Chris, who is spending three months on the water for charity told us:
“Passing under Tower Bridge was an amazing experience. It really felt that my dream of paddling from the Isle of Man to Monaco had come true. I was born in Edgeware so it was quite an emotional experience for me to be on the Thames in Central London. I have met so many lovely people on the way, although some stretches of the canals have been quite lonely. I have been touched by the generosity of strangers. Many have offered me donations towards my fundraising or even just words of encouragement to keep me going.”
Apart from realising a lifelong dream, Chris is also raising money for five charities that are all close to his heart. These are Sailing for the Disabled (Isle of Man), Namaste Children’s House (Nepal), Encompass Trust (UK), Outward Bound (Monaco) and the ICM Charitable Trust which rasies money for a range of children’s charities on the Isle of Man. Chris is aiming to raise £50,000.
Chris has also had some tough times and adventures along the way:
“You get a completely diferent perspective of the world from the water, and I will certainly have some stories to tell once it is all over. About 10 days into the trip as I was leaving Ellesemere Port, heading to Chester, a young lad pointed out a dog in the undergrowth beside the canal struggling to get out of the water. The poor thing had been swimming for at least half a mile. It was tired, hurt and very scared. The only thing I could do was gently poke the kayak at him which did eventually get him out of the canal. It meant I lost a couple of hours paddling but at least the dog was safe.”
Chris now rests in London for a day or two then heads on down to Dover to get ready for the channel crossing. The record for crossing the channel by kayak is two hours and 28 minutes, achieved by British Olympian, Paul Wycherely, in 2011. Asked if he thought he would beat that record Chris told us:
“Well, considering I turn 60 in September, and the weather this year is not on my side, I think Paul’s record is not in danger of being broken! I think he can sleep easy! To be honest, I will just be pleased to get across it in one piece, knowing that I have a few weeks of those beautiful tree-lined French canals to look forward to, and hopefully some proper summer sunshine!”
The route will take Chris down the French canals to Marseille, finally arriving in Monaco in time for the Monaco Yacht Show on 19 September where his friends and colleagues will be waiting to celebrate.
To follow Chris’s blog or make an online donation visit: www.mantomonaco.com. ENDS
Notes: Dominion Marine Corporate Services Limited is licensed by the Financial Supervision Commission of the Isle of Man