IMAGINE spending 62 days on your own kayaking around Ireland.
It might sound lonely but for Paul Alexander it was the adventure of a lifetime as he went solo and unsupported around the island.
The 50-year-old, who was born in Portsmouth and lived in the city until the age of 18, decided to take on the 1,200-mile journey around Ireland and set off from Kilmore Quay in County Wexford.
He said: ‘I hit 50 in February and I thought I’ve got to do this while I’m fit and able.
‘You could call it a midlife crisis but it was just something I wanted to do.
‘I trained for about a year and a half so I had it in the back of my mind the whole time.
‘I have been kayaking for about 30 years.
‘I was born on Portsea Island. I had this yearning to go around islands.’
Paul camped on the beach every night of his two-month adventure. He survived on tins of fish and rice. He also caught some fish.
And over the course of 62 days and nights he ate 200 bars of Snickers.
‘It was an adventure. It went well,’ he said.
‘I got all the way around the island. I had three or four hairy times when I was living on the edge.
‘I capsized once. I was in the water for 45 minutes.’
But amongst his adventure, Paul experienced some magnificent scenery and even spotted some wildlife including whales and sharks.
‘It was scary but I think they knew I was there,’ he said. ‘The hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
‘But the biggest thing for me was the people I met on the way. People were so kind and friendly.
‘They would bring me a sandwich or a can of coke while I was on the beach.
‘It’s just reaffirmed my belief in human kindness.
‘People genuinely are out there to offer kindness and help.
‘When you need help there are people there who are on the same wavelength and will help you.
‘It was unbelievable.’
Paul’s parents flew over from Portsmouth to see him finish his challenge.
‘I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to see friends and family but I didn’t want it to end.’
Now, Paul, who lives in Kilkenny, Ireland, is planning to write and publish a book about his adventure which he will sell and give the profits to a charity supporting people with muscular dystrophy.