Kayak Expedition To Greenland To #SaveTheArctic

After my euphoric solo voyage from La To Tijuana, I set my sights on another cause and another destination that’s been close to my heart: The Great North.

What started out as another “one man and his kayak insanity” to Greenland, has now turned into an Arctic summer camp for mid-lifers. Thanks to social media, 12 friends and friends of friends decided to join me on a week long paddle among the fjords of South Greenland. What was once akin to “Into The Wild” has now evolved into “The Bad News Bears Of Greenland” or “City Slickers Of The Ice”.

The team has three doctors, several engineers, two software developers, a woman who doesn’t know how to swim, a guy who’s only seen kayaks on TV before and another who’s generally afraid of water.

The decay of the Arctic, the disappearing ice sheets, the dying polar bear populations and increased human activity have all triggered my desire to kayak in this part of the world. This is the frontline of global climate change and the message needs to be louder and clearer than ever: Save The Arctic.

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Kayaking among icebergs in Greenland

Starting point: Narsaq July 10th
Finish point: Uunartoq Hot Springs July 16th

 

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My “home made” map of the itinerary. Notice how many of the places we’ll be visiting don’t even have official names.

 

Human blood sells better than tuna blood.

Three local journalists came out to the beach to cover the story about tuna overfishing and my beach landing. One of them had to leave before I arrived because someone got shot in the head. Even though 2 and half people get murdered on a normal weekday in Tijuana, he still found a neighborhood bloodshed more appealing than the global plight of tuna.

The remaining journalists were attentively listening to the problems of destructive tuna fishing right in front of the US-Mexico wall. The steel bar fence symbolized that tuna destruction is a global problem where walls and borders are irrelevant. In addition to campaigning for sustainable tuna consumption, I bashed Donald Trump a little, talked about the beauty of Mexico, praised this year’s agave harvest and invited them to have tequila with us. They both said it was better than covering a murder.

Here’s what you can do to Change Your Tuna.

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Mission Accomplished

After spending my last night on a gorgeous, virgin beach in Point Loma overlooking the city of San Diego, I set out for the final push with the morning high tide.

Navy helicopters, cargo ships, submarines and jetski gangs killed my ocean zen. I also couldn’t spot Tijuana properly. What I tought was TJ was in fact still the US. It was a bit of a letdown to paddle 3.5 more kilometers against the current.

Dolphins and seals escorted me on the final stretch.

The Arcoiris Explorer and I landed on the beach in Tijuana at 14:35. Local news, mariachi musicians and TJ friends made up the welcome committee.

Tequila and euphoria are my dominant body chemicals right now. I hope I can gather my thoughts in a day or two and summarize this very special adventure.

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Cargo ship waiting to enter San Diego Bay.

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In front of the US border fence on the beach in Tijuana

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Great welcome in TJ

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Landed in Mexico

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This adventure is over. Ready for a new one

I’ll have what Lance Armstrong’s having

Day seven started out hard off the beach in Encinitas. I was craving some performance enhancing drugs. Then I realized that I already maxed out the family CVS card. Here are my drugs and health aids of choice.
Bandages, ointments, joint pain releif spray, Advil for the daytime, Advil PM for sleeping like a baby in a tent, B12 energy shots when I want to feel like a Russian weightlifter.

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Running from gnarly swell, great white sharks and amphibious military monsters.

Today was probably the toughest day of the trip. Things started perfectly with a picture perfect surfzone launch in San Clemente followed by visiting an adorable group of seals and enjoying my morning ocean zen on the glassy waters. Things got even more fairytale like when I paddled for nearly half an hour with a pod of dolphins.

After San Onofre the waves doubled and tripled in size. I had to go farther away from shore. Around 11 I spotted several 3-4 foot sharks near the Arcoiris Explorer. I couldn’t identify them. They looked sharky. Later on, San Onofre coast guard rescue captain confirmed that they sighted juvenile great whites swimming along my route.

After the shark incident I had to make sure that I wasn’t run over by Navy hovercrafts practicing beach takeoffs and landings. I radioed the US Coast Guard asking them to alert the Navy of my position and my peaceful intentions. 

The waves got bigger and winds gathered strength after 3PM. The boat was thrown around the swells like a rubber ducky around splashing kids. I cruised into Oceanside marina exhausted and beat. In fact I looked so ragged and worn that a fellow mariner on a sailboat offered me a beer.

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Quick update. Day 5.

After a short, but sweet 10 mile paddle from Dana Point the Arcoiris Explorer landed in the sleepy hamlet of San Clemente. Checked into a beach side hotel and looking forward to an afternoon of massages, conversations with humans, healing my wounds and feeling dry.

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Morning on the beach at Dana Point.

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Morning zen.

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Drying on the beach in San Clemente.

Quick update

After a brutally long (24mile, 34km) paddle yesterday, I landed in Newport Beach. My friend, Razvan Sabau picked me and the AIE up. It was strange sleeping in a bed.  I miss my tent, miss the ocean. I don’t miss the chaffing, the blisters and the muscle pain. Yesterday I didn’t lose anything. At least I don’t know it yet.

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Loaded the Arcoiris Explorer into Razvan’s school bus.

First Two Stages Completed

I have the magic touch when it comes to screwing things up. So far the expedition is moving along splendidly except for my waterproof solar charger. I managed to leave one of the two USB doors open on the device and now I’m with electricity. In a day or two the situation will be fixed.

I’m writing this blog entry from Seal Beach exhausted and soar. Tomorrow I hope I’ll be able to upload more photos.

Follow me live before I screw up the tracker too.

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