Channel Islands Crossing: Day One – Provisions & Planning
Posted Feb 06, 2012 in Blog
“Just below California’s Point Conception eight mountains rise from some of the deepest seas in the Pacific, forming the Channel Islands. Currents tear at the island’s shores. Local fishermen warn of prehistoric eating machines. Cyclone winds and monster waves travel the earth’s surface ending their journey on the desolate, rocky beaches of these islands. This Winter, alone with only whales, dolphins, seals and great white sharks to join her, Karen Wrenn navigated 150 nautical miles, over 5 days, becoming the first standup paddler to successfully cross all seven channels.”
Sunday, February 6, 2011
I am on the airplane headed for Long Beach, California. I am about to embark on an adventure and challenge of a lifetime. I am excited and nervous. In my head… questioning how quickly I said “yes” to this adventure. Perhaps my simple answer of “why wouldn’t I?” When people have asked “why?” is beginning to play on my mind. I am about to paddle 150 miles in a known great white shark territory in the middle of Winter. I am thinking about my kids.
I read a few comments that people posted on some of the press releases and one of the comments I can’t get out of my mind. It says, “this girl is either very gutsy or has a complete lack of sense, have you ever seen “Shark Week” where Great White Sharks fly out of the water and chomp down on what looks like a surfboard being drug behind a boat?”
I am not nervous about my ability to paddle the distance. I will be paddling the mileage in 5 days. I will complete a crossing a day and one day I will be completing three of the shorter crossings. Seven crossings total. I am nervous about all of the variables involved. I can’t control the weather, sharks, health of my crew, the functioning of the boat, etc… I am humbled by the fact that the crew has taken time out of their busy lives to come along on this journey with me. I am pretty sure I will complete the crossings, but how will I feel if I don’t?
The Captain of the airplane just came on the intercom to tell us that due to fog we will not be able to land for awhile and we will need to circle until we get clearance. We are now circling the Channel Islands. I am fixated out the window looking at where I will be paddling. We circle for about thirty minutes. I have never been so happy to be delayed.
After we land, Chris Wyman the Sports Marketing Director for Kaenon and Captain of the Metaphor, my escort boat, picks us up. We drive to where the Metaphor is moored in Long Beach. I am familiar with the Captain of the boat, because not only is Chris a friend and Kaenon a sponsor, he has also been my Captain for a solo crossing I did the year before from Catalina Island to Dana Point, 39.8 miles.
We head down to the boat and have a meeting about the weather report. Our order of crossings would be determined on weather. Once we start the crossings we will have to stay in that order. The weather report is constantly changing.
It is Super Bowl Sunday. We are busy loading the boat and I have some interviews on the phone and on the dock with different News channels and magazines. While most people are drinking beers, eating chicken wings and scrreaming at their televisions… we are loading up the Metaphor for a big adventure. There is no place I would rather be.
We go to Trader Joes to stock up on food for the trip. Chris tells us anything that we think we want… we should triple it. We end up with 5 carts of food and a $700 bill. The cashier cannot believe the amount of groceries we have and is very curious as to what we are up to. When we finally tell him, he is pretty amazed. I think people either think it is really cool and courageous or I am a complete idiot.
We head back to to the boat and unload everything and Chris drops us off at Shelly Strazis’s house. Shelly is an amazing photographer and I am honored that she has agreed to come along. We are staying at Shelly and Gill’s house tonight. Shelly has made us an amazing dinner and we sit around the dinner table and talk about the journey ahead. I know I need to get a good nights sleep but nerves have me tossing and turning.
THE CROSSING: VIDEO