Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gratitude to Sponsors, Friends, and Family

Planning a trip of this magnitude is a daunting task in itself whether by yourself or with a group. With more experience things will eventually get easier as you work out the idiosyncraies of being out so long, dealing with logistics, safety, etc. However, there are always companies, friends, contacts, and family that are more than willing to help out when needed. This blog is just that - a big thanks to all those who gave of their time, resources, and support.


The Complete Paddler -

I have been working closely with this retailer/outfitter which has been a great partnership. They have, as the name states, a "complete" line of boats and accessories for paddling ranging from recreational to serious expeditions, including services such as repairs and rentals. In fact they have the biggest selection of boats available anywhere in Canada. They are your one stop shop for all of your paddling needs in Toronto. I would like to thank Kelly McDowell and The Complete Paddler for providing us a fully outfitted 16ft Nova Craft Prospector to use on the Romaine River.

Eureka Canada- Johnson Outdoors -

Eureka Canada is a company that not only supplies a wide range of outdoor products to retailers, they also design and build them as well. They provide a wide selection of outdoor gear such as tents, packs, sleeping bags, airmats and stove, but they also back their products with a solid
guarantee. Trust me, I know, they've come through for us in the past. Its been a pleasure not only dealing with Jim Stevens but becoming friends with him. We both share a passion for paddling and love the outdoors so it was easy to align myself with him and his company. Jim has provided couple tents, barrel harnesses, a pack, a stove and camp accessories to outfit this expedition. We are truly grateful to him and Eureka for their support of this trip.


The Original Bug Shirt -

Northern Quebec is a haven for bugs, so we HAVE to be prepared or else, - #@*%!, swat swat, - itch itch itch! As the company's name states, it is THE ORIGINAL and the best out there. We are definitely glad to have Bob Meister and Sara Callaway on board providing itch free protection. We already all own his essential bug shirt, but now we have been provided bug pants. I don't know about you, but I always seem to get bitten under the legs and my tush while sitting in the canoe, so his bug pants will provide the ultimate protection for my crew's underside. And as a bonus, they are also quick-dry! We are definitely going to put them through their paces on this trip!

Roadpost Satellite Phones -

Nothing speaks louder than safely on our expedition. Our health and well-being is not only important to us, but to the loved ones back home that count on us, or are dear to us. In this age of instant text messages, endless emails and cellphone calls, its nice to get away from it all, but when you are far away isolated in the bush, its comforting to know the same technology exist to call for help. That is why we have secured a satellite phone from Roadpost, a leader in providing mobile satellite communication solutions for the remotest corners of the world. When you are far from the comforts and security of home, its reassuring to have a dependable communications expert like Roadpost to look after your needs. Thank you for coming aboard and supporting our trip.

Salus -

Salus is proudly a Canadian company based in Kitchener that provides a wide range water or marine-based products. From rescue gear, to marine suits, to safety products and PFD's, they cater to not only the recreational crowd but to water-based professionals in their respective fields. Salus manufactures high quality products that are also made here in Canada so its nice to know you are supporting your local community. Salus has provided us several whitewater/expedition PFD's through The Complete Paddler for our trip and we will proudly wear it knowing we can trust it when it counts the most.


Probably the most important support network we have. We couldn't have done it without you. Thank you all for your patience, help, and well wishes. Its comforting to know we are loved and will be missed! Some notable individuals that went over and beyond:

- Imroze, Ben's wife has been awesome cooking up delicious meals for us to dehydrate for the trip. We will certainly eat well. She is also going to be our main liaison back home 'in case' anything happens.

- Ben's father, Donald loves all things canoeing and outdoor related and his resourcefulness has allowed him to provide us tasty double-smoked bacon. (we love it). Of course there are those interesting soups too?!

- Marylou (yes, my ex) but who is still a friend and has looked after my "wardrobe malfunction" - (remember the ripped pant in the strategic area? - AC is not needed on the Romaine!)

- Ian Merringer, Canoeroots editor for taking the time to meet up with me and provide valuable information regarding the route.

- Fran Bristow of Alliance Romaine, a stanch campaigner trying to stop and protect the damning of the Romaine River who should be applauded for her tireless efforts. We didn't have an opportunity to talk much, but we appreciate her willingness and time - and especially her passion.

Its been a long journey, one of planning, re-planning, preparation, and finally coming to fruition. We are highly looking forward to this expedition, nervous, excited, relieved and eager - and I'm sure everyday we are on the water, one day won't go by without remembering all of you that helped to make it possible. Thank you all again for your enduring support and we look forward to seeing you all again when it is all said and done. For now, its time to walk the talk! Be in touch soon!


(The Romaine River Crew)
Ben, Dimitry, David & Rob

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