Friday, July 3, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Kevin completed his 3rd lap of Manhattan at 10am this morning. He finished at the North Cove Marina in Battery Park City. Compared to the superyachts crowding the Marina, Kevin was dwarfed in size but his triumph and courage surpassed them all. Kevin paddled to the dock, secured his board, and sprawled out on the dock in exhaustion. He could finally rest after a long hard night of paddling. Both chase boat crews, also exhausted, rested on the dock, Kevin's dreams realized. He could not have done it without their help.

Recapping the past 12 hours:

The first lap was certainly the most difficult for Kevin as he dealt with changing weather conditions and a strong current. He refers to the 2nd and 3rd laps as "the real thing." He chose to listen to his ipod for the later 2 laps keeping in only one ear plug so that he could pay attention if someone from the chase boats needed to speak to him. His choice of music included Tom Petty and Beck. He confided that Lou Reed, "helped me get to Harlem," and "the Grateful Dead helped me down the East River." Kevin often thought of his friends Rex Woods and his son Wayne while completing the circumnavigation. Rex is currently battling cancer. The family are big supporters of Shake-A-Leg Miami. Rex Woods is a premier waterman and the first surfer in New Zealand. While paddling Kevin also thought about his brother Harry, "Harry's the inspiration and his imagination bust through all the limits," he added, "just getting it all done and finding ways to secure funding for Shake-A-Leg Miami."

9:15pm, July 2nd: Kevin starts 2nd lap. He comments, "coming down the back side in Harlem - it was so glassy, it was surreal." The moonlight allowed him to see the course but at one point he shouted to the chase boat, "Eddy, get out of my moon." Kevin is so modest that he kept repeating throughout the journey, "paddling is the easy part and sitting on the chase boat for hours on end is the hard part."

At midnight there appeared to be a considerable accident along the West Side Highway. Three fire trucks lined the scene. The fireman, standing along the river, all bowed to Kevin out of respect and amazement.

2am, Kevin is halfway down the East River when the current is ripping and pushing him backwards. Chuck, Kevin's friend in the chase boat, demands Kevin to get onboard now so that he can adjust Kevin's position because of the tides. Kevin spent 85% of the time paddling against the current or for 18hours. Despite this huge obstacle, Kevin wanted to keep going and complete a 4th lap around. He admits, "I have a paddling problem. I want to go a little further...I am the Forest Gump of paddling."

2:45am, both chase boats receive a call from the US Coast Guard for a status update and to make sure everything is ok.

In addition to listening to music and finding inspiration from his friends and family, Kevin requires fuel to keep going. His sister Cindy Bushnell prepared whole wheat sandwiches, cut in half, with honey peanut butter, and a bananna. Kevin made a special request for this sandwich. He also carried a small Camelback pack with a running supply of water mixed with electrolytes. He may have overdone the electrolytes, along with shot blocks, and next time water may be his preferred choice of drink.

When Kevin finished the 3rd lap he later returned for a short while to his hotel room in Battery Park City. When he met the bell guy in the front lobby, Kevin exclaimed, " I paddled around Manhattan three times and I am shot." The bell guy responded, "you got shot at in Harlem!" Kevin then clarified, "no, I paddled past Harlem three times and I am shot - tired!"

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