Nick Bladen – Part 5 – Bass Strait Kayaking Voyage

Following are some of the obstacles Nick came up against during his voyage. How many of you would have continued in this amazing journey?

From the moment of preparation, the unfolding of the “don’t do it signals” began to appear. I have listed these signals as bullet points as there were so many of them!

  • 6 weeks into our training, one of our stronger paddlers kayak was stolen (he was out as he had nothing to train with or paddle) Team now numbers 6.
  • Most experienced sea kayaker gets assigned to a work project overseas – Team now numbers 5
  • Start date changes – member unable to get leave and consequently our flight costs to the starting point doubles in price
  • Found out we were unable to courier a 7.3 metre kayak by freight or plane, and then had to decide whether someone would drive the 2300 km trip from Brisbane to the start line
  • After advising the Water police of our trip, they denied assistance if we did not prepare a full report of our experience, intentions, route etc
  • Team member gets sick and drops out – Team now 4
  • After attending a training session at Southport Seaway in Queensland, a member shies at the size of the sea past the mouth of the seaway and returns to shore. Commitment has no room for reservations – you either do it or you don’t
  • 30 minutes after launching our kayaks (3 in total, 2 singles and 1 double) on Day 1, the weather takes a turn for the worst with winds up to 96 km an hour. However, we were already committed, and had to push on which resulted in us losing equipment due to rough conditions and our confidence massively deteriorates as a result of this shake-up.
  • We end up sitting on the beach for 7 days due to relentless winds and rain, and because of this delay, we had to walk nearly 100km to replenish our food supplies
  • 2 more members drop out (our main navigator and most experienced paddler) – Team now 2 (myself and Darren who was not overly experienced on water). We then had to make the decision if we also were going to pull out or attempt this crossing with just the two of us
  • We decided to push on, but our first attempt caused irreparable damage to our kayaks which forced us to limp back to the original start with duct tape holding our kayak together and we flew home.
  • Our costs escalated due to us not being able to bring home our equipment with us (flares, stoves, emergency equipment etc) which couldn’t be flown in an aircraft. We then had to replace all this equipment for our second attempt.
  • We had depleted all our annual leave and therefore had to delay our second attempt start
  • The Victorian bush fires occur resulting in the National Park where we had planned to start from had been closed, so we had to find a new start point. This resulted in an extra day of paddling causing greater exposure to weather changes
  • Our lift to our start point and our pick up at the end of travel travelled overseas which left us short of transport and unable to get to the start line or back from the finish.
  • National Parks, Victoria, when we notified them of our trip, denied us permission to camp on any mainland or beaches on islands and threatened us with prosecution and fines if we were caught

Given the definition of failure which I wrote about previously, we were the VERY definition of it. However, much like most rules, they are not absolute and if we were to live our lives with this definition of failure, we would be nothing but that. For this reason I believe failure should be defined as “Giving Up! so by this definition – we did not fail!

Yet, by traditional definition, we fail all the time and time again at various things at various stages of our lives. Ironically our failures are the very reason why we succeed. Keep in mind though, success and failure are personally defined. What is it for you? For me, success is not solely in the attainment of the end (ie reaching Tasmania or cycling across Canada), it was also the uncovering of the lessons and knowledge gained as a result of pursuing that goal.

I can’t believe the amount of obstacles that came up against Nick and Darren. While I’m not suggesting that everyone should cross the Bass Strait in a kayak, it is very interesting the definition Nick gives of failure. This is relatable to any goal or dream we have. How many dreams and goals have you let go of simply by giving up. I am sure you had some great excuses and reasons…….but that dream will never be fulfilled until you make that decision to act!

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10 Responses to Nick Bladen – Part 5 – Bass Strait Kayaking Voyage

  1. Brian says:

    Fantastic blog post! This could aid a lot of people.

  2. Ted says:

    Appreciate you shedding light into this matter. Keep it up

  3. Barbra says:

    I really like this story.

  4. Kelsi says:

    Appreciate you telling this story.

  5. Sana says:

    Heard your site promoted on the radio in Chicago! Good job mate. Your posts are truly great.

  6. Tina says:

    As always very informative and to the point. Thanks – loved this whole story

  7. Elijah says:

    Another great episode in this installment.

  8. Gerald says:

    Inspirational and awe-inspiring posts from Nick. Would like to hear more about his adventures. How about a sequel?

  9. Haruhito says:

    Am liking this story

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