LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Two men from Louisiana and Tennessee arrived on dry land Saturday afternoon in Long Beach after a kayaking trip that lasted seven months. They're calling their journey Gulf to Gulf Odyssey because they began in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and ended in the Gulf of Mexico.
Traveling more than 3,000 miles the two adventurers say the trip was both liberating and rewarding and they hope others will be inspired to take a trip of their own.
Family and friends waited eagerly in Long Beach for the safe arrival of Austin Graham of St. Francisville, LA and Brad Tallent of Dayton, TN.
"We were all terrified for them. But here they are. They didn't have a ton of experience prior to this either. They've both been in kayaks, but to take on a feat this large, with the experience level, was worrisome. But like they do everything and really do it big, they are safe about everything," said Coltin Calloway, a friend of the two men.
Graham and Tallent paddled their way from Nova Scotia, Canada to Long Beach, Mississippi.
They spent the last seven months paddling 20 to 40 miles a day, over several bodies of water.
"Up the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, south on Lake Champlain, east on the Erie Canal, Allegheny River and Ohio River and then the Mississippi River," said Graham.
Being on a kayak for so long, they found creative ways to keep themselves entertained.
"We have a few games, where we throw up our paddles and twist them and catch them and try to make it look as good as possible," said Tallent.
They carried everything they needed to survive in their kayaks and mainly stopped to eat, sleep and see family on Thanksgiving and Christmas. But the trip didn't go without physical or mental challenges.
Tallent said the distance from civilization and loved ones was tough. He also tore his rotator cuff and Graham lost his cell phone along the way.
"Well the more challenge was just how open everything was. You know? You kind of lose yourself in it, once you get out in it. The marine life, the whales, it's all very scary and big. When the waves start, the wind, it's all a lot to deal with," said Tallent.
Yet, both said this trip was all worth it.
"First off it's very liberating. I mean we kayaked with whales. We saw a group of seals.
There were beautiful mountains we hiked on and we kayaked on all these crystal clear waters," said Graham. "We met amazing people along the way, kayaked down the Mississippi River. I mean the question is why we wouldn't do this?"
The two 24-year-olds have been documenting their journey with GoPro cameras in hopes of inspiring others to take on a journey in the outdoors. They are making a film of the trip and hope to have it featured in outdoor film festivals.
To learn more about their journey "Like" their Facebook page: Gulf to Gulf Odyssey.