Paddling in America (David Cornthwaite)
Blog Words : Insider Secrets | 19 January

Why 2013 is the year to get wet

Adventurer Dave Cornthwaite lists the quickest ways to get inspired in 2013 - and a little damp

With five world records under his belt, Dave’s adventures include sailing the Pacific, stand up paddleboarding the Mississippi River and swimming 1,000 miles down the Missouri, dragging his gear on a raft. Here are his tips on dipping your toes in adventurous waters.

1. Meet Murray

The Murray River flows 1,500 miles from the mountains in the Australian Alps, winding its way across a series of Red Gum-littered lakes, past 100ft high bluffs and eventually out into the Southern Ocean via the Coorong National Park. If you’ve never paddled the length of a river, and want to, the Murray is the place to start.

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2. Misery-free Missouri

However you want to travel downstream (I swam it in 2012) the 340 miles of Lower Missouri River between Kansas City and St Charles is a pleasure to experience. Camp on wide open sandbars, sit quietly as bald eagles swoop past and drop in to Hermann, MO, one of the prettiest towns in America.

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3. Get up, stand up

Stand up paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. One of the best workouts you can get, it’s also a beautiful, calming way to cruise around any body of water, and the view is much better than from a kayak or canoe! Try the Upper Mississippi for 500 miles of rugged wilderness, or the Florida Keys for something a little warmer. Or, of course, the Thames is an adventure waiting to happen in England.

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4. Discover the secrets of sailing

There are some places on the planet almost untouched by western civilisation, islands that truly thrive with the power of nature. If you want to explore the middle of the ocean, get some sailing experience or conduct a little bit of scientific research into a rare form of coral. Pangaea Explorations and their 72ft yacht Sea Dragon can take you to a whole new world.

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5. Swim with mermaids. Sort of.

Swimming with manatees is an experience not many can boast about. These large, gentle creatures are big enough to squash you but they’d rather offer a hug. Snorkel alongside them in Crystal River, Florida and leave the water a changed person.

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Dave ConrthwaiteDave Cornthwaite will be speaking at The Telegraph Adventure Travel Show at London Olympia on January 26, at 11.30 am in Theatre 1.

Tickets to the Telegraph Adventure Travel Show cost £10 on the door; under 16s go free. Wanderlust  readers can buy tickets for just £5 when purchasing in advance, simply quote 'WANDERLUST' when you book. Find out more here.