Sandy Robson, a sea kayaker from Western Australia, who is trying to create a kayaking world record reached Gopalpur coast of Odisha on Sunday afternoon.
She is in India for the third phase of her five year long sea kayaking project that started from Germany in 2011 and would end in Australia. According to her she is retracing the seven year long kayaking journey of Oskar Speck which had been taken up in 1932.
She and her colourful kayak attracted a large crowd at Gopalpur coast. Speaking to The Hindu , she said aim of her journey was to keep alive the spirit of adventure especially among women. From Gopalpur she will make her way to Chilika Lake. From the Indian coast she plans to move out towards the Bangladesh and Myanmar coast to continue her expedition.
When asked about her experiences on the Indian coast, she said it is a coastline where she found large number of fishermen unlike several other coasts of the world. “Most of these fishermen find it astonishing to see a woman all alone in sea in a kayak, a kind of boat which is totally new for them. They take out their mobile phones and film me. Although language remains a barrier I manage to communicate with these Indian fishermen in sea through sign language,” she said. She also hinted some problems she had faced at the hands of some marine fishermen on Indian coast, although she preferred not to comment about it. According to reports, at Visakhapatnam coast she was allegedly attacked by some local fishermen who ran over her kayak with their boats in sea and looted her belongings.
She felt Indian coast had ample scope for promotion of water sport like kayaking, wind surfing snorkelling etc. But she lamented that these sport had not picked up much in India and despite such a long coastline there were people in India, who did not know how to swim.