Resume of the project:
In the course of February 2014,me, Vincent Cochin, will start the most difficult of my adventures: a solo skis crossing of the Canadian Arctic. Departing from Kugaaruk, a small Inuit community on the Northern coast of Canada, I will travel by skis, pulling a sledge loaded of equipments and food, going from village to village, until reaching the Greenland community of Qaanaaq,2300 km (1400 miles) further, on Greenland's Northwest coast.
Avid to share this fabulous adventure with the General public, to inspire them, to make them dream and discover the Arctic such as I will see it, I joined with the production company Moosestash Films-cargocollective.com/moosestashfilms- based in Vancouver, and created by the talented film-makers Joséphine Anderson and Brittany Baxter to make a20 mn documentary film about the real-life adventure. It will be realized in English and French version, and proposed in many Adventure Film Festivals around the world.
Birth of the project:
I don't remember very well at which age I was taken by the virus of the Far North. Probably by the middle of the adolescence, when I began to read the tales of Nicolas Vanier's adventure, nicknamed the " French Jack London ". This immense territory, wild, rough, icy, pure and authentic drew my attention. The stories of trappers, Indians, woodmen, sled-dogs, wolves and bears fascinated me and ignited in me a flame that did not stop growing up. I gave up my projects to become a farmer and signed up in the army, at the French Mountain Soldiers. My attraction of the mountain doubtless came from part of its resemblance with the Far North. I thought that the army would quench my thirst of adventure
and action. It did not.
During a trek across Lapland, I met Gilles Elkaim, a French polar explorer who spent 4 years crossing Siberia. His book had captivated me. He proposed me to work with him on the Camp Arktika, his new " Polar Adventure School", based in Finland. A dream job for a young man fascinated by the Far North. After 2 yearc with the Mountain Soldiers, I therefore left the army and spent a winter with Gilles. He teached me enormously on the art of travelling by dog-sled and polar camping. I was a talented apprentice, and the intensive reading of numerous adventure-tales of other explorers more or less known widen again my polar knowledge. I was then capable of guiding groups of tourists on several days, in the polar wilderness, by temperatures down to - 40 ". All returned with their 10 fingers...
printed by kindness and respect that they would reconcile any rebel with the society. Because of the renewal of visa, I had to wait for the summer 2009 to continue my joumey and complete the 2ndpart by canoe. After 1800 km (1100 miles) of extreme solitude and real dangers, including paddling down the entire lenght of the Back River, the most dangerous Arctic river in Canada (80 rapids!).
Three years had passed by since my arrival to Canada, and a failure to do this 3rd part during the winter / spring 2010, due to the lack of financial mean, got me profoundly disappointed. I needed a break, to step back. Australia proposed some working/holiday visas for 2 years, I then left for the South.
All my previous adventures can be seen (in French) in my blog cochinvincent.blogspot.com/
Departing from the community of Kugaaruk, on the Northern coast of Canada, I will travel by skis, pulling a sledge loaded of my stuff. I will cover 2300 km, sometimes on the sea-ice, sometimes through lands, passing by 3 Canadian Inuits communities, and will finish in Northwestern Greenland, in Qaanaaq.
The journey is divided in 4 stages:
- Kugaaruk - Taloyoak : 200 km; Time: 8 days (25km/d)
- Taloyoak - Resolute : 750 km; Time: 26 days (28km/d)
- Resolute - Grise Fjord : 520 km; Time: 17 days (30km/d)
- Grise Fjord - Qaanaaq: 830 km; Time: 26 days (32km/d)
The documentary film:
Avid to share this extreme adventure with the General public, to give some inspiration by the determination, and pushed by friends who followed each of my adventures, I wanted to make a film of it. Luckily, I met Joséphine Anderson and Brittany Baxter, 2 young talented Canadian film-makers, creators of the production company " Moosestash Films " ( cargocollective.com / moosestashfilms ). They were quickly very interested by the project.
Together, we decided on a 20mn documentary, or even 40 mn according to the quality of the images which I shall bring back. It will be made in 2 versions, one in French, one in English, what will be an asset to present it in adventure film festivals in France and international. I think of that of Val D'Isère, Grenoble, Chamonix, La Rochelle, Dijon, but also Banff ( Canada) and Boulder (USA). Although they are taking care to find funds for the editing of the movie, I also try to collect some funds, knowing that the editing of the movie would cost between 10.000 and 15.000 Euros. If financial means allow it, we would like that Tavi Parusel, a young and talented film-maker, come to join me in Kugaaruk, for the departure, in Resolute, an Inuit community on my route, 950 km of the starting point and in Qaanaaq, for the arrival. He could then complete the filming and spend some time to film the peoples in their everyday life.
With this movie, I would like to share the human adventure and the General public to see the enjo¡rments and the difficulties of a polar adventure, showing the diversity of the Arctic, the contemporary life of the Inuits of Canada and Inughuit of Northwestern Greenland, and their adaptations about the global warming.
To Film under extreme cold temperatures represents a challenge in itself. To
manipulate the camera can only be done with thin gloves, which presents a high risk of frostbite. Stopping for filming is uncomfortable, because we do not get anymore the advantage of the heat produced when skiing. And to maintain the camcorder, and the camera, frost free was for a long time a problem for me. Below -20 ", even if the battery was warm, the camera was so cold that it refused to start. But I discovered pocket-size heater manufactured by ZIPPO. These stoves produces wramth during l2 hours with a refill. Reloaded every moming and every evening, and placed in insulated bags, they will hold the
camera and camcorder frost free. Furthermore they work with the same fuel as my cooking stove (white gasoline, or naphta). From part the difference of temperature between the inside of the bags and the outside, some condensation will form on the cameras. To protect them, they will be covered with a plastic film.
The major risk during this adventure will be the polar bears. They are formidable predators and consider humans as potential prey. I will carry a rifle and bear-bangers. But in this season, the bears will be on the sea-ice actively hunting the seals, their favorite food. I would thus be only a prey of secong choice... And I chose a route passing often inlands, where the chance to meet a bear will be very slim, and I shall have the opportunity to see wolves, caribous, musk oxen, Arctic hares and great snowy owl).
Then there is the ice. I consider it almost as dangerous as the bears. It will be necessary for me to remain attentive as for the change of its appearance (for example, if it's white, it's thin and if it's black, it's thick) and in the potentially dangerous zones, around islands or in the mouth rivers, where the current could eat away the ice from underneath. Fortunately the sea ice possesses a certain elasticit¡ contrary to that of the fresh water, and can forgive small mistakes... As long as I cannot pierce it by planting my ski sticks in it, it's considered thick enough to support the weight of a skier.
Then there is the cold. I know that one well. I already froze 10 fingers, ears, nose, chin, cheeks... And I held the lessons. Never underestimate it1' below -30 o, froztbites comes very fast, especially if it's windy. And the most exposed zone is the face, difficult to protect. To choose the right clothes will be essential.
Snow blindness is also another big risk.
The means of rescue:
If, in spite of my experience and all my precautions, misfortune arrived to me, I have a satellite transmitter known under the name of SPOT, which not only can serve to send my GPS coordinates regularly to those wishing to follow me, but also and especially to send a distress message, speciÿing my GPS position. An insurance covering up to 100.000 Euros is included in the package.
I count on a budget of 10.700 Euro for the realization of the expedition. In here is the details:
-Clothes and equipments: 5000 Euros (approximative)
-Air flight Paris - Kugaaruk: 1966,38 Euros
-Air Flight Qaanaaq - Paris: 1196,31 Euros
-Food: 2500 Euros (freeze-dried food very energetic)
My previous adventures:
- Solo canoe trip ascending the Snare River (500 km) 06-08/2013 following by a hike through the Mackenzie Mountains down the Canol Heritage Trail with 2 friends (355 km) Northwest Territories, Canada
- Sailing trip along the Northern coast of Australia 08/2011 aboard the Duyfken, a 16th century replica boat Sailed from Darwin to Port Hedland (1000 nmi)
- Solo sea-kayak trip 12/2011-02/2012 circumnavigating Tasmania (1400km) Australia
- Camel trip in the Simpson Desert (180 km) 08/2011 Assisting guide for Outback Camel Company Northern Territories, Australia
- Solo canoe trip across the barren-lands (1800 km) 06-08/2010 From the Northwest Territories to Nunavut, Canada
- Sled-dog trip on the Great Slave Lake, with a friend (750 km) 03/2010 Northwest Territories, Canada
- Solo sea-kayak around Kodiak archipelago (1000 km) 08-09/2008 Alaska
- Solo skis trip across Great Slave Lake (200 km) 03/2008 Northwest Territories, Canada
- Solo canoe trip through the boreal forest (2300 km) 06-08 2007 From British Columbia to the Northwest Territories, Canada
- Sled-dog guide in Ivalo, Lapland Winter2006-2007 Arktika Camp, with polar explorer Gilles Elkaim, Finland
- Solo hike through Lapland (500 km) 08/2006 From Vadso (Norway) to Ivalo (Finland)
- Canoe trip in Québec, with a guide and my brother (200 km) 07/2005 Canada
- 4 months mission in Ivory Coast 01-04/2005 Operation Licome with the French Army, Africa
Why to help the project:
If you like the wilderness, the discovery, the culture, if you like meeting challenges and want to see the movie of an outstanding adventure, if you support the determination and the pursuit of our dreams, then help me to concretize this project by donations or loan of equipments and/or by donations of money. The Nanook project is on the crowd-funding website Ulule www.ulule.com/nanook/
I'm alone, I have no team which helps me to look for sponsors, to collect equipments and phone to possible partners and sponsors. I work 5 days/week in landscaping, in the French Alps, to try to gather by my own a part of the required amount. But without help, I could not realíze this dream. I know that sponsors want a return on their investments and I would be glad to talk about it to find an arangement. The names of the sponsors and partners will be cited in each article of newspapers and magazines dedicated to the expedition, and will appear at the end of the movie.
Do not hesitate to contact me for more informations, thank you for your attention.