SPOT LLC is proud to announce the winner of its first annual photo contest. The winner is Sean Morley of Fairfax, CA. Morley took the photo with his SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger in view off the west coast of Vancouver Island off Kwakiuta Point, Quatsino Sound on September 26, 2008 and submitted it for the contest in October. Recently, Morley used a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger during a record-breaking circumnavigation of Vancouver Island by sea kayak. In 2004, Morley completed a 4,500-mile circumnavigation of the British Isles. Click "read more" below for the interview.
How long have you been kayaking? I started kayaking over thirty years ago with the Boy Scouts in Cornwall, U.K. I moved to California in 2006 and work as a freelance sales rep in the paddle sports industry.
Why did you purchase a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger? I purchased a SPOT specifically for the Vancouver Island expedition because of the 911 facility. I knew that much of the coastline of Vancouver Island is so remote that there would no VHF radio or cell phone reception and it was unlikely that anyone would see a distress flare.
How do you personally benefit from using the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger? It allowed friends and family to track my progress, which was reassuring for me and them. By placing a link to the SPOT website on my blog folk were able to check on me daily. I was amazed to find out just how many people that I had never met were tracking me. I received loads of offers of support and advice from locals on the island and it made the whole expedition a much more rewarding experience.
Tell us a little bit about this day and location of this photo (Kwakiuta Point, Quatsino Sound, Vancouver Island)... It was the fourth day of the expedition. I had been battered by a storm the previous day and the sea was still quite rough. The weather had improved but I had the most challenging part of the expedition ahead of me – the Brooks Peninsula and Cape Cook, known as the “Cape of Storms”. I stopped briefly at Kwakiuta Point before crossing Brooks Bay and rounding the Cape without a break until I reached the more sheltered southern side of the peninsula. A total of 41 miles for the day.
How did you take such a great photo? I saw this field of foam that looked like snow and couldn’t resist the childish temptation to paddle into the middle of it. The foam is created naturally by waves pounding the kelp and I am sure it would be excellent conditioner for your hair and skin! I took the picture using a Sony Cybershot digital camera in a waterproof housing which I keep handy on the deck of my kayak for just such a moment.
What's the most troublesome situation that you've ever encountered outdoors? I guess I have been fairly lucky in that even after more than 30 years of kayaking I have never been involved in a real emergency. I did get storm bound on the Isle of Rum off the west coast of Scotland for a couple of days during a solo 4,500 mile circumnavigation of the British Isles. With no cell phone reception and no landline on my side of the island it would have been great to have had the Spot Messenger to be able to tell folk that I was “okay”.
Have you used the SPOT share page before? This was the first time I had used the SPOT share page. But it worked really well and I will definitely be using it for future expeditions and recommend it to anyone who wants to share their experience with friends and family.
Any tips for using the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger on the water? Not really. It was so easy to use. Just turn it on, wait a few minutes and press a button. It really is as simple as that.
Where would your dream Kayak trip be? I have always wanted to go to South Georgia and Antarctica. The challenges of weather and ice are significant to a sea kayaker but the scenery and wildlife would more than make up for any hardship. Maybe one day…