My name is Jenny Decker and I completed the First Documented Solo Circumnavigation of the Big Island of Hawaii by Kayak. Along my journey I kept a journal to document this amazing feat.

Thank you to all my family and friends for their support. I am forever grateful for your commitment in helping me complete this journey.

What made me do this?      

I’ve always been connected to nature. Whether by land or sea, I’m always on the hunt for the next mountain to climb or wave to surf. My love for the ocean inspired the most challenging adventure to date. I decided to take on the first-ever documented solo circumnavigation of the Big Island, Hawaii by kayak: 16 days and 300 miles of the roughest waters known in the Pacific Ocean!

And my CMT will be with me on my journey.

I have CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, a hereditary sensory neuropathy that affects my daily life. I have experienced many falls, sprained ankles, various surgeries, loss of hand dexterity, lack of sleep due to pain, and the loss of sensation in my hands and feet.

While I may stumble and fall, and have to deal with constant pain, I don’t let that stop me from taking on any challenge. My determination has always been stronger than my physical attributes.

I choose to say “I’m living with CMT.” This mindset allows me to see CMT as a blessing. I’m grateful for every day I can experience life on my own terms. I feel fortunate to still be active and I refuse to let my weakening body interfere with my passions in life. 

This journey, however, was more than just a personal challenge for me. I had reached out to the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation and Allison Moore to tell them about my journey and my goals. HNF is dedicated to finding treatments and a cure for those living with CMT and inherited neuropathies. I established a GoFundMe page to help raise awareness and funding for CMT, with all donations going to HNF.

My goal was to raise $10,000 and guess what?

WE DID IT!

I couldn’t be more grateful and appreciative of everyone’s support and generous donations to make this happen.

 

Day 1

Day 1: After much preparation and a tiny bit of sleep Jenny started her kayaking journey early Friday morning on March 25th, 2016. [An important note ­ distances used are calculated based on a straight line. With currents and ocean conditions taken into consideration,...

Day 2

Day 2: The take off (and landing the night before for that matter) had turned out to be a little more difficult than anticipated. After watching the surf for almost an hour she prepared for departure. Wading in the water for almost 20 minutes, they found a lull and...

Day 3

Day 3: Jenny left before sunrise with a 22 miles paddle ahead of her. She had a whale following her in the dark that she could only hear. The whale was spouting water just next to her and she could hear it’s underwater song from the kayak for the first two miles. It...

Day 4

Day 4: Jenny reported a beautiful paddle along the valleys! She said the views were absolutely breathtaking with waterfalls in almost every crevice and a mom and baby humpback whale to keep her company for part of the day. She arrived to Waipio Valley at around 3:30pm...

Day 5

Day 5: As mentioned yesterday, day 5 was off to a rough start. 15 mph hour west winds were pushing her out from shore. She constructed a jib out of her hammock to stay on course. Luckily, the winds died down a little after a mile. There was still a big swell, but it...

Day 6

Day 6: After her long paddle to Laupahoehoe, we kept telling Jenny to just focus on the easy 10ish mile day she had coming up. At one point she said, “With how things have been going, let's not call them easy days. We will just say it's a short mileage day.”...

Day 7, 8 , & 9

Day 7, 8 & 9: Morning everyone, it's Jenny!!! The girls have been doing a great job keeping everyone updated for me and I am so appreciative! I woke up Thursday AM in Hilo Bay (unplanned landing but safe landing) with my arm and hand so swollen I decided to get...

Day 10

Day 10: We were thinking this was going to be a super boring update... no such luck. We began at the champagne ponds in Kapoho after an enjoyable day’s rest. There were six different breaks just to get out of the bay so Mike hopped in the kayak and helped get it back...

Day 11

Day 11: Started at the crack of dawn, with the kayak sighted Jenny needed to get on the water as early as possible and the shore crew needed to get going as well in hopes of making it to her landing sight ahead of her. It was scheduled to be a 17 mile day paddle for...