In 2012, I participated in my first Yukon River Quest. It’s a fantastic 444 mile race down the Yukon River, in Canada.

That year, we were a team of 6, friends and all outrigger paddlers, using a local river canoe called a Voyager. My team mates were Leif, Roman, Matt, Tony and Dan. We did great and arrived 2nd place overall in 43h or so, right behind a great team of Australians.

On the plane back home to California, I was next to Leif, who started to think out loud about what « success » is. We had set out to win the race, which we did not, so if we take that definition we weren’t successful. But for him, EVERYTHING else was. He started to mention what he considered the most important things about that trip: friendship and sharing an adventure together, effort and being here for each other, laughter and fun times, memories for a lifetime. I really liked his points. This trip was a total success. Put us 6 together around any table and you’ll see that indeed it was, lol.

Regarding my crossing, Dave and I had a similar conversations prior to departure.

- 1st was clear for both of us: success means staying alive. Safety has always been in the forefront of my mind in all the decisions in this project, from boat design to gear to logistic to team…. Etc.

- 2nd was « get there ». It didn’t matter how fast, what mattered was the arrival to the islands.

- 3rd was to enjoy the journey: why do such an expedition if you don’t? If you forget that it should a pleasure, that’s kinda outside the point, isn’t it? Dave, Galen and Ashley were always here to text it to me: « enjoy the day », « be in the now », « take it all in »

And that’s it pretty much.

Other ones could be: don’t come back crazy, don’t come back permanently injured with consequences for life, don’t forget to call mom,… haha.

One item of success that was unexpected but is definitely part of the list: The amount of passionate people enjoying the daily news, and making it a routine to take the time to read about the trip each morning. That is amazing. Thank you, thank you.

Ok, a few more days on the water paddling and we can call call it a success!! Hilo here I come!

Aloha to all, love to all.

Distance to Hilo: 131.18nm