P.E.I. teen completes solo paddle around the province

A 16-year-old from Bonshaw, P.E.I., has a lot to brag about to his friends — he just kayaked around the whole Island.

'I wanted to do an adventure that was difficult and a challenge, but that was manageable'

Joseph Simmonds, 16, took 12 days to kayak around the P.E.I. He enjoyed the physical challenge, but said he got lonely. (submitted)

A 16-year-old from Bonshaw, P.E.I., has a lot to brag about to his friends — he just kayaked around the whole Island. Joseph Simmonds started his journey on Aug. 8, spending 12 days paddling. 

He camped along the way, mostly on beaches. This was the first time he'd ever done an overnight trip after getting his first kayak a couple of years ago. 

"I did a few trips and always wanted to do something a bit bigger, a bit more adventurous," Simmonds said. "I wanted to do an adventure that was difficult and a challenge, but that was managable."

Simmonds spent most nights sleeping on beaches (submitted)

Simmonds decided to go counter-clockwise around the Island because of the weather. It was a wet week, but he only missed one day of paddling due to dangerous seas, although he said he did go out when maybe he shouldn't have.

He was equipped with a GPS and would check in with his family every morning and night.  He said he feels fine physically now, but there were some tough times too. 

Not just a physical challenge

"I did better than I thought I would, I was hungry a lot of the time which was probably the worst part, physically," said Simmonds. "I also got a lot of blisters on my hands and feet. But I didn't get a lot of muscle pain as I was expecting."

Simmonds said being hungry a lot was the worst physical symptom on the trip (submitted)

Simmonds was surprised by the mental toughness he needed on the trip. 

"I was just very lonely,  I was out there by myself for the 12 days with no one to talk to, it was very, very...I got homesick and it was just very hard." 

Simmonds said he learned he isn't a solo adventurer, and next time he will invite some company along.  He said he left on a search for adventure, but found a spiritual connection instead. 

"It gives you a lot of time to think," he said. "I felt really close to God. I sang a lot of hymns when I was out there to myself and I felt very peaceful." 

He added, "when the big waves come you realize how helpless you are and how dependent you are on God, so I really got a sense of that."