For those who have been following V.Balaji’s trip along the coast of India might have noticed that he is paddling an Easky 15 by Venture Kayaks (P&H). I recently asked him how he acquired his boat as I don’t know any other paddlers in India.
This is his response:
Yes, it has been in my dream to make an adventurous journey in the sea, after I saw the program of Justine's kayak expedition in the east coast of Russia in National Geographic Channel (if you know her, say my hello).
In 2005, when I went for a mangrove conservation training program, I met Mr. Dominic from International Tree Foundation, UK. After my seminar on coastal conservation he was impressed and we had a few minutes chat - I told him I wish to make a kayak expedition, but i did not know how to ride it, roll it, its cost and I never seen before except in the TV. I was confident that the kayak will surely attract the people here as a tool to talk about the value of protective fragile, coastal ecosystems of tamil nadu (coral reefs, mangroves and sea grasses).
When I was in Germany in July 2006, I spend some time to rent a kayak in an enclosed bay at Baltic Sea and paddled it for a km myself - which was like a child walking first time.
Then, Dominic took a great effort in UK - he made a car rally with his friends from UK to France to collect money, I selected the sea kayak through websites and started to read the kayak lessons through internet.
Dominic (690 UK pounds +300 UK pounds) and I paid nearly 24,000 Indian rupees for Indian customs clearance. October - November 2006 is the training session and December 2006 the expedition start.
I am very grateful to Mr. Dominic and his friends, I have to be responsible to teach the children in the village on marine conservation, and paddle the kayak to next village - as a way to prove it.
Going to a village school today afternoon...