Monday, June 23, 2008

Mark In The News

Mark's now well underway on his journey from La Ronge to Hudson Bay, paddling 1400 km in his solo canoe. He is about 9 days into the trip and should now be nearing the eastern border of the province.

Mark has gotten a fair bit of media coverage this time around. Over the course of his trip, Mark will be phoning in to CBC Radio every two weeks for an interview with the local Saskatchewan program, Blue Sky. The week before leaving, Mark did a radio interview with Blue Sky. That interview was aired last Tuesday (June 17th) and you can listen to the interview here (Real Audio file). His next interview will air tomorrow, Tuesday, June 24th between 12 and 1 pm. If I'm lucky, I'll remember to turn on CBC radio and listen this time. If not, hopefully it shows up in their archive. You can hear the interview for yourself at 540 am anywhere within about 500 km of Watrous, 94.1 FM in Saskatoon, and many other local frequencies. For those of you outside of Saskatchewan, or for those who, like me, don't have a functioning radio, you can listen online.

Here is a schedule of his CBC radio interviews as pasted from his blog:
Tuesday June 24th Between 12 - 1 pm
Tuesday July 8th Between 12 - 1 pm
Tuesday July 24th Between 12 - 1 pm
Tuesday August 5th Between 12 - 1 pm
Tuesday August 19th Between 12 - 1 pm

His June 24th interview is now available online. Find it here.

Mark also did an interview with the Saskatoon Sun which appeared in my mailbox this weekend. It was a full page article with a picture of Mark in his canoe sitting alongside the boathouse dock. I'd like to provide a link to an online version but it doesn't appear to be available anywhere. Mark also did an interview with the PA Herald which appeared a week and a half ago. You can read it here. He was also planning on doing an interview with the La Ronge Northerner prior to launching.

You can learn more about Mark Lafontaine and his epic journey from his website (www.wildpaddler.com), including a map of the route. Mark has also been keeping a blog where he detailed some of the construction of his custom-designed expedition canoe and other aspects of preparation for the trip (wildpaddler.blogspot.com).

By the way, I got a chance to paddle his new canoe for a couple of minutes two weeks ago. Although I was only in it briefly, it felt very nice. I had just come out of the canoe club's Swift Osprey (mentioned in a previous post), so Mark's canoe felt rock solid in terms of stability. It was tougher to turn, but not bad. The narrow beam at the gunwales made paddling very easy. Of course, it had no load in it so it wasn't a real good test. I expect that upon Mark's return he'll have a clearly defined set of goals to achieve in the next canoe he builds, characteristics he likes and others he wants to improve upon.

Update: Mark ended up suffering physical and equipment problems. These issues (I'm not clear on what problems he encountered), forced him to turn around when he was well into Manitoba and retrace part of his route in order to get himself out. I believe area forest fires were also a concern and could have prevented rapid egress had he proceeded farther.