Michelle Ellison and Melanie Joe are adventurers. Looking for a challenge they decided to paddle board the Thames. The whole Thames, from source to sea. Michelle and Mel are serious adventurers. Paddle boarding for 215km over 11 days, through 45 locks, under countless bridges, negotiating with the Port of London Authority to manage the risks of the tidal Thames on a board with a paddle and without any rest days, would be too easy. So they will do some science along the way. They'll take water samples and measure the quality of the water for Thames21 twice a day along their trip.
"I love water," said Michelle, who regularly paddle boards on the Thames and wherever she finds herself around the world on her travels. "We are really excited to join Thames21 as citizen scientists. As we will be on our paddle boards we will be able to monitor water quality in the middle of the Thames – which is not usually possible for volunteers to do." The paddlers will join in the Thames River Watch project. Hundreds of volunteers are working to take regular water samples from the shore of the tidal Thames. The data that Michelle and Mel collect will add to their database, and give a better picture of the health of the tidal Thames.
The intrepid pair will set out on their expedition from Thames Head on Thursday 16 July. They plan to be at Putney Bridge by 23 July. If all goes well with the Port of London Authority, they should make it to Gravesend by Sunday 26 July. They are raising money for Tree Aid, who plant trees and alleviate poverty in Africa, and the Disasters Emergency Committee's Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
Discover how to paddle board on London's canals as well as the Thames.
This article was amended on 17 July to correct the quote from Michelle.