I left Inuvik, Tuesday morning, taking advantage of a summer like temperature and traced my route in the maze of the MacKenzie Delta, while opening my eyes wide to the incredible scenery. Sitting in my little red kayak I could hardly believe that that I had finally arrived in the Arctic Circle. I didn’t realize the distance travelled during 12 hours, without stopping. I took a short one hour nap, munched on a cereal bar and paddled another 8 hours. Read more “Freinée en plein élan !”
Tuesday June 24th 2014, launch is close at hand. Last shower, last fruit and vegetable meal, last check-off and its’ off for the long voyage. It’ll take three days to navigate the Mackenzie River Delta before entering the Beaufort Sea and then the Amundsen Gulf. The sun is shining full tilt, temperature is summer like and a light South-East wind will help me on my Northerly heading. All conditions seem fine for a calm departure. There’s not a moment to lose! Read more “Off we go!”
The first day in the Arctic. Inuvik, the departure point of this crossing… I’m finally here after long flying hours pointed by a few stopovers and the least I can say, is that I still feel at home: it’s raining! Nothing to worry about, as this allows me to overtake the incredibly voracious mosquito attacks. As people say here : “Better to see the sky fall, than be a victim of the voracious mosquito squadrons”. In the worst case scenario, I’ll break out the combat fatigues which I tried out in Greenland, some four years ago, and had the inkling to bring along. Read more “D-day-3”
Only a few more days in the pressure cooker before casting off. I am now on Canadian soil and today, must take possession of my kayak at Canadian Customs. Each small step is a new stage and I know, by experience that “Nothing is gained, if you do not start on time¨. Read more “In the starting-blocks”
The travel bags are jam packed with material that I’ll be using over the coming months. Screening and screening again, weighing and weighing again, I’m convinced of carrying only the bare essentials. Even then, the bare essentials take up considerable space in a 5, 50 meters kayak! Read more “Here I am!”
I’ve never worn a wrist watch and I despise clockwork dependent planning…but that’s what I’ll have to live for the next weeks. No improvisation from now on, the stakes are too important and I can’t allow a single grain of sand to get in the machinery. Like any good corporal, I follow orders and a set program. This allows me, for some time yet to keep my feet on the ground and my mind well focused. Read more “Almost time do leave”
I’m a month out from leaving and the events are rushing by, lists grow longer when it should rather be the other way around and my thoughts wander when I should focus on the final preparations. After 2 years devoted to this project which began as a simple dream, the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. For some of them, I need to push a little harder, but now I know that I will definitely fly out to the Canadian northern territories by mid-June. There, I’ll wait on the ice’s goodwill and favorable weather conditions before challenging the Northwest Passage. I’m almost there… Finally! Read more “It’s the final countdown”
What can one eat during our crazy challenges amidst these vast icy areas? Shopping malls are few and far apart, and as far as I am concerned, I never thought of hunting to obtain standard fare. It’s therefore more prudent to plan and plan well, before starting out on a solo and self-sufficient adventure. If anything is forgotten, there’s no one else to blame but me as the planning of logistics is my own responsibility. Read more “What should we eat tonight?”
Since January, new partners have joined the adventure and will accompany me in the crossing of the Northwest Passage.
Some new members are Astellia, from Rennes (France) as well as Olan Associés, from Concarneau (France). McMurdo, the world leader as maker of position locators and communications equipment will loan me an EPIRB locator, a PLB Fast Find as well as an AIS Smartfind locator. These may be strange names for certain people but, well known to mariners who carry them on board in the hope of never having to use them, as they launch distress calls.
All in all, things are going well and I’m keeping a good pace, in spite of occasional obstacles, which must be dealt with, one way or another. The latest one is Gauthier’s decision to abandon the project, for personal reasons. Once the low point had passed, I had to digest the information and recuperate rapidly. So, again, I’ll be on my own, and this just a few months from the departure date. Fortunately, I can count on my past experience to guide me and give me strength to go forth. This being said, sometimes I wish I could slow down and get off the roller coaster.
While plucking away at the Yukon Quest information, one of the most demanding dog sled races in the world and of which I’m an avid fan, I found these lines by Megan Routley, a woman of rare capacity, having been a musher in this race. I quote her “I love feeling small. It’s a reverence for the planet and the universe. Such challenges leave me very humbled. That said, you might see me sitting on a park bench some day, in a ratty coat, with a sign that says, ‘I followed my bliss too far.’”
She’s a woman I’d like to meet.