“What sea kayaking needs is not another expert, not another guide of how to do it, but a guide of why to do it, and what for, and what it means.”
columnist Tim Shuff
Adventure Kayak (2015)
For nearly two decades, Jim Payne has been making long-distance kayak voyages on waterways around the world. Calling himself a “social kayaker,” Payne engages with the people and history of the places he visits. His first book, One Inch above the Water (2008) recounts eight voyages on major U.S. waterways, Discovering England (2011), his second book, details his trip down the River Thames. Now, with the publication of Worlds to Discover, Professor Payne gives fans four more of his humorous, life-affirming kayak adventures.
As with all kayak journeys, Payne shares the challenges of the voyage that strengthen character and reinvigorate life, from facing down aligators to outguessing rapids and quicksand. His stories of impressive survival instincts - and luck, as Payne admits - go far beyond the water and extend into the communities and cultures he meets along the way.
Payne faces plenty of nautical challenges on his expeditions, but his goal is to connect with the people, places and history of the new worlds he encounters. One day he’s running a breeched dam on the Connecticut River, the next he’s communing with poet Emily Dickenson in her home in Amherst, Massachusetts. On Georgia’s Chattahoochee River, he’s caught in a midnight alligator hunt, and sings in a church choir two days later.
He capsizes on Chile’s Bío Bío River, and is taken in by locals as the first English-speaking person to visit their town. On the Ohio River, Jim weaves his own adventures as he follows the accounts written by Fanny Trollope, the 19th century Englishwoman who depicted the coarse customs of frontier days in the Ohio River Valley.
A kayaker in his mid-70s, Payne shows that age is no barrier to adventure. “There’s an amazing world out there waiting to be discovered,” he says. “Sure, we all have limitations, but make use of whatever strengths you have and take some risks: the rewards will surprise you!”
Worlds to Discover: Kayak Adventures One Inch above the Water
Author: Jim Payne
Paperback 297 pages
Illustrations: 4 maps
Publication date: October 15, 2015
Library of Congress PCN:2015911284
List price: $14.95