Circumnavigators clarify on Paddle Sri Lanka Expedition
Tuesday, 7 January 2014 00:28
In response to media reports that two Australians were saved off the coast of Chalai on Sunday following the strike of tropical storm “One” in northern province, the two circumnavigators Ian Pexton and David Rowlands who were on a Paddle Sri Lanka Expedition issued the following statement yesterday:
The events that led to the our final decision to end our circumnavigation of the island of Sri Lanka by sea kayak were not made due to us being in a situation where we required rescuing and the decision was based on reliable and up to date meteorological information that we received whilst on shore.
The main reason for ending the expedition is the lack of time available to us due to our work and family commitments at home.
At no stage did we place ourselves in a position that we required assistance from the Sri Lankan Army or Navy to ensure our safety. On 4 January we packed up and left from our beach camp near the town of Nagar Kovil (approximately 30 kilometres south of Point Pedro) after spending the evening talking to the Navy and Army.
We had received weather up date from our meteorologist and considered the ocean conditions well within our safety limits. We continued another 40 kilometres down the coast before deciding to land for lunch on the beach. The ocean and surf posed no problems landing and after having lunch and a rest we attempted to launch through the increasing surf without any success.
We then made the decision to make camp and obtain a up to date weather forecast that informed us that there was a tropical storm in our area and the ocean would not be safe to paddle for another four days so we decided to spend the night on the beach and reassess the situation in the morning. The morning of 5 January brought no change to the ocean conditions or forecast and with this information we decided that we did not want to spend four days on the beach.
It must be made clear that we were carrying enough water and food for 10 days as well as a full wilderness first aid kit and at no time were we under any sort of danger or depravation.
In the morning we walked to the nearby Army base to seek their assistance in obtaining a vehicle to move us and our kayaks to a nearby town to enable us to make our way to Kandy and then Colombo. The Army camp commander made contact with a local truck owner and after a quick lunch with the area commander we were on our way to Kandy were we arrived six hours later safe and sound.
We would like to take this opportunity in thanking the Sri Lankan Navy and Army for all their assistance during our expedition.