Russell Henry. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2017 – Victoria Sports News

Ocean adventurer, Russell Henry of Victoria, BC will begin a fourth epic journey Saturday, starting from Prince Rupert with teammates Dave Moseley and Luke Spence. The three will ocean kayak from Prince Rupert to Skagway, Alaska, some 850 kilometres, which will add up to approximately 26 days of paddling, but they will also be exploring mountainous terrain along the way, ski and splitboard touring; chasing winter, as they put it. The total time allotted for the trip is 60 days.

The three ski instructors lived in Nelson, BC during the winter of 2016-2017 and while there, hatched the plan to make the adventure happen, while there is still snow in the mountains.

Mosely is from south-east England near Bath. He has lived in Canada for two years and is a kayak guide who has plied his trade in the waters of New Zealand, Australia, Norway and Canada. He has trained in the mountains since he was 15-year-old.

He has traversed the European Alps, Moroccan Atlas Mountains, the Himalayas and BC’s Rocky Mountains, including spending considerable time around Roger’s Pass and the Golden area this past winter.

Luke Spence is from the east coast of Australia. He is a surfer; in fact, he has surfed since the age of four.

Dave Moseley and Luke Spence. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Spence has also raced outrigger canoes and paddled surf skis through his youth. He began snowboarding just four years ago, but since moving to Canada, he has ridden over one hundred days and has been on his splitboard for nearly half of that time.

He is the least experienced of the three with ocean kayaking, however, is in good hands.

“I am in good hands, as Russell has done some big trips and Dave is a kayak guide, so I will be well looked after,” said Spence.

Henry, and his brother (Graham Henry), are the first kayakers to paddle from Brazil to Florida. It was a 6500-kilometre journey that took them through 23 countries and territories in 2014.

The following spring, after having taken the winter off to work as a ski instructor, Henry attempted to break the record for the fastest, human-powered circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. The prior record and subsequent record attempts have taken approximately 15 days to complete. Henry tackled the distance in 12 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes.

Starting at the north end of the Vancouver Island, he left Kain Island located in Quatsino Sound on May 31st and headed south, on the west side or outside of Vancouver Island, taking advantage of strong tailwinds.

He still holds the record.

Rusell Henry’s kayak of Vancouver Island and data points.

Since then, Henry entered a human-powered race that started with a time trial from Port Townsend, Washington to Victoria as a qualifier leg, then started in earnest in Victoria and took Henry and his team of six up to Ketchikan, Alaska. They raced a modified outrigger canoe that was outfitted with two sails.

The trip took them 11 days five hours 24 minutes.

Asked about the schedule of paddling and skiing on their latest trip dubbed Paddles and Planks, Moseley said, “we will look to go roughly with one week of paddling and then break for skiing for one week, but it will be improvised as travel will depend on snow conditions.”

Each time the threesome land for their week of skiing and splitboarding, they will have challenges for example bears will be emerging from hibernation and will be foraging for food. Each landing will require the adventurers to rinse their kayaks in the ocean to clear the scent of food and then the food will have to be hung high from trees, so that wildlife does not get into the food as well as avoiding having their kayaks damaged by hungry bears.

“That is the only thing that we are worried about is leaving our kayaks and food for a week, as we ski,” shared Spence. “We do have a plan though and we should be fine.”

The three drove Friday from Victoria to Port Hardy and will take a 16-hour BC Ferry trip to Prince Rupert, where the adventure begins.

Kayak route from Prince Rupert to Skagway, Alaska, 850K

“We plan to paddle roughly a week north at a time to get to a location where we can stash our boats, load up our packs and get high enough into the hills that we can set up a base camp and access great ski touring terrain. We will then tour out of camp for up to a week, head back down to our boats and repeat,” Henry wrote on their website. “As remote as this trip will be at times, there are still towns along the route. The largest stretch we can see between towns to resupply is 14 days. We are planning to be on the water paddling for 26 days, in the hills skiing for 21, and using the remainder of days to wait out weather, resupply in towns, and rest our aching bodies.

The uniqueness of this trip lies in the combination of two vastly different sports put into one large weird expedition where we shall be accessing the mountains via human power rather than by helicopter or other fuel burning machines.”

Follow the 60-day adventure, Paddles and Planks at their website, here>>