Kayaking to Save the Albatross


In January 2009 Hayley Shephard, a kiwi now residing on the West Coast of Canada, will be attempting the very first solo sea kayak circumnavigation of South Georgia Island in efforts to help save the Albatross.

Behind the scenes of soaring Albatross is the insidiously slow, almost invisible loss of lives, thinning out breeding colonies, emptying skies and threatening the very existence of 19 out of 20 species of Albatross. This decline in numbers is linked to illegal fishing and poor techniques in the long-line fishing industry. The sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia is known for its rugged beauty and abundant wildlife. It is also the home for a number of Albatross species.

“As hostile, as dangerous, and as foreboding as it feels, South Georgia’s charm, it’s dramatic and ruggedly stunning beauty, has a power that I will be forever drawn to. And I shall not rest until I have seen the intimacy of it all,” Hayley Shephard says.

Shephard anticipates the expedition will take 3-5 weeks, but she is prepared for a longer expedition and expects storms. The circumnavigation of South Georgia is approximately a 490 nautical mile journey, and there will be days where Hayley will spend at least 12-14 hours in her kayak utilizing good weather windows.

Hayley spent the last seven years kayak guiding, and leading expeditions in the Arctic, Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands. This experience has fueled her passion for these polar regions and her desire to care for the wildlife. In 1999, she was the first woman to solo sea kayak the 1200km circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, followed by another epic adventure in 2005 when she was the first woman to sea kayak alone around the rugged and exposed coast of the sacred Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands).

For more details in Hayley Shephard, the South Georgia Expedition and Saving the Albatross, please visit www.kayakingtosavealbatross.com and www.kokatat.com/expeditions.asp