove. As the dead body was floating closer to us on the shore, we decided to bring our lunch to early end, and paddle off. Gully Cove looked very inviting, sun, campsite, probably coffee and tea, too. Unfortunately it was a bit too much inshore for our liking, so we decided for another almost twenty kilometres paddle across to Cape Clear.

We were in luck, wind and tide were helping us on the way, Isiah coast passed by changing on the left, the Fastnet lighthouse staying constant on the right. Cape Clear harbour was basking in afternoon sun enjoying late Saturday evening.

The following day we started into headwind and tide, yet eventually it settled behind us and we paddled one of our longest day all the way to Long Strand at Gully Head.

There isn’t much that is worth to report on from this leg, maybe the state of our lunches. We started with one little dry bag. But suddenly Lindsey was pulling dry bags, number of tupperwares and random bits claiming this all was lunch. Lindsey does carry our food. It’s good really!she paddles slower that Zoe and I but if we want to eat, lunch or dinner, it is in our best interest she gets where we get to, and too far behind us.

We landed on a beach, not great, a bit surfy, but closest to our next target the next day. The sign said no camping clearly, fortunately coming from the sea we couldn’t really see it. We went to hide in by the river, yet there happened to be quite a community of random sleepers, some in vans, some of us in tents. We ended up with a bottle of rose.

Surfy beach is a surfy beach and in the morning we put our helmets on hoping it would be only this one time on this trip. We had another long day ahead as far as we could go. Yes, at the moment distance is our main focus. Progress was slowed down by headwind again, and we ended up rounding the magnificent headland of Seven Head and arrived to a beach. As often we didn’t know the name but that it was camping kayakers friendly. Someone was watching us landing, we were worried it was someone on whose land we would need to pitch. To our surprise, later a man called Pat turned up welcoming us on Blind Strand bringing us beers. I think we like it here.

Blind Strand was also an important place as we could meet Chris, who used to paddle with us in London, currently based in a Cork, but suddenly turned into support crew. We happened to be reduced to one tiny gas stove, both petrol MSR and gas one giving up on us. Chris brought us new stove, more gas, and a surprise Swiss Roll. Amazing.

The Old Head of Kinsale was our next target. In our hastiness we only realised it was time to say good bye to Atlantic about five kilometres before it. We read in the guide book that apart of several different tideraces running alternatively on the west and east going tides, it also had some tunnels through. And since we were paddling against tide since early morning we decided we were going through them.

What an experience! Not really sure of the actual distance, but we were surfed through a very narrow darkish space for at least 100 metres, and emerged in Celtic Sea. Wow!

What followed was one long day, the longest by hours spent paddling, almost 13. We seen a lot of coast passing by, stopped in Man of War cove, then crossed Cork Harbour.

The last stretch to Ballycotton was a trying and tiring one. We were pushed by tide and wind, yet, it just felt very very long. Eventually we arrived.

It was hald past nine in the evening, we were hungry, tired, all we wanted was to have food and go to bed. Yet, when expeditioning it’s never straight forward, the boats need to get above the high water line, the tent needs to be pitched, the food needs to be cooked. Important is to keep the spirits high.

Pitching in busy harbours in biggish places is challenging, we were lucky to find a patch of ground to squeeze ourselves on. We already knew we would be here for two nights.

Ballycotton is a former fishing village. Very often our trip is not really about places we see, but people we meet. Towards the end of our weather day Lindsey met Clare, local artist and volunteer at RNLI station. Lindsey bought a lovely picture, and we all ended up having a shower in the art gallery slash hallway slash artist’s home.

One more information to add. Ballycotton has a view of a lighthouse on Ballycotton Island. We saw plenty of lighthouses, but this one is a black one. There are only two black painted lighthouses in Ireland, we passed the other one weeks earlier when rounding the Slyne Head.


We spent great day in Glenarm making the most of the facilities, sights, and hospitality, but with the weather improving, it was time to make a move. As Lindsey summarised it, everyone talks about the West coast as the coast to paddle, but the North coast was definitely impressive. The coastline was formed in a range of environments from arid desert, warm tropical seas, explosive volcanic eruptions, to cold glacial conditions providing interesting structures, variety of colours and material. The tides are quite noticeable here, we no longer could paddle when we pleased, and definitely had to get onto the conveyor belt, since getting it wrong would result in no progress at all. As it was we completely missed Cushendun on our way up, and the last chance of filling our cameras with pictures of one of The Doors from Game of Thrones.

But rounding the Torr Head was as spectacular as any old wood carving, I am sure. The first evening we finished at Ballycastle and spent a surprisingly warm if wet night on the concrete of the harbour.

We were even allowed to use the marina, which was great.

The following day was the day of paddling past the causeway itself. A great rainy day with impressive sights. First that came into view was Dunseverick Castle, then the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, first erected in 1755 leading to a cliff with fisherman cottage. Must say nowadays I would rather paddle underneath it than walking over it.

The coast leading to the causeway was impressive, eventually the basalt columns came into view as well the colourful ants of tourist clambering over the basalt columns.

Of course we had to join them. Not sure if they had to pay or not, we haven’t as we came from sea. There and now a whistle could be heard reprimanding unruly tourists trying to go where they shouldn’t. We had a lovely walk and photograph, only when we turned off the path to return to the boats, did we attract attention of a warden trying to stop us going back to the sea, but eventually we made it back to our boats and continued. We still had the the Lough Foyle to cross.

The following day we wanted to go past Malin Head, and around the whole of Inishowen peninsula. We started early, hugged the coast against the tide until about lunchtime.

Finally the tide turned, and not only us were excited about it, we were soon met by a pod of dolphins swimming past, then coming to join us for a bit. But we were probably a bit slow for their liking, and so when we reached a mini tiderace at one of the corners they performed a triple loop to say bye and sped off.

Malin Head gives name to one of the forecast area, Malin, spectacular headland, and also the most northerly point of Ireland. On its tip called Banba’s Crown stands a tower. We watched it for a while so it was important for find some information about it. It was built by the British Admiralty in 1805 as part of a string of buildings right around the Irish coast to guard against a possible French invasion, it also had radio stations during both world wars.

I did promise Lindsey a cup of tea in the village before the headland, then changed it for after the headland. Sadly both villages with amenities were either away from the conveyor belt, or too much inland, and so no tea until we crossed to Tullah Bay.

I felt responsible that poor Lindsey now spent the whole day not having a cup of proper tea that she now so rarely gets on this trip. Then, as we were landing on the beach, after the last ten kilometres crossing, some of it with quite a strong head wind, an opportunity arises. A camper van just arrived to the same spot we planned to camp on. Two people got out, looked around and went to open the van’s door. I thought, great, the arrived and were going to boil water for their cup of tea. So I asked them whether they could get us some for a very tired paddler. I mistook them for English, who would definitely had a cup of tea on arrival to their camping destination.

They were German, but in the end have risen to the challenge, and when one of them came out with a kettle of boiled water, to put into our cups, which we had to quickly found in our boats, they even produced some milk. Milk with one sugar, was all what was needed to renew energy and pitch tents in rain and wind.

Journey of the Solo Expedition Paddler

So here we were first few miles into our trip around Ireland. We already established that we were heading anti-clockwise, all in the team came to terms with that and the miles started to tick. Our team is formed by three women, an university lecturer, a nurse and a teacher. Similar in age but different in kayaking ability. Zoe and I have been kayaking longer than Lindsey. And so over the first few day Lindsey became our solo expedition paddler. The was helped by the fact that she is the only one of the team, who hasn’t ordered drysuit in mantis colour. That makes her to stand out, and unifies Zoe and myself in our roles.

From the beginning we knew that Lindsey will have to build the stamina and strength to be able to paddle for long hours and at reasonable speed. What we also discovered was that some help with forward stroke was needed. Luckily Lindsey took two coaches with her on the trip, and we were only happy to help.

To be honest, the first few days Lindsey’s journey must have been quite lonely, but she powered through rain or shine. Eventually we could change our roles from coaches to being simply staff.

At some point it almost seemed that we have acquired more members of support crew, we were looking forward to setting up a film crew recruiting a rib, but these were very short lived.

To help the Solo Expedition paddler we called in extra support, which delivered bacon butty and tea to the beach at Portavogee (thank you Barry and Craig).

To help Lindsey further after paddling sessions in camp followed with the coaches summarising the days’ achievements, and discuss strategies for the following day.

The strength of the solo expedition paddler grew day by day, and after powering into the headwind between three Stena ferries across Belfast loch, she has become a full time member of the team. The arrival to Whitehead was heroic, and we were rewarded by the stay in an old Coastguard shed for all.

Together we paddled past the Gobbins and admired the modernisation of the old cliff path. The solo paddler was rewarded for her effort by going outside the Muck Island and bird watching.

This is it, the team is now complete and together again.

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe – Which way shall we go?

So here we were, after a long drive to Holyhead, lots of kit faff, dinner, and exciting boarding of the ferry, we were sitting on the boat looking at tidal planning for our first day on the water.

Obviously we had met prior to the trip and discussed planning, paddling and everything, but that was a while ago, when all of us were still distracted by our usual everyday lives. Finally we all had time to focus on the one thing, the same thing, our trip.

When we agreed to go to Ireland, I always thought of the circumnavigation as being started anti-clockwise. Zoe and Lindsey decided that clockwise was the right direction as most people do it that way, and moreover it apparently makes more sense. Finally we were on the ferry looking at the tides and working out if it would be better for us to start north of Dublin harbour and spent the few hours we would have left for paddling that afternoon to cross it to have it done and dusted, or should we start south of Dublin harbour and paddle for short distance south. As the data and information emerged, it became clear that if we go south that afternoon, the tides would be against us. I saw that as a sign and opportunity.

We arrived to Dublin, where we were met by Dave and Michael, who kindly agreed to come and pick us up to give us and our kayaks lift from the port to the water. They were interested which way we were starting, and were only slightly surprised when we said we did not know yet. So coffee followed. Michael then dropped the bombshell, he had circumnavigated Ireland anti clockwise, and had some good arguments why.

At one thirty on Tuesday afternoon we decided to go anti-clockwise. The next challenge was to leave Howth in the right or rather left direction.


After paddling in the Kechamak Bay my next journey took me to Seward. First, the only reason to come here, was really to visit Christie, daughter-in-law of the captain of Bering Hunter, the tender that brought me to King Cove. It wasn’t his idea, but his son’s Mike, whom I met for all but 30 minutes, when he came to pick me up and drop me off to the ferry in King Cove. Maybe any other time I would not go and visit people I don’t know, but this trip was all about meeting, trusting and spending time with strangers.

The beginning of the trip to Seward was a bit shaky, straightforward journey finished 20 minutes out of Homer, when the coach run out of gas, and the driver called his mum to rescue. Fortunately, time was, what I had plenty on this trip, so it was just a matter of fact of waiting, eventually we reached Seward, and Christie did come and picked me up.

Seward is a small but very important town. It lies on the cruise ships’ route and as it has good links, both road and rail to Anchorage and other important places in Alaska, it gets very busy in the summer. Also unlike other places it kept a little bit of its historical buildings to create interesting enough high street, and calls itself a mural capital of the world.

It is a fishing town in a deep bay surrounded by glaciers. And it has a lot of paddling, too. I could not resist and rented a kayak for a day paddle that took me around Fox Island in the south part of a Resurrection Bay.

First I though that my journey took me to Seward to visit someone with connection to the Bering Sea fishermen of whom I would always think fondly, their work is not easy, their lifestyle hard. But really Seward kind of accomplishes the history tread that goes through my trip.

Alaska belonged to Russia before. Russian hunters and fur traders were discovering the area since 18 century establishing many trade centres along their path, influencing, not always kindly (like any others) the way native people lived. The orthodox religion is very visible on the peninsula, Russian geographic names are everywhere.

But Alaska is not Russian, it had become US state in January 1859. Quite a long time after it’s acquisition on October 18, 1867, it was purchased for 7.2 million dollars, and William Seward was the guy, who negotiated the deal. Why it was sold was up to discussion. In 1725 Vitus Bering started to explore the islands, and an important Russian trading company was established; when the Americans finally started to expand west in early 1800s, the competition started. By purchasing Alaska US gained important access to Pacific, by this time, following Crimean war, Russia might have lost interest in the region, which was expensive to keep control off due to its distance. Maybe Russia was hoping that US will gain more power in the Pacific region against an important rival of both, the British.

So here we go, the journey all makes sense now.

Kachemak Bay with a Greenhorn

Michal and I always marvelled at people going on trips, journeys and expeditions and making it unnecessarily complicated for themselves by bringing equipment that isn’t up to the job. Unsuitable clothing, too thin sleeping bags, tents that do not withstand winds, the list can just go on. Of course, we have had some experiences, when what we had with us turned out not to be as perfect as promised, but usually it could have been sorted just fine.

I have spent five days last week kayaking in the Kechamak Bay just on the other side of Homer. I packed all my expedition stuff, rented a funky red plastic kayak with rudder, and bought a tent, as we only had one on the peninsula, and it was Freya’s. I had a bit of a pause for thought when I saw its name: Greenhorn. Is that a good idea to rely on something called Greenhorn? Perhaps.

Water taxi took me across the bay and dropped me off in Jokolov Bay early in the afternoon, it was sunny and warm and I kind of just floated with the tide until it brought me to Kayak Beach, two hours into my first day I had enough and decided to spend sunny afternoon on the beach.

The campsite here had wooden platforms for tents, and food storage facilities to hide food away from bears.

I unpacked my tent hoping it’s a free standing one for the platform, although it had rings all around. I started to pitch it and the reality was slowly hitting me, the tent isn’t free standing, and what’s more, it didn’t have any guy ropes. I have five nights ahead of me, with a promise of rain for the following three days. The night wasn’t a peaceful night, I allowed myself to get worried of what if, when it would, and so on. The loud noise in the middle of the night sounding like a bear didn’t help. Then while I was packing it in the morning one of the tent pole holding strap ripped out, so now my tent also had a hole in one corner.

I spent most of next day paddling and worrying, looking up to the clouds and imagining the next night. Not really a good frame of mind, but fortunately the surroundings were too beautiful to allow me to keep going on like this all day. I found a place to camp for my second night. My tent was pitched on a landing of wooden stairs leading from the beach to a cabin, with an idea that bears don’t walk on stairs. I stayed on the beach to cook as the tent was too small for anything other that lying down. The rain started and I had to shelter under the bank covered by some thick leaves and branches. It was time to make a plan for the night. The missing strap was replaced by a stone inside, the tent was propped up by dry bags, I put on my water proofs deciding that if the tent gets wet through, and the sleeping bag, I may actually stay dry.

No bears that night, it was calm and quiet despite the rain, and surprisingly comfortable and warm. I woke up in the morning, it was still raining, and I had to make a plan of how to keep everything as dry as possible, especially when packing without a shelter. Waking up in waterproofs proved to be smart idea, I just rolled out and was ready. Again, the branches and leaves helped. It actually went ok, and while I sat there having breakfast wearing my dry suit watching the rain I started to enjoy it. Who cares that my tent is not cut for the game, I am. Going on trips having good equipment is easy, making it work with bad stuff is a skill, or fun.

Tutka Bay was beautiful that morning, sea eagles and otters for company. I paddled all day until Halibut Cove, a very interesting place of many rather eccentric looking houses. However there was nowhere to camp, all private property around here. The last three kilometres crossing was a bit of a hard work into the force five headwind. The day was exciting, and there and now I fondly thought about my little Greenhorn tent. Yeah! I couldn’t wait for the next adventure that will await us during the night.

I landed on The Right Beach, and luckily there were people here. A family of grandparents, parents, an uncle, a teenager, and two little girls. Fantastic, I don’t need to camp alone. Some of them stayed in tent, the rest in a rented yurt. I was offered food, wine, berries. I pitched my tent closer to them as the bear presence was everywhere here. So glad Greenhorn and I weren’t alone.

They all marvelled at the size of it. And were well impressed when just before rolling into it, I put my waterproof pyjama on.

The following day, Sunday, was the forecasted very rainy one. The family was packing to go home, but before they left, they said they hired the yurt for two nights, only using it for one. And offered it to me. So I acquired a yurt for 24 hours, marvellous. I only paddled a little bit that day as it was raining, and windy, the yurt proved great set up for book reading.

Many people come to Kechamak Bay to hike to the various glaciers that are up in the mountains. On Monday I first paddled to Halibut lagoon, where entry is so narrow that it’s only accessible with the right tidal flow. It was early morning all was still but the rain, and the lagoon became a playground for porpoises.

After that, I went to a place called Saddle. It’s a start of a very popular hike, so I figured out there might not be bears on the trail and I can do it by myself without bear spray and all. No bears just their poohs. I reached the Grewingk lake. There were sightings of sow and cubs during the week, but I was lucky to meet few people there. One couple invited me to walk back with them, so I didn’t need to sing and shout all the way back.

I camped on the same beach as before. Pitched my Greenhorn, last time tonight. However, I was hoping for some other people to come here to not be alone. My plan B was, if I had to be alone, and the yurt empty, I would sneak in there. I stayed out on a beach for a while, and when it was finally time to go in, I’ve been inside a yurt for about 30 minutes when I heard him. A black bear was walking around, putting his head to the door, then sniffing by the window. I couldn’t take any photos as I was very close to hiding under the bed. So that’s me done with going outside until the morning.

Last day, and my water taxi pick up was arranged for just after midday about 2 hours paddle away from here. I left early, and spent some time floating around the Gull Rock watching out for puffins.

Nelson Lagoon

Although day to day life seems to go on slowly here in Alaska, some things can change very fast, and for once, I don’t mean the weather. After three full days sitting in the Bearfoot Inn in Cold Bay all our hopes turned to Tuesday. On Tuesday the wind was meant to clam down. Tuesday was also the original day when Freya and I hoped to be paddling. And so Tuesday morning we went again to the airport office to find out whether there would be a plane to Nelson Lagoon. Really, we could phone the office, but since the airport was just across the road from the hotel, we decided to go there personally, same as many times in the past few days. The response was the same as we had several times this week, shrug of shoulders, nodding heads, pained facial expressions. No, it didn’t look like there would be a flight that morning. Back to the room we went, for another session of WiFiying, reading and what have you.

Suddenly there was a commotion in the corridor, Freya burst in and saying that we got the phone call, we were to flight immediately. Such was our excitement that I left my bananas there, in microwave, where I stored them due to lack of space. They would be dearly missed later.

However, we were flying to Nelson Lagoon! When I researched it, I found the following information: “Nelson Lagoon lies in the maritime climate zone. Frequent and erratic weather changes occur, with constant prevailing wind of 20 to 25MPH”. Add the period of strong wind gusts on top, no wonder it took us so low no to get here.

The village is located on a long sand spit with Bering sea on one side, and lagoon waters on the other. I liked the Lagoon when we finally stepped of the plane and were driven to the village. It took a while as the plane has been the first one after few days, and the locals were all waiting for their deliveries.

The place has a real village feel to it despite being fairly new, from the 1960s’, it has been the only Aleut settlement on this side of the peninsula, and in the past was used as Unangan summer fish camp. And one more historical fact from wikipedia: “The lagoon was named in 1882 for Edward William Nelson of the U.S. Signal Corps, an explorer in the Yukon Delta region between 1877 and 1920.” We met local policeman, the settlement only has 35 people living here permanently, but they do have a police man to prevent crime, mainly related to alcohol consumption. Of course my biggest interest was the school building, but it shut in 2012 as no kids live here now.

What I really noticed about the place was a lovely smell of plants, after Cold Bay, it had a real summery feel. Such, that we went for walk despite warning of bear being seen in the area. Fortunately he was seen more on the airport side, probably also picking up his deliveries, so we went the opposite direction.

However most of the day was dedicated to food sorting, boats’ preparation and setting, and kit packing. We decided to take the opportunity of tiny lull in the wind and leave in direction of Port Moller on the other side of the Lagoon. One more thing was great about the place, we had a place to stay, the Bering Inn, a self catering apartment courtesy of Justine.