A young man from Amqui, in Bas-Saint-Laurent, is about to cross the St. Lawrence River in a kayak with a friend. Ariel Valade and Billy Guénette will leave the Saguenay on Thursday to complete a course of nearly 700 kilometers to Percé Rock, in the Gaspé. The current context of the pandemic is far from having curbed their thirst for adventure.
The two acolytes have been caressing this project since last spring. Their journey was originally scheduled to take place in the Alps, but the pandemic completely changed their plans.
On October 15, they will begin their journey in the La Baie sector in Saguenay. They will then descend the Saguenay Fjord to reach Les Escoumins, on the North Shore. This is when they will begin crossing the St. Lawrence River towards Trois-Pistoles. They will then travel to the Gaspé coast to finally land near Percé Rock, in Percé.
“When we cross the river, we will choose the perfect day when there are not too many winds and good weather. If there are too many winds or the weather does not allow it, we will simply postpone to the next day, ”Amquien Ariel Valade explained to TVA Nouvelles on Friday.
The duo plan to travel around thirty kilometers per day to complete the crossing within approximately 22 days. However, their trip could be extended if the weather conditions give them a hard time. They must therefore be well prepared to ensure that their project is completed safely.
“Our goal is to do it in complete autonomy. We want to leave Saguenay and go to Percé without any help, without outside supplies. When you cross the St. Lawrence, you have to calculate the winds, tides, cold water and passing freight ships. We have the coast guard who can help us and it is really with the traffic of Les Escoumins that we will see what is the right period to cross. Of course there is always a certain risk, but we want to minimize them, so if there is too much wind, we will not risk ourselves, ”continued Billy Guénette, from the Laurentians.
The two young men in their twenties got to know each other during their training as guides in adventure tourism. Since then, they have accumulated two and a half years of experience and are familiar with the Saguenay Fjord and the St. Lawrence River. However, this is their first major crossing.
The kayakers are currently in Amqui, where they are busy finalizing the final preparations for their expedition.
“We prepared all of our meals and froze them. It will be easier to prepare and less time to do during expeditions. For lunches and breakfasts, it will be simple and dry things that are done quickly. We go to sleep on the shore and the beaches most of the time. We will stop in one or two hostels because it is partnerships that we have, but otherwise, it is really in autonomy on the sides of the beach ”, detailed Ariel Valade.
“It’s our vacation, we can’t wait to finish our preparation and jump into a kayak!” they said feverishly.
The TVA Nouvelles team will follow their journey and will have the opportunity to meet with them halfway, when they dock in Rimouski. It will be possible, at this time, to know part of their adventure!