British Kayakers Arrive in Unalaska

Monday, June 16 2014

Sarah Outen sits in her kayak in Unalaska Bay on June 15, 2014. (Pipa Escalante/KUCB]

A British kayak team that’s paddling the Aleutian Islands reached Unalaska Sunday night. KUCB’s Annie Ropeik was part of a group that kayaked out to greet them.

Since they set out from Adak in May, Sarah Outen and her kayaking partner Justine Curgenven have had plenty of warm welcomes in Aleutian villages. But --

Outen: "No one’s ever been out to kayak to meet us. You guys top it, in that respect."

A group of Unalaskans in kayaks met up with the adventurers in Unalaska Bay. The pair’s last village stopover was in Nikolski, more than a week ago. Since then, they’ve been rowing and camping their way east on their own.

Curgenven: It’s been eight days from Nikolski, which is quicker than we --
Outen: Which day is it today?
Curgenven: This is day eight.
Outen: Is it Sunday? We left -- yeah, last Sunday.
Curgenven: Yeah, so that was quicker than we expected. But we were lucky with the weather, so we haven’t had a day off. Normally, we’d expect to have a few days off because of the weather.

And they were greeted by more than just people on their way in toward Unalaska.

Curgenven: When we came around the corner to see the bay, it was just flat calm, the sun was out, the mountains were all beautiful -- it was amazing. And then Sarah was like, "There’s a whale!" And we watched two whales -- she saw it breach. I missed it, but... yeah.
Outen: And then we had sea lions kind of escort us in for a bit as well. They were braver than the ones we’ve met out further on, so that was fun.

The team was tired and hungry. But dry land, showers and beds were just a few minutes away -- meaning Outen had time to stand up in her boat and snap a selfie of the whole group:

Outen: Now I’m gonna try and get in it...
Curgenven: Whoops! Oh, dear.
Outen: So if I do this… Yeah!! (laughing) Oh, excellent.

Sarah Outen's selfie in Unalaska Bay.

Clockwise from left: Sarah Outen and her kayaking partner Justine Curgenven, with Unalaskans Jeff Hancock, Josh Good, Keils Kitchen, Pipa Escalante, Melissa Good and Annie Ropeik in kayaks on Unalaska Bay. /Courtesy: Sarah Outen via Twitter

Outen is rowing and biking her way all around the world. She and Curgenven will rest in Unalaska for a few days before continuing on their way toward Homer. From there, Outen will bike across Canada, aiming to reach Nova Scotia by next March.

Outen and Curgenven will speak at the Unalaska Public Library Tuesday at 7 p.m. And you can track all of Outen's progress at

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