Recently we received a letter from our friend Alexis, and were immediately inspired to share his story of recovery and a life unleashed. Alexis is pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Read his story below, while we go for a paddle!
Hi Nolin & the TRAK Team,
I am now back from my trip after 4300 kms solo paddling Having received my TRAK last summer I trained on the lakes near my home. After 5 years of illness and 4 fractured vertebrae, I had a job to get back in shape!
I had set myself a first objective: 1000 kms in daily increments of 22kms non-stop. At the beginning of autumn it was done and I even managed to do 30 km from time to time, non-stop too.
This last parameter is very important because if you have to fight against an offshore wind for example, there will be no question of stopping. So I went to Goa on the west coast of India.
I started by going up large rivers, alongside toucans, snakes, and even crocodiles. I then gained confidence and the sea calming down from the monsoon, I was able to go along the coast, see jellyfish, turtles and dolphins. I regularly spent an hour following schools of dolphins who were getting used to my silent presence. I could even recognize some of them by their marks and scars.
A month and a half later and a little over 1000 km on the clock I left for the Gulf of Thailand. The Koh Chang archipelago has 56 islands and islets spread over an area of approximately 100 km x 30 km. In 3 months I visited all the islands and islets and some several times because it is paradise. Maximum daily distance 85kms, average distance 55kms.
I'm trolling and it takes time because you have to haul the lines up to clean them of any algae or trash clinging to the lure. Also on some fishy days I only traveled 35-40 kms. I didn't have a waterproof Go Pro so I only took pictures with my phone, which meant taking it out and putting it in its waterproof bag. So I was not able to photograph on days with big swells or breaking waves. Too bad but hey, those times I was very busy!!!
It is not easy to skim with the TRAK especially when the sea is rough and the boat loaded for the bivouac. However, I am a river guide with 20 years of kayaking, including rodeo... So I trained and I did well: I recovered polystyrene from a beach that I wrapped in an old vest. This time the buoyancy was good but it's still not so easy to get into the boat.
I also fixed a tray with elastic at the very front of the kayak to be able to slide the paddle there. The tray protects the fabric of the boat from the paddle and since it is horizontal it fits perfectly, giving me the freedom to do what I want. I added a long strip of foam along the coaming, making it much more comfortable. The Trak is a good boat and I had a great time surfing a string of waves, large swells and bow waves from the big ships.
I am back in France and I have only one desire: to leave with my TRAK! Now I'm going to Spain and maybe Mallorca. ;)
Have a nice day,
What an incredible journey you're on Alexis! We love to see where you're making waves with you TRAK Kayaks. See the rest of Alexis' photographs!
Keep sending us submissions to share, and questions/concerns to help us continually improve the boat!
Want to read more TRAKings in the Wild?
Thank you for your letter Alexis, happy trails!
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