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Voyages & Heroes

2018: Mike Ranta paddles North

Mike Ranta
July 1, 2018: Mike and Spitzii made a 37-day canoe voyage with Stephen O'Neill in Canada's north, from Fort McMurray, Alberta to The Pas, Manitoba - over 1300 kms on the first leg of an Arctic journey. In north-west Saskatchewan, they did the Methye portage, the longest portage (20 km) in the regular fur trade. Next year's plan is to paddle from Fort McMurray AB to Yellowknife NWT on July 1, 2019. Photo by Hailey Sonntag, Wild Canoes.
Mike is also building the world's largest paddle to be ready in 2020 for the Killarney Convention Centre, the largest log structure under construction in the world - see his paddle model.   Mike Rantas Paddle (Facebook)

2018: Rylea, Kendra, & Clare paddling across Canada

A trio of women are paddling across Canada to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research (one has been diagnosed with the disease). They started in Vancouver April 7 and plan to paddle until October 31. They invited Mike Ranta (see below) to come along, but he had other plans. | Tracking

2017: Colin Sanders rowing across the Atlantic

December 10, 2017: Colin Sanders, 64, from Port Hope, Ontario began a 4,000-km row across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to Antigua in 83 days. During the voyage, $147,500 was raised for Community Living Ontario.
A Million Possibilities: Solo Ocean Row 2017 | News: Canadian Yachting Dec.14/2017 | Youtube video | Ocean Rowing Central

2017: Mike Ranta attempts 3rd paddle across Canada

April 1, 2017: Mike Ranta and hdog is Spitzii set out on his third cross-Canada canoe voyage, this time accompanied by photo-journalist David jackson. This time, his goal was to raising awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As usual, Mike collected signatures on this canoe along the way.
October 10, 2017: Mike, Spitzii and David endured constant winds, snow squalls, and encroaching wildfires before admitting defeat. They ended their journey in Killarney, Ontario, where Mike now works on a commercial fishing boat.
Note from Pat: Mike met my cousin near Killarney and a friend in Winnipeg, but I never got to meet him! They stopped short of the Rideau Waterway to Ottawa for Canada's 150th celebrations.
Mike Rantas Paddle (Facebook) | Vernon Morning Star news (Mar.17/2017) | video (Feb.21/2017) | (Dec.6/2017) | 2-hour interview (Feb.21/2018)

2016: Mike Ranta Paddles Across Canada in record time

Mike Ranta
April 1 - October 18, 2016: Mike Ranta with his dog Spitzii completed his third trip and second solo canoe journey from Pacific to Atlantic coast - more than 4,750 km in 200 days, beating his previous record from 2014. Mike's record for crossing the continent by canoe in a single year will likely stand a long time. He received no rides, accepted no help moving his gear, and only accepted donations from online fans to help with expenses.
In 2014, he paddled across Canada just short of the coast, but took longer. In 2011, he paddled from Rocky Mountain House Alberta to Montreal Quebec in 132 days.
Mike Rantas Paddle (Facebook) | Castlegar BC News (Apr.26/2016) | Global Winnipeg video | CTV Winnipeg video | (Sep.27/2016) | CBC Thunder Bay (Oct.21/2016) | CBC Ottawa video (5:51 (Nov.11/2016) | Matt LeMay video (Jan.1/2017) | (Feb.21/2017)

2016: Jeanne Socrates

Jeanne Socrates
Jeanne Socrates (73), the oldest woman to sail nonstop single-handedly around the world (2012-2013), began yet another voyage in October to attempt to become the oldest sailor to sail single-handedly around the world. Her droque and staysail were destroyed in a force 10 storm, and she was forced to return to Victoria, BC. for repairs, but on November 14 she started again.
Canadian Yachting news |

2016: Jayson Ambrose to Paddle the Great Loop

Jayson Ambrose
Jayson Ambrose plans to paddle a kayak around the Great Loop counter-clockwise from Mobile, Alabama - 8,000 to 12,000 km. Jayson started out October 1, 2016 estimating the trip would take 15 months, but had to return to Canada in mid-November. He continues to post his photos of Canada in his blog at and on social media.
Winnipeg (Sep.3, 2016 copy) | Fox10tv (Sep.28, 2016) | Fox10tv (Oct.1, 2016) | One Canadian's Journey (Facebook)

2014: Eric Holden named Canada's Top Sailor

Eric Holden
Canadian sailor Eric Holden was Canada's first ever skipper in the Clipper Round the World Race, leading a crew of 55 amateur sailors aboard the 70-foot Henri Lloyd to win first place in one of the toughest ocean races in the world.

Sail Canada and Rolex Canada named him 2014 Rolex Sailor of the Year, after being named Sailor of the Month three times. Holden and five Canadian crew members – Fiona Garforth-Bles, James Dick, Michael Jauncey, Morgen Watson, Phil Driver – were jointly awarded the Gerry Roufs Trophy for offshore racing - Holden's second time being honoured. Roufs was a Canadian skipper who was lost in the Pacific in the 1996 solo race.
Clipper Round the World Race won by Canadians (Boating in Canada Blog)

2014: Mike Ranta's record paddle across Canada

eBook: Mike and Spitzii’s Great Canadian Adventure
Mike Ranta (Atikokan, Ont.) and his dog Spitzii made a 7,640 km canoe journey from Vancouver to Tatamagouche, NS (Apr.1 - Oct.31, 2014) about 350 km short of his goal at Dominion Beach, Cape Breton. His Delorme inReach geo-tracking system tracked his progress online. He was awarded 2015 Expedition of the Year Winner by Canoe & Kayak Magazine for the longest solo canoe expedition in a single season. In 2016, Mike is repeating the trip in honour of Canada's veterans. Get his ebook "Mike and Spitzii’s Great Canadian Adventure: Cross-Continental Coast to Coast Record-Breaking Solo Canoe Expedition". His personal account is must-reading for armchair adventurers - he makes you feel like you're in the canoe with him.

Previously in 2011, Mike and Spitzii, in a Souris River Wilderness 18, paddled from Rocky Mountain House Alberta to Montreal Quebec – 5200 km in 132 days along the traditional voyageur route – a world record for solo canoeing. | (Sep/2014) (text) | (Mar/2015) | Canoe & Kayak magazine Video (Jan/2015) | Mike Ranta finishes 4,750-mile adventure | eBook: "Mike and Spitzii’s Great Canadian Adventure: Cross-Continental Coast to Coast Record-Breaking Solo Canoe Expedition"

2013: Jeanne Socrates

Jeanne Socrates
Seventy-year-old Jeanne Socrates from England, the oldest female sailor to make a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe (Oct/2012 - Jul/2013) is raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. []

2011: Derek Hatfield (1952-2016)

Derek Hatfield
Derek Hatfield, Canada's top solo sailor, took third place in the 2010/11 Velux 5 Oceans solo round the world yacht race. Derek is the only Canadian to have sailed solo around the world twice. In the 2002/3 Velux 5 Oceans, his yacht Spirit of Canada was capsized and the mast destroyed rounding Cape Horn, but he managed to repair the boat and finished the race, becoming the 126th person to sail around the world alone. In 2008 he raced in the Vendée Globe but he had to retire when his yacht's rig was damaged.

Hatfield began working with the Broad Reach Foundation for Youth Leaders in 2003, a charity that teaches at-risk youth to sail.

2011: Jack Nye

Jack Nye
If you've ever dreamed about sailing oceans, read about Jack Nye's 18th Atlantic Voyage - at the age of 86!

2010: David Wright saves Kiteboarder

David, a Canadian Laser sailor, was training in Mexico when roused from bed by a panicked man after his kiteboarding friend hadn't made it back to shore. Local police did not help. David used his Merchant Marine Academy training to consider wind and tide. After 3 hours of grid search in a powerboat, he located the lost kiteboarder. #RealCanadianHero [Montreal Gazette April/2010]

2007: Meagan McGrath saves Everest Climber

Meagan is our hero of 2007, risking her life to save Usha Bista, a female climber from Nepal, in Mount Everest's infamous "death zone". #RealCanadianHero [Toronto Star May/2007 | CTV May/2007]

2006: Andrew Brash saves Everest Climber

200 metres from the summit of Everest, Andrew abandoned his climb to save Australian climber Lincoln Hall, who was dying of altitude sickness. In May 2008, he returned to Everest and reached the top. #RealCanadianHero [CBC June/2006]

2003: Tony Gooch

In 2002-2003, this Canadian sailor is the only person to circumnavigate solo nonstop from the West Coast of North America. []

1988: Lawrence Lemieux

Canadian Finn class sailor Lawrence is our hero from the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Sailing in second place, he left his race to rescue two Singapore sailors Joseph Chan and Siew Shaw Her. They were competing in the 470 class when their boat overturned, throwing them into rough waves. Lemieux finished 22nd but was recognised by the IOC with the Pierre de Coubertin medal for his bravery and sacrifice. #RealCanadianHero [Edmonton Journal March/2008]

1986: Gus Dalton (1931-2018)

Gus Dalton, captain of a fishing boat, saved 155 men, women and children floating in lifeboats six miles off the coast of St. Shott's town, Newfoundland in August 1986. The Sri Lankan Tamils were victims of human trafficking that had been abandoned in the Atlantic for 3 days when he happened upon them. Most of the refugees went on to settle and prosper in Montreal and Toronto. [International Business Times Jan/2018]

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