The 20 Q's
The 20 Q's
We've loved hearing your interest about the expedition. To feed your hunger we've put together 20 of your most common questions. Enjoy!
1. Is the expedition supported by a support boat?
George: 'Nope, although it would be incredibly reassuring having a boat along side us for anything that goes wrong, I personally think it would completely defeat the months of planning that have gone into the trip. We've taken the responsibility of our safety and that's just one element of the challenge!
The sea is also a part of nature that makes you feel incredibly small. Although it can be bloody terrifying and it's incredibly important to respect it, it's a real thrill to be so cut off from the madness of our daily lives!'
Will: 'No safety boat, no support boat.. madness eh? We will be fully equipped with everything we need to look after ourselves, including appropriate safety kit in case a bad thing happens. A huge part of the challenge is being self-reliant and being able to deal with any event on our own. That said, we will be stopping off on land most nights and passing small villages / towns / and marinas for repairs and supplies. We will also have a tracker and communications with our support in the UK so will not be completely cut off from the world!'
2. How long do you think it will take?
George: 'Más o menos 3 months. We don't want to put a set end date.
We plan to finish before Christmas but if we don't then Santa will have to find our kayak bobbing around in the sea to deliver any goodies.'
Will: 'We will be going as quick as we can - 2000 miles is a considerable distance and at times we will be at the mercy of the weather and sea conditions. We would rather delay big crossings than take unnecessary risks to reach the end by a certain time. George has booked a flight home for the 21st December... I haven't risked it!'
3. What do you plan to eat?
George: 'Good question. Your average Jack or Bob needs to consume about 2,500 kcals a day. We'll need about 5000. Otherwise we'll end up like this.
We've been kindly sponsored by Adventure Nutrition who have offered us a substantial discount on their variety of dry and wet meals for the expedition. Huge thanks to them.'
Will: 'We will be working off a selection of dehydrated meals from Adventure Nutrition and fresh food bought locally throughout the expedition. We will look to resupply every 4 or 5 days to keep ourselves going. The biggest challenge will be eating lunch on the kayak!...'
4. How many hours a day will you paddle? What will be the longest crossing?
George: 'On average we'll be paddling for 8 hours a day. It'll mean very early starts so that we can reach land before the darkness descends'
'It's no fun to try and land a sea kayak in big surf when it's dark'.
5. Talk us through the boat
George: 'Our fabulous Seaward Passat G3. 22 feet long, constructed out of fiberglass and reinforced with Kevlar (yes the stuff they make bullet proof vests with)
We hope she'll provide some stability when the big waves come in and is also agile enough to quickly eat up big miles'
Will: 'The kayak is currently on a big ship somewhere between Canada and Grenada.. hopefully it will arrive for us to start on time! We will post a video tour of our super craft as soon as we can when we're out there!'
6. What's your biggest fear?
George: 'Urgh. Probably sharks. Or actually maybe a storm.
Dark in a city like London and dark in the middle of the ocean is obviously a completely different story. There is 0 artificial light in the middle of the ocean.
The idea of a shark having a nibble in complete darkness or a huge storm nestling in is not my idea of fun.
Will kindly explained waves to me when we had a little chat down the pub. (Obviously over a glass of water). When you're told potential for 10 - 15ft swell, I thought phfff that's alright. He then told me to sit down against a wall and reminded me I was 6ft tall. I encourage you all to sit down against a wall somewhere (maybe not public) and imagine over double your 6ft friend stood over you. Not that fun is it, especially not being able to see the horizon.'
Will: 'Two things - firstly getting delayed by bad weather, and secondly the heat..
We have put considerable thought into assessing the risks of the expedition, eliminating or reducing them where possible and developing contingencies for most eventualities. However, some things are out of our control and the weather is one of them. It is more than possible we might get stuck for a couple of weeks for conditions to be suitable enough for us to kayak - waiting around would drive us crazy and eat into our limited funds we have to last us the expedition.
I believe the heat is the biggest threat to the expedition. Spending 12 hours working hard in the relentless sun, amplified by its reflection off the water, will make this hugely challenging. The risk of heat exhaustion, sunburn and dehydration cannot be underestimated and will create big problems for us if we get it wrong. That said, we are fully focused on this and have the right protection in place to succeed if we are careful enough.'
7. What are you most looking forward to post expedition?
George: 'Ah probably a beer. I gave up alcohol in July so by the time we finish it will be about 6 months. In other words, watch out for me at New Years'
Will: 'No more fvcking emails... the amount of work over the past few months has been incredible and the email flow relentless. I will be slightly relieved when it all quietens down a little!'
8. Who wears the trousers in the boat?
George: 'Umm probably Will. It's a running joke amongst my friends that he does all the organising whilst I twiddle my thumbs. I can assure you this isn't the case ….
I'm sure we'll have some tough decisions along the way in the boat so it'll be interesting to see what happens'.
Will: 'No comment.'
9. Its clearly a pretty big challenge to attempt, being the first British people would be an incredible feat. How do your parents feel?
George: 'No comment'
Will: 'Undoubtedly nervous and would probably rather we had taken up ballet or something but I know they are supporting us all the way and hopefully they are convinced by our preparations.'
10. What will motivate you at 1am when you've been paddling for 12 hours, can't see your paddle in front of you it's so dark and you have another 24 hours to go?
George: 'Fortunately I've always found it relatively easy to motivate myself. Friends and family of course but the charity will also play a huge part.
I genuinely believe we have a huge problem forming in our society. Having spent the last 6 weeks in Mexico it has simply reassured me that it's not only a problem in the UK but all over the world.
I had a really interesting chat with a work colleague in Mexico. He told me that more and more of the younger generations simply aren't getting into the outdoors enough. Whether they don't have the opportunity or they'd rather sit inside and play PlayStation. He thinks it's a huge issue responsible for a whole host of problems.
I believe that it's in everyone's human nature to get outside, explore, push their limits and enjoy nature. It not only has a huge range of physical and metal benefits but it's a great way to develop people's character, learn to interact in teams and have those exciting experiences.
What are you going to chat with your grandkids about? The time you beat your mate on Fifa or the time you took a road trip around Scotland and got lost climbing a mountain?'
Will: 'Good question - if you want to help motivate me, sponsor us here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving/team/goldenarcexpedition
11. Just over a month to go. How are the nerves ? Scale of 1/10?
George: 'Probably a 5/6. We've worked seriously hard and it's completely taken over our lives for the past 6 months or so. I think it's getting close to the stage where the organising is done and we're just excited to get going'.
Will: 'It changes every day.. whenever we discover a problem or have a set back it shoots up to about 10/10, but usually we have fixed it the next day when it returns to a solid 5. I think (hope) the nerves will disappear when we are in Grenada with the kayak and all our kit and a good weather forecast!'
12. Let's talk wind, weather and hurricanes. There's two tropical storms brewing in the Atlantic and many more to come. Meteorologists have said this could be an extremely active hurricane season. What's the approach?
George: 'Weather is without a doubt our biggest problem. We're really fortunate to have Karel from Kayak Weather supporting our trip with extremely frequent weather updates but there's just nothing we can do about the weather. If a storm forms while we're out there then we could be delayed for long periods of time.
It's just going to have to be a waiting game and I'm sure our patience will be tested along the way. That's just part of the trip and we're not willing to take unnecessary risks to head out in a storm. It's a waiting game'.
Will: 'Squalls will be an unpleasant inconvenience for us - they can appear out of nowhere and bring heavy rain and strong wing - it's just a matter of riding them out. Fortunately the big storms are not as much of a concern as we will have a good warning and will find somewhere to batten down the hatches on land until it passes.'
13. What safety measures are in place?
George: 'Ah where to do we start. The boys toys. Well we've got some great VHF radios, the survivtec group have helped us out with two Personal Locator Beacons which I personally won't let out my sight, we will be carrying a DeLorme Explorer that lets you track our movements on the Internet and then we have our buoyancy aids, flares, whistles, reflective mirrors etc etc
I must also mention Sharkbanz who have supplied us with two fantastic banz. No nibbling shall be occurring (hopefully)'
14. How has the support been so far?
George: 'From corporate sponsors to kayaking companies to friends and family it's been incredible how much support we've received so far. Anyone with any connections has been offering help left right and centre and we're very grateful for all the help!
Obviously we've just launched our fundraising page and thank you to anyone who has donate already. We're keen to keep that flowing'.
Will: 'Apart from the optimistic few who have said we are mad and it's an impossible trip, the support has been fantastic. In particular the really generous support from various companies who have supplied us with kit or discounts. Please check out our sponsors page here and follow the links to their websites.'
15. When is D-day?
George: '25th of September. Watch this space'
16. What island are you most looking forward to?
George: 'Hmm. If I'm honest I'd happily go on holiday to all of them! I'm sure they'll all display their dark side with hidden currents or unexpected reefs but for now they look great!'
Will: 'There's so many to choose from - the Caribbean is made up of over 7000 islands! Here's a list of where we will be passing through (Some parts will depend on the final route selected, which is dependent on the conditions at the time):'
17. In terms of organisation, is this a pre planned event for you by a company?
George: 'Nada. Absolutely everything has been organised by Will.
From bringing in corporate sponsorship to buying sun cream it's all been us. Luckily we've had great advice from some very experienced people.'
Will: 'We have organised everything ourselves, which makes the expedition all the more rewarding. George has in fact been brilliant... I don't know where the rumour of his lack of contribution came from... perhaps his spending the past six weeks on a jolly in Mexico...'
18. The longer crossings, presumably you will sleep during the 36 hours?
George: 'Again no. We simply can't afford to stop and rest as the current will drift us too far off target. The longer crossings will be fuelled by adrenaline and energy supplements.
It's going to be really important that we stay switched on and focused. It only takes a second for something to go wrong and we're both very aware of that. We've heard some amusing stories about hallucinations when paddling in the dark for such extended periods of time. We'll keep you updated how we deal with it!'
Will: 'Sometimes you just have to knuckle down and get on with it...'
19. How do we know where you are and if you are sinking?
George: 'We have a fantastic tracking device that'll update regularly and you'll be able to see us plodding along.
We'll release the link closer to take off.'
Will: 'Sinking? Well that's a vote of confidence! You can track us as George mentioned and we'll be updating all our social media regularly.. like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for all the updates! (You can also send us messages of support as we go!...)'
20. You're both now founding directors of you charity, congratulations. What's the motivation behind the Get Exploring trust? Where can I donate?
George: 'Indeed we are, thank you. I've probably said all I want to say about the charity for now in my previous answer about motivation. It's extremely important to us though'.
Will: 'You can find out all the details about GET here. We will be launching the charity properly after the expedition with the first grants going out to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in time for next Summer. We really appreciate all your generous support and are grateful for your kind donations. Don't stop at donating yourself, please pass our link onto friends, family, grandparents, uncles etc. who would like to support our charity: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/goldenarcexpedition.'