Bert was the first North American to complete a solo non-stop navigation of the five southern capes using only a pen, paper, charts, and a sextant to navigate.
Now, Bert is in the midst of a new incredible adventure. He is paddling across Canada in his canoe, Kai Nani. The boat was named by his wife who is of Hawaiian and First Nations descent and is a Polynesian term meaning synergy, or harmony between wind and water.
I first connected with Bert after he reached out asking about some of the canoe packs we carry. He had quite a few questions and at one point I asked, how long on average are your trips (as that will help us determine the best pack) and his response was, well the next one will be about 7,000 km across Canada... As you can imagine, many lengthy and fascinating conversations ensued.
If you're wondering which pack he went with, it was none other than one from our friends at Ostrom Outdoors.
If paddling across Canada wasn't enough of a challenge, he will not be using any modern navigation aids and has instead opted to use a compass, printed maps, artificial horizon, and a sextant, just like the original explorers of Canada used to chart their course.
If you ever get the opportunity to speak with Bert, you'll immediately notice the absolute wealth of information he possesses around Canadian History, in particular about the multitude of explorers who helped map Canada like Champlain, Fidler, Turnor, Thompson, MacKenzie, & Fraser.
I asked Bert a simple (yet very complex) question. Why are you doing this? His response was equally simple and complex. The simplest answer was, "why not?" See, people like Bert view adventure, and the challenges that come along with it differently than many of us. This has been a dream of his for years, he is physically capable of achieving it, has the skills to do so safely, so why wouldn't he? In addition to that, he truly hopes to continue to inspire as many people as possible, particularly youth, that anything is achievable if you commit to it. Bert speaks at a number of schools and through telling stories of his adventures, this is the constant underlying theme.
In addition, there is one other item Bert is carrying with him on his journey. A handwritten note intended to petition the BC Geographical Names Office to propose a name change from Howse Pass that properly reflects it's First Nations Heritage. Click here to learn more and sign the petition.
If you're in the mood to live vicariously through Bert's adventure, check out the following links below.