Friday, March 06, 2015

Kayaking the Aleutians

Last year, Sarah Outen was rowing across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to British Columbia as part of her London2London human-powered global circumnavigation adventure. She had already kayaked from London across the English Channel, rode a bike across Europe and Russia, and had kayaked from Russia to Japan. Now, she was making her second attempt to row across the Pacific; her first attempt failed when her specially-designed row boat started leaking and she had to be rescued. Her second attempt was faring better, but the weather gods were not cooperating. After weeks on the water, she realized that the winds and currents were making eastward progress almost impossible. In fact, they were pushing her north towards Alaska. And that's when she improvised Plan B. Enlisting the aid of adventure kayaker and filmmaker Justine Curgenven, Sarah decided to put her rowboat ashore at the western tip of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, and kayak the length of the archipelago, up the Alaska panhandle to the nearest road so she could continue her human-powered adventure by bicycle. She and Justine spent 101 days kayaking 2500 kilometers in one of the most remote places on earth. Fortunately for the rest of us, Justine took along her cameras.
Highlighted by the incredible and magnificent scenery of the Aleutian Island chain, Justine's new DVD, Kayaking the Aleutians, simply proves again what the kayaking community already knows: she is a marvelous filmmaker. Not only does she deftly capture the astounding natural environment such as the wild storms, the bear encounters, and the sea lions encroaching on their camp, she is equally adept and bringing out the human side of the story: her friendship with Sarah, the charming encounters with the locals, the joy at the end of a day of successful paddling, and the anxiety when the paddling day is on the brink of going seriously sideways. There were many such days, as Justine and Sarah had to deal with uncooperative currents, raging winds, and equipment failures, but, buoyed along by Sarah's seemingly unfailing optimism, the two friends completed a journey that the rest of us can only dream about.
The DVD also contains four short bonus films; a windy paddle in Wales, kayaking in the Bay of Fundy with whales, and two films about kayaking in the waves at Tofino with The Hurricane Riders. Don't hesitate to check it out if you have a chance.
(And here's a little bonus: Justine being interviewed on Toronto morning tv. Sorry, no embed available.)

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