By Lee Taylor
My name is Lee Taylor, I am 41, and I am a tree surgeon arborist.
I have been kayaking for about 10 years. Kayaking is a great sport and allows you to touch and feel nature where many people have never been. The coast, outdoors and camping have been a big part of my life and the best way to combine them all is through sea kayaking. Last year 2015 I circumnavigated the UK with a friend.
At a Kayak gathering in the UK, a veteran Iceland circumnavigator, Guðni Páll Viktorsson, who had paddled around Iceland in 2013, suggested I come and Kayak around Iceland. I counted up how much it would cost and in moments the decision was made. Within months I had gathered the funds for the trip, purchased the freeze dried rations from Bewell expedition foods, sourced a 3 piece boat from Rockpool kayaks in the UK, and gathered as much information and equipment I would need.
The plan was put into full motion. On May 15th, I flew to Iceland, and on the 17 I had paddled off in a clockwise direction from Reykjavik.
Paddling by ones self is always a little daunting, but has so many other benefits, including the fact that I can stop and start when and where I want, eat when I feel like, and pretty much be by myself. The hardest bit is getting the weather right. I have been caught out a couple of times and had a bit of a struggle battling the elements. When those moments are over, one realizes what makes it great to be alive, and to apreciate the the amazing sights and feelings of isolation.
So far I have seen a lot of wildlife, from birds, seals, whales and Dolphins. A humpback breaching through the mist must be one of the most memorable sight so far, along with having several whale sightings and numerous dolphin encounters.
Each day has been different, and the range I am now paddling has changed as well. The longest distance I have paddled was just over 100km, trying to catch the good weather, and just to get around the point at Langanes, a notoriously difficult and unpredictable area.
I am now having a break from the kayaking and going sightseeing with my girlfriend. I will be back to complete this challenge in 2 weeks, and will experience some of the hardest parts to come: The wind on the east and the long long beach on the south.
I also entered this challenge to raise funds for clowns without borders, a charity that aims to improve the quality of life for children in crisis and communities living.
For those of you interested in discovering Iceland with paddle, there are various Kayak tour operators in the land of the Vikings, and it's a great way to feel the country with minimal environmental impact.