F: Can you tell us about the Coastal Exploration Company?
CH. We run a series of maritime coastal adventures on the North Norfolk coast using traditional wooden Norfolk fishing boats under sail; everything from a relaxing salt marsh sail to sea sailing, to smuggling to foraging trips.
F. What made you decide to start running your own sailing expeditions?
CH. After many nomadic years working as a Royal Marine and a humanitarian I wanted to return to my home in Norfolk, next to the wild and mesmerising coast and build an adventurous sailing business with a community of like minded people. I wanted to focus on our rich maritime history, using the local wooden traditional fishing boats, but also combine this passion with a strand of altruism through social and environmental change.
In 2011 I discovered a Sheringham built 20’ crab boat, which was refurbished by traditional wooden boat builders in Stiffkey and by 2013 I eventually found one of the last remaining 30’ Worfolk whelk boats and started renovating her at Fosdyke boatyard. In 2015 I was kindly donated a mussel flat by local fishermen in Brancaster. The lug and gaff sails were hand made by a true artisan craftsman, Steve Hall, the owner of North Sea Sails in Tollesbury. Next the stringent safety standards had to be negotiated with the MCA to operate commercially.
By 2016 I was operating and the “I” became the “we” as a band of incredible characters stepped forward to share the vision and help grow a concept that became greater than the sum of its watery and wooden parts.
F. You use Falcon enamelware on your expeditions. What’s your favourite product and what do you use it for?
CH. All of our boats carry a set of pigeon grey deep plates, bowls and mugs which we use to serve the best of locally sourced Norfolk food. My favourite is the deep plate as we use it to serve locally sourced bacon and eggs. Not only is it beautifully designed, but incredibly practical. The best combination.
F. Is there a specific dish that you would make using any of our Falcon products?
CH. We also use the large grey trays and we serve homemade cake on these - so when they appear everybody is happy!
F. Do you have any tips for bringing the seaside home whilst we're in lockdown, for those unable to be on the sea or visit the beach during this time?
CH. I think you should think about your favourite spot on the coast and plan a trip when lock down is over, so you have something to look forward to. The healing power of the salt marsh and the Norfolk coastline is incredible - just a day on one of our secluded spots can completely recharge your spirits.
F. Are there any local companies you'd like to shoutabout? Where do you usually eat, drink, source ingredients in your local area?
CH. Yes, we get most of our produce for our trips from Walsingham Farm Shop, and Creake Abby, we should also mention Stiffkey Stores, which sells Falcon and serves the best coffee.
F. And finally, how are you finding returning back post-covid?
CH. We are planning on starting back in the second week of July- fingers crossed. We have special COVID 19 measures, so social distancing, increased hygiene and in particular picnics prepared so that our clients can handle them themselves and the skipper can stay socially distanced.
To find out more visit https://coastalexplorationcompany.co.uk