Friday, 28 December 2007

New Update
Had a trip report fom Simon yesterday to say that they had made it as far as a town called Mahanoro (see map). Good paddling conditions are enabling the guys to make better progress and with a good forecast for tomorrow they hope to cover more distance. The surf is running at about four and a half feet and things are looking good. Simon and Phil will be returning to the UK on or around the 10 January, travel logistics mean that if they go too far south they will have trouble getting back to the countries main airport.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Just recieved an update from Phil to say that they had a lay in this morning, when they got up it was very windy so they decided to have the day off and celebrate xmas with a tin of raviolli and Ferrero Rochet (i think thats spelt right).
Xmas Update

Phil called yesterday to say that they had made good progress, with strong following winds surfing them along. They ended the day in a place called Vatomandry, managing a good 35 kilometers in seven hours of paddling.
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Up Date
Had an update from Phil today, there was so much interferance that I couldnt make out what was being said fully. I did understand that they were making good progress with tail winds, he sounded happy so alls well I believe.

Friday, 21 December 2007

The port of Tamatave (Bateau Ivre)

Its great to have made it to Tamatave.  It is the largest port in Madagascar and our last major resupply point for a while.  It also signifies the start of the long sandy straight beach all the way to the south.  We fortunatly have a reasonable forecast to get us started tommorrow.  The past few weekes have taken us to some amazing remote parts of rural Madagascar.  We have stopped in villages where they dont see tourists and dont speak french.  The Coast has been diverse with coral reefs, sandy beaches, crossings and cliffy headlands.  Behind it all has been a constant headwind that has finally decided to turn into a tail wind to help push us on our way.  Lets hope it stays. 
We have been able to update the site with photos due to the kindness of the owner of the resteraunt Le Bateau Ivre.  He has let us keep the kayaks under the resteraunt to save us carrying them into our hotel room in town!  We passed our first bouy today and proberbly our last.  We shopped for the festive period today and bought an extra tin of raviolli and 6 ferrero rochee (excuse spelling).
Thanks to Jeff for his hard work on the updates and to Karel for his excelent forecasts, keep the northerly winds coming.
Happy Christmas Simon and Phil

We have had a few sections of straight sandy beaches but we have alot more to come!!

Finally after 22 days the headwind dramatically finishes

Gutting fish bought from the fishermen

We have had some amazing times getting to know the locals over the past few weeks

Turtle eggs for tea?

A local slashes and burns next to our camp

Phil showing his camera to the local children

Phil getting to grips with the local way to travel

Simon asking for directions out of the reef

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Had an update from Phil today to say that they couldnt get a signal on the Sat phone yesterday but before landing they managed to buy some fresh fish from local fisherman they passed on the way in to land, so supplemented their food supplies with some good fresh protein. They stayed at a place called Foul Ponte last night and left this morning making good progress. They have now made it to an Island I think (signal was breaking up) with a lighthouse on it. The officials there were very official, asking to see their papers, which they took away and checked. When they returned Phil and Simon withdrew their secret weapon for officialdom (the bottle of Brandy they purchased a few days before) and made the officials a little less official. Both Simon and Phil sound very happy and moral seems high. They are making better progress now with the winds easing back a bit.
Just incase you lads read this, I have over the last few days spoken with Louise, Kevin, Roz, David, Helen, Eric and Gill (albeit in cyberspace) and they miss you loads, wish you both good luck, a very merry christmas and a happy new year.
Roz is off in Central America on her own adventurous travels, so anyone who is interested here is a link to her blog she is having a great time to by the sound of things.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Madagascar Surf


Spoke with Simon today, they had another good day on the water, paddling in nearly perfect conditions, they paddled back from Isle St Marie to the mainland, on a heading south west and they managed to cover 40-50 kilometers to a rather indistinct river mouth (this info is mainly for Karel who is plotting their weather for them) which had quite a lot of confused wave action in the mouth of the estuary, they wouldnt have gone close if it hadnt been for some dug out canoes coming out. So they landed, through about 2 metres of surf and set up camp for the night.

Simon and Phil are about to set off on what is probably one of the hardest stretches of coastline they'll have, endless miles of sandy beaches! sounds idyllic unless your a paddler, this means there isnt going to be a great deal of escape when it comes to the surf environment. There's a reason why Madagascar hasnt been done before guys, and this is probably going to be it, fortune favours the brave, if there's two guys who can do it, then its these two.....happy paddling lads, thoughts are with you, from both family and friends.

Monday, 17 December 2007


The lads crossed in perfect conditions to St Marie today, no winds at all which is a blessing as they have managed to rest up, recuperate and replen, they even got a bottle of rum to celebrate xmas with.
The Island is a very popular tourist destination, famous for its whale watching.

Isle St Marie, Madagascar.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Just had a message from Simon to say that they had a very warm and friendly send off from the villages they met yesterday, they are making much better progress, still using the Coral Reefs for protection from the swells, still lots of wildlife and as they landed for lunch today children from a nearby village climbed trees and picked them fruit, which was much appreciated. They are camped on the beach now waiting to paddle across to Isle De St Marie which is almost on route but well worth the slight diversion as it is reknowned for being a beautiful place to visit.
Had a message from Phil to say that they had left Cap D'Est and made it to the Southern point the day before yesterday and were poised to make a fairly large crossing to what the termed 'The Mainland' again. Rising early yesterday morning they set off and made thye crossing in 101/2 hours. They landed in a small and beautiful bay were their was a small village, no one spoke any English or French but they came across a French Missionary who was passing through and spoke with him. All is good with the boys and they say hi.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Madagascar Update
Had an update from Phil yesterday to say that they had departed from Cap Est and were heading off into a fairly remote region, no road contact at all for the next few days, paddling inside and outside of Coral reef. On the outside the seas are quite large, and they have in the main been seeking the protection of the Coral Reef's.
As they went in to land today they came in to the beach just as some locals were launching out in Dug outs, they exchanged boats for a while and had a good laugh with the locals. The area is very beautiful and life is good.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Madagascar Update
Just spoke with Simon on the phone, they are now camped on the most easterly point of the Island, up at 3.45am this morning and getting as many miles in as they can once more, but they are noticing that the winds are gradually easing a little the further south they go, this is normal conditions for this time of year apparantly. The surf isnt particulary big but due to the steepness of the beaches, what swell there is, is creating a nasty shore dump on occassions. They have managed to navigate inside of coral reefs at times which has made their progress quite interesting. They both sound happy, Simon is looking forward to seeing his young sister and they both say hi to their families and friends.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Madagascar Update
Had two updates today, one from Phil which must have come in yesterday and said that they had some more head winds to deal with as well as a bit of a nasty shore dump, they had launched early to avoid the daytime sea breezes and had to land by midday. Then Simon rang this morning to say that once more an early start had been the order for the day, but by midday the winds had not materialised and they had managed a good eight hours of paddling.
Yesterday they made it almost as far as Sambava, so Im expecting them to be there by now if not beyond. Whilst paddling today they paddled across the top of a whole school of Rays, about 15 in total which sounded pretty amazing listening to Simon describe in detail the experience. Once more dumping surf and coral reefs were to be negotiated before landing safely.

Friday, 7 December 2007


Recieved a call from Phil today to say that they were making progress, albeit quite slowly, due to the winds,.
Funnily enough I recieved the call whilst in London with Phils good friend Harry Whelan, who he circumnavigated Gt Britain with a couple of years ago, Phil interestingly enough said

" Jeff if you get a chance give Harry a quick kick in the B---s for me will you"

which i did of course, after all thats what friends are for at the end of the day.

Phil then went on to tell me that their daily routine had now become a daily routine of getting on the water as early as possible to avoid the strong winds, they had just replenished their stores to give them another 7 days of water and 14 days of food, on landing today they met with a lady on the beach who was digging for Turtles eggs. Anyway they are up early and paddling in the wee hours to avoid the strong sea breezes which are causing them problems.
Keep going lads, have a good lead up to the Xmas period, everyone here is thinking of you, stay safe and paddle strong.....

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

An Osborne Update.
While Simon has been away his Dad and Louise have been busy! Congratulations guys!

Simons new sister!!!! 7lb 5oz born 3rd December 2007

Early start

We got up early this morning to get to vohemar to resuply. we had lighter winds and smaller surf but with full kayaks it was a bit of a strain at 4:30 in the morning.  We are now in civilisation and resupplying for the next section.


We had to land in through surf and wait for the winds to drop to make progress.


We left the kayaks near the water and headed to the trees for shelter.

sand Dunes

Our camp spot for last 4 nights.  A little on the barren side! 

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Madagascar Update
Winds are still holding the boys up, they are going to get up early tomorrow morning (4AM) to see if they can get some miles under their belts before the wind picks up again.
They are still camped out in the sand dunes, and have recieved several visits from locals, including local snakes, which are supposed to be quite friendly
(just dont let them hug you Simon)
They need to get to another village fairly soon as their food is getting low, mind you today they cooked lunch for some of the local visitors

Monday, 3 December 2007

Update 3-12-2007
Spoke to Phil yesterday, at present they are pinned down by strong head winds, they have chosen to take a day off to recharge rather than lose energy for little gain, checked on forecast and it looks as if the easterly winds should die away by mid week.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Madagascar Update
Just heard from Simon, they are at present struggling against force 4-5 headwinds, which are also forcast for tomorrow, they are at night camping in massive sand dunes, paddling along an amazing coastline and just trying to make as much progress as they can in the conditions. Paddling along what feels to be a very remote coastline, they are often surprised when they come across small fishing villages, where they get to meet up with friendly locals.
Keep on paddling guys,
'Softly softly catch the monkey'.