CATHERINE FRIEND & VALERIE BISBAL
SOLLER TO SOLLER
Cat Friend (British) and Valerie Bisbal (Mallorcan) became the first people in the world to circumnavigate the Spanish Island of Mallorca (Majorca) on Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs).
Starting on 1 June 2018 from Port Soller they paddled the 555km coastline (345 miles) in 24 days. The two slept on the beaches they landed on and cleaned them of plastic and litter documenting their finds. Their project raised global awareness of marine pollution and over €20,000 for local conservation projects in the Balearic Sea.
About Cat Friend
Catherine Friend took up paddle boarding in 2017 in search of a new challenge. Her background in sailing gave her a good start with knowledge of the oceans and a love of the outdoors. The adventure aspect of the project is what inspired Cat on such a journey; “Mallorca is a big island and it’s largely cliff coastline without places to stop. When I found out that paddle-boarding around the whole island had never been done before I thought it would be pretty cool to try”. Cat has a real passion to be active in saving something you love. “If you’re doing something different or something that’s a bit mad people stop to ask why – it really gets people thinking about the health of our oceans”.
Cat’s favourite piece of expedition equipment: the anchor.
About Valerie Bisbal
Valerie Bisbal has lived in the Port of Soller all her life. With 2 grown up children and a 5-year- old, she dreamed of seeing every corner of her island from the water but never envisaged being involved with a project of this scale. Valerie had to take time out from the family restaurant business to train and to embark on Soller to Soller, a life changing experience. She found the hardest bit was being apart from her family for so long. “I love nature, the outdoors and island living; it is so important to keep our seas clean. I am a mom to three beautiful children and I hope that by raising money with this adventure we can fund projects to help sustain biodiversity for their futures.”
Valerie’s favourite piece of expedition equipment: the pillow.
Cat and Valerie met in 2017 when Cat was on holiday in Mallorca. They talked about the idea of going around Mallorca by SUP and decided to create a plan. Once sponsors like Starboard signed up it began to take shape. Now the two share more than just their love for the planet: “We couldnt’ve imagined the kind of bond this trip would create between us. We didn’t really know each other before and we don’t have the same language which did cause some communication errors along the way!”
People from all over the island got involved in the Soller to Soller expedition.”We had people driving out to us in boats to deliver food, water, forghorns, physiotherapy and all sorts! The support from the island was incredible and kept us going in those tough moments.” Groups of school children were amongst some of the hundreds who welcomed the two back to Soller on day 24. “It was amazing to see the numbers of people who followed our progress and donated to the cause”.