We brought in the New Year quietly, drinking eggnog and reminiscing about the last decade. I mentally pledged to eat healthier and call my parents more often and Colin claimed to have made no resolutions, although I have noticed that his office is markedly tidier. The start of New Year is also a time to look at things from a fresh vantage, to wind up old projects and begin new ones. We spent much of 2009 working on Rowed Trip, writing the book, editing the film and then touring across Canada with both. Now our energies are focused on new adventures and ventures.
As many of you know, we’ve been working on creating kits and plans for the rowboats we used in our last journey, and this is where much of our time is focused. It’s been a rigorous process of reconstructing the boat and refining the building process. We’ve been working with Vancouver boat-builder Malcolm Chaddock, digitizing the boat design for his CNC robotic cutter and dissecting the building process to make it as straightforward as possible. Another crucial element is conveying the building process in an easy-to-understand fashion. We’re achieving this by creating a 10,000-word manual with diagrams and photos ensuring that even those without boatbuilding experience will be able to construct this boat. All these details take time, and as a consequence we have pushed the release date for the Expedition Model rowboat kit to late February, although plans and manuals may be available a little sooner
We’re also preparing for our upcoming adventures. This summer Colin will row around Vancouver Island in an attempt to beat the fastest human-powered circumnavigation of the island. The eastern coast sports tidal rips and whirlpools while the treacherous rocky west coast is difficult in the best of conditions.Currently, British kayaker, Sean Morley holds the record for paddling the 1100-km distance in just over 17 days. It’ll be an incredibly difficult time to beat requiring as much luck as determination.A spell of bad weather or a repetitive usage injury could quickly quell any chances of achieving a timely journey.Meanwhile, I’m starting the research for my next book project which is about olive oil and the Middle East.We’ll return to west Asia and follow an ancient olive trading route beginning in the Syrian Desert and ending in the more fertile lands near Aleppo, where my family still grow olives today. It’s a route that will take us past historic ruins and artefacts, through desert oases and into olive fields during harvest season.
Speaking of adventures, we’re pleased to see that Australian, Jessica Watson, a sixteen-year-old sailor we featured a few months ago, is almost halfway through her solo circumnavigation of the world. Check out her website to read her latest blog posting from Cape Horn.
This month we have a few public events in Vancouver, Seattle and Bellingham. In Vancouver, we’ll be part of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival on January 22nd and Maritime Museum Ocean Cruising Adventures Lecture Series on January 29th. We’ll also be speaking at The Mountaineers in Seattle on January 28th and Village Books in Bellingham on January 27th. Please join us if you’d like to hear more about our Scotland to Syria journey or if you’d like to see our rowboat, which will be displayed at all four events. You can also hear our interview on CBC’s North by Northwest online.
Anyway, enough for now – I have to make a call to my mum. We wish you a happy and adventurous 2010.