Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Photographer, Writer and Paddle-boarder Susan Chaplin Paddles to St.Eustatius

Photographer, Writer, and Paddle-boarder, Ms Susan Chaplin left Sandy Point St.Kitts on Monday morning October 5th, 2009 at 10:00 a.m., paddling her way through the channel of St. Kitts and Statia with her incredible, uncommon and unusual mode of transportation on her paddle board. Susan slowly and gracefully entered the harbour of St.Eustatius and arrived on Monday October 5th, precisely at 12:45 after two hours and forty five minutes with her escort vessel "Celica Blue" under the captaincy of Mr Samuel Lake and crew. Her son Eli also accompanied her on the escort vessel. Ms Susan Chaplin was met at the harbour by the Second Acting Lt. Governor, Mr. Louis Brown, Commissioner of Education, Culture and Sports, Mr. Roy Hooker, and Director of Tourism, Lady Alida Francis and Staff with a lovely bouquet of local flowers. Representatives of St.Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA) was also present. After speaking with the Government Officials, Susan had a short interview with the Government Information Service (G.I.S.) and the press and retired after her 8 mile paddle in the comfort of the Golden Era Hotel. Susan is originally from San Diego California and moved to the British Virgin Islands in 1994. She now lives full time on the island of Tortola. Ms Chaplin said she began paddling 18 years ago, and used to race in raft races in California over distances of 32 miles and also in the Hawaiian islands. Chaplin owns three paddle boards, and two surf boards, a bicycle, a computer and a camera. Susan's paddle board is fourteen feet long. Ms Chaplin likes to cross inter island channels and connect islands in the Caribbean island chain. Susan crossed the open ocean miles between St.Vincent and Grenada. In 2000, she connected the major islands in the Turks and Caicus, in 2000, she paddled one hundred fifty miles from Great Exuma to Nassau in the Bahamas. In 2001, she paddled from Ragged Island to Nuevitas Rock, ninety three miles through the remote, uninhabited Jumentos islands, which are sixty miles north of Cuba and south most in the Bahamas. Between 2002 and 2004, she was first to cross the four over twenty mile channels between Guadeloupe and St.Vincent. Most recently, she is first to paddle sixty miles from Tortola to Puerto Rico. Paddling in the Caribbean, Chaplin says, is not about setting records. The fun and challenge for a paddler in the Caribbean is in exploring West Indian islands. Island culture is different on each island. Chaplin says, West Indians are laid back but survival oriented.
Chaplin is a photographer and writer. Her writing and photos appear in sports publications like The Surfer's Journal, The Surfer's Path and Swim Magazine. Chaplin writes for West Indian Nautical Publications like the Caribbean Compass. Ms Chaplin is on her last leg of connecting the islands from St.Vincent and the Grenadines to Saba and at the same time concluding her paddle through the islands. Ms Chaplin expressed the very warm hospitality received and the friendliness of the people on Statia, and decided definitely to return to the island for a quiet and peaceful relaxation. On Tuesday, Susan visited the 6th graders of the Golden Rock Elementary School and was very intriqued after presenting a power point presentation of her paddle boarding experience through the different islands. The children listened with keen attention and posed various interesting questions. Radio Statia, PJF-1 had the privilege of interviewing her with regards to this unusual strange mode of transportation on a paddle board. Susan will be leaving St.Eustatius on her final paddling trip to saba on Thursday October 8th at 6:00 a.m., and is expected to arrive in Saba at aproximately 1:00 p.m. The St.Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation wishes you a very safe and successful paddling to Saba. Thank you for giving the island this unique exposure. Have a safe flight back to Tortola.