He had close encounters with orcas, sharks and more dolphins than he could count. He negotiated fierce tidal currents and made his way through offshore wind farms, busy shipping lanes and ports.
After a 141-day adventure, Brendon Prince, a former teacher, is on the verge of becoming the firstfirst person to tour mainland Britain on a stand-up paddle, covering nearly 2,500 miles.
Prince, a father of three, rowed up to 16 hours a day, with the final leg Tuesday a 25 mile trip along the Devon coast to his home in Torquay in relatively benign conditions.
"It 's great," he told The Guardian as he paddled to his final destination on his board, which he nicknamed Scarlet after the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel ("They're looking for him here, they're looking for him there"). “There have been some tough times where I've felt exhausted or fearful in the face of a big swell or giant waves, but it's all about understanding the fear, channeling it and moving on.
Prince began his journey at the end of April when, on his own terms, he left Torquay - then movedis directed clockwise around Great Britain. He estimates that he has immersed his paddle in the water 8m times.
Everything has been done in a spirit of adventure but also to raise awareness about water safety. Prince was an off-duty lifeguard when he took part in an attempt to rescue a group of vacationers who got into trouble in the water at Mawgan Porth, in northern Cornwall . Three of the visitors drowned.
From t That day he made it his mission to teach drowning prevention, basing charity Above the water . The money collected during his circumnavigation will be used to develop ahe water safety app for schools.
He said: "The most important part of this whole adventure is spreading the important water safety message and drowning prevention. If a single child had stayed safe near the water after hearing about their feat, it would have been worth it, he explained.
Prince said the north was the coldest, the east the windiest, the south the more 'gnarly' (which he defined as a state that leaves you between feeling unwell and feeling unsafe. ), while the west was the wildest.
He saw the irony of doing something dangerous at sea to promote water safety. "There is a balancing act. You are doing something that has never been done before because it is dangerous and difficult. You need to have that level of experience to understand risk. He isstayed out of the water for 22 of the 141 days because he felt conditions were unsafe.
His contacts with marine life were a highlight. A 2.4 meter long porbeagle shark sailed close to its board just off the Mull of Kintyre in southwestern Scotland. Then he saw orcas three times a day. "I fell the first time I saw one and it slipped - massive, majestic. Later one appeared in front of me. I turned around and there were two behind me. I felt like I was being chased, but when they realized I was no food, they kept going. "
He saw dolphins for 60 consecutive days and never got used to the Northern Gannets diving in water just inches from his board. " It made me jump every time "he said.
Prince paddled without supportboat and the longest distance traveled in a single day was 47 miles. The shortest, when the weather was particularly bad, was just over a mile.
Prince said paddling in environments created by man turned out to be more delicate than in natural environments. "Nature is easier to predict than humans, " he said.
As long as his record attempts are ratified, he will be crowned the first person to circle mainland Britain on a stand-up paddleboard - and will win the world record for the longest trip ever on such a craft.
As he approached dry land, he looked forward to a hot shower, a cup of tea, his own bed - and to see his family. "In the end, it's always about loved ones.