October 15, 2003

My Departure Point

I just found a great link! It's a camera zoomed in on the Port of Ushuaia, my departure city. So, here it is, a glimpse of what I'm getting myself into.


For more information on the City of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, follow the link Tierra del Fuego.

Update!...Only three more months until my departure dated. I fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 15th, 2004.

Original Entry written in French: Translation done by Tania Lo

Posted by gwendal at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2003

Following your dreams

At 6:30pm last Saturday my mother called to let me know that she had heard an interview on the radio about a couple that had cruised around the world for the last 35 years. Their names escaped her but she thought the started with "L and L" I immediately guessed Lin and Larry Pardey and I was right. At 7pm that evening they were giving a slide show on their cruising over the last 35 years.

Although I was at the Home Depot picking up potting soil, I did not hesitate and put the soil in my bag and cycled to John Oliver secondary on 41st and Fraser to see what they had to say. Anybody who has talked to me for any period of time knows that I love sailing and the idea of cruising around the world has been a longstanding dream.
Before meeting Lin and Larry I had read their "Storm Tactics" book with great interest and marvelled at the simplicity of their approach to weathering scary and daunting storms.
After the slide show I almost wanted to sell all I owned and go find myself a sailboat.
So I signed up for their all day seminar on Saturday called "Priorities for Confident Cruising"
In this seminar they went over all the features you should look for in a boat for long term cruising that is affordable... They made it clear that to make it out there you don't need a deep pocketbook. You just have to learn to find the boat and the equipment that will allow you to live within your means. They also went through their storm tactics and the value of learning to "heave to" and the use of parachute anchors. I ended up with a scrapbook full of notes about all sorts of things like how to minimize chafing on your sails to what is the best place to put your galley on the boat.
The kicker is that they have never had an engine on either of their boats. Their first boat was a 24' Seraffyn on which they did 45000 miles and the second is 29' Taliasin on which the have done 60000 miles. In a way they are the ultimate sailing purists, sailing around the world as if they were on a dinghy.

I left with a new sense of optimism about the cycling trip I am about to embark on but also with the confidence that when I return it is not impossible for me plan an extended cruising trip. That is certainly another adventure I am really looking forward to.

If you want to learn more about this amazing couple visit their website at http://landlpardey.com/

I really recomend their storm tactics book...you can even get a DVD now.
Their simple approach to all aspects of sailing and cruising really makes you feel confident in your ability to go out and do it yourself.

That said I feel that this cycling trip has also been a longstanding dream. Although the specifics of this trip slowly evolved as I learned more about where I was planning to go. I hope that it will inspire others to go out and take a risk and follow their aspirations. Whether it is an entrepreneurial venture, hiking up a tall peak, or deciding to take a theater class, you certainly feel more alive once you have jumped into something a little scary and daunting.

Posted by gwendal at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2003

Le Maroc et la France

Bon, me voilà revenu de superbes vacances au Maroc et en France. C'était très extravagant de prendre autant de vacances quelques mois seulement avant mon départ à vélo, mais je ne regrette rien;

Ça m'a même permis de beaucoup penser à mon voyage sans me soucier des détails et voir ce que je veux vraiment faire.
Merci beaucoup à Abdellah, qui, lorsque j'étais au Maroc, m'a posé de bonnes questions qui m'ont bien fait penser à mes préparatifs. J'ai beaucoup de chance d'avoir trouvé autant de soutien au Maroc et en France. J'espère que tout le monde pourra bien suivre mon voyage et participer, à travers les images et mon journal de bord.

Je viens de trouver quelque chose qui m'a beaucoup intéressé. C'est une association qui cherche à développer des techniques pour nous aider à vivre plus simplement avec un impact sur l'environnement qui soit plus durable. Ils utilisent une idée qui a été formée par Dr. Bill Rees à l'université de la Colombie Britannique il y a une dixaine d'années, qui s'appelle "Ecological Footprint" notre empreinte écologique.
L'association s'appelle Global Living Project (GLP) et j'aime bien la plupart des choses sur lesquelles ils travaillent.
Par contre ils sont un peu radicaux dans leur idée pour retrouver une empreinte écologique durable en cent ans. Ils proposent que notre niveau de reproduction se réduise à un enfant par couple, ce que je trouve impossible.
Parce que je crois que si on était tous enfants uniques, on aurait une société bizarre. Peut-être que je dis ca seulement parce que je viens d'une famille de quatre enfants.
L'autre chose qui me plait beaucoup, c'est qu'ils font un tour à vélo pour deux mois et s'arrètent pour présenter leur idée. Je trouve que puisqu'ils se déplacent à vélo, leur message est d'autant plus puissant!

bon, assez pour aujourd'hui. le prochain message sera en anglais.

Posted by gwendal at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2003

Cetacean encounter of the Close Kind

For the first time, Pour la premiere foi a Vancouver j'ai vue une baleine dans English bay.
It was incredible. I was sailing back from Bowen Island last saturday evening...

I was on-call and I need to get back to program a satellite acquisition. As we (Tania, Alycia and Ericho) passed by Point Atkinson (light house park) at around 9:20 pm a False killer whale surfaced right next to the San Juan 24' we were on.
I was at the helm and the sound of the whale exhaling air through its blow hole was so lound that I had a good fright. Pretty quickly I recovered my senses to realize it was a whale. We continued on our course with the whale swimming next to us, often less than a foot away from the boat. After about 10-15 minutes the whale just turned away and stared swimming on its own. As it was the fireworks night there were many boats on the water. So it made our encounter so close to the city seem all the more amazing. The fireworks seemed to pale in comparison to this increadibly powerful close encounter with the whale.
I furiously researched the internet to make sure I knew what whale it was. I am now pretty certain it was a False killer whale that has been seen several times before in the region. After reporting the sighting to the Cetacean sighting network, they informed me that it was in fact "Willy" who has been in the region.
Stephen even unearthed a report of a False Killer whale being seen in Alaska.
I can now really understand the power of using "umbrella" species in conservation efforts. These animals are so awe inspiring when seen in their own habitat, that you can't help but want to protect them.

Posted by gwendal at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)