Fast and Furious star Paul Walker was a stud, not only for his appearances in that series that catapulted him to fame, but also for what he did for humanity and the planet we inhabit. You may not have known that he aspired to marine biology before he went down the acting path. And I really liked that Paul Walker and I have something else in common: he was passionate about great white sharks, having tagged several specimens at Isla de Guadalupe in 2009, in a documentary, Expedition Great White. He’s going to be missed by a lot of folks, and yet his legacy lives on in adventure-related films like Into the Blue and Eight Below.
If any good comes of this I hope it’s that folks stop glorifying street racing. Ironic, considering that this is an adventure travel blog, which thrives on adrenaline. But think about it – adventure sports like BASE Jumping and surfing are a celebration of life. They’re not about endangering other people, which, sadly, is what happens all too often when people put pedal to floor in a modified suicide machine. A little context. And unfortunately it cost Paul Walker his life.
The openings keep getting smaller. We’ve seen Jeb Corliss fly through a mountain in China and Alexander Polli do the batcave in Spain. Now, just this month, BASE jumpers Espen Fadness (love that name!), Jokke Sommer and Ludovic Worth pulled an equally impressive, if not crazy stunt at the tallest mountain in Europe.
Yep, after much planning and calculation on how to navigate a VERY small opening under the bridge at Aiguille Du Midi, some 3,842 metres above Chamonix – and at roughly 200 miles an hour – the trio made history as the first BASE jumpers ever to fly under the popular bridge and have fame and an epic video to show for their troubles. To say nothing about an adrenaline rush that might jumpstart a Boeing 747.
I would not want to be the guy making a wingsuit fail video.
Despite the name of this blog, I’m not a buddhist. Nor am I am going to thump anyone over the head with religious beliefs, but this image came across my desk recently and I think it says a lot about what we value as a society. Start with volunteerism, an open mind, and the ability to disconnect and find joy in helping others and the planet we inhabit. Teach your children well, folks, and our world we be a better place.
I don’t think I’d be doing my job right if I didn’t mention something about Point Break Live. Dubbed the first “reality play”, it’s a satire on the best movie ever, performed live with a set cast in every role except Johnny Utah (Keanu for the few who’ve yet to see the movie), in which members of the audience ‘audition’ for that coveted role and win it if selected by fellow audience members. The pseudo-actor then performs Keanu’s role by reading cue cards delivered by a production assistant. Much carnage ensues, including bank robberies and meatball sandwiches.
One question though that I’ve yet to see answered…does Utah get to jump out of a perfectly good airplane without a chute?
Kidding aside, the show has generated plenty of buzz since its premier in Seattle back in 2003 and has spread across the U.S. with stops in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and even Louisville Kentucky (wouldn’t that be better suited to a ‘Field of Dreams’ reality play? The Louisville slugger…just sayin’).
But of course, if you’re a Point Break junkie like myself, it’s the show’s latest stop – where the movie takes place – in the City of Angels that stands the greatest chance of setting off a fifty year storm in your heart. And for that, check out PointBreakLA, because, let’s be honest here, the Swiss make watches, the French make wine and Italians make sports cars. Los Angeles makes Point Break…and who knows, catch PointBreakLA and you never know if an original cast member from the movie might pop by, like this 2009 video of Gary Busey (Keanu’s partner) who stops in for a little fun!
PS: Don’t remake Point Break. Don’t even think about it. Leave it the way it is: a masterful dance of fate and adrenaline.
Oh yeah,Tyler Bradt is somewhere near the top on the cojones list. He’s at the top of another list actually – this one set in 2009 with his record 189.5 foot drop DOWN Palouse Falls in Washington State, as reviewed here on The Adventure Journal’s top 5 kayak waterfall drops to date. Yes, there are people who do that.
Aside from the fact that he’s chatting away on his cell phone while driving in this video (Come on Tyler, you’re cooler than that!), it’s a pretty freakin’ amazing feat. Observer Ben Stookesberry calculates his free-fall lasted for 3.54 seconds, hitting the water at roughly 77 mph. Ouch. A few tense moments after he finishes too, but there he is, with a new record: the highest waterfall drop ever done in a kayak, a feat Rafael Ortiz (pictured here) tried to duplicate in 2012 but was ejected from the kayak on impact, meaning our guy Tyler retains his title with some sage advice: “It’s a matter of “Buckin’ up and huckin’ it”. Words to live by.
Two months ago, on a balmy June evening, three persons of interest made their way into, and up, Trump Tower in Chicago. They managed to get near the top of the building, cut the lock, and then fulfill every BASE jumper’s wet dream as they took a ‘shortcut’ back down to the street. Yeah, three mysterious folks BASE jumped off the Trump Tower, and managed to evade police as they disappeared into the night.
Call them ‘Trump jumpers’ if you will.
Fast forward to late August and our mysterious jumpers remain at large. The cops haven’t found them, and we can only presume they’re planning their next jump. Here’s hoping that no one gets hurt, people are mystified, and the spirit of Bodhi continues to captivate a few of us who dare to think big and do cool stuff.
Let me be very clear on something: I’m a law-abiding citizen. I don’t encourage anyone to break the law, and certainly put them – or bystanders – at risk.
But I AM for thumbing my nose at a society swathed in apathy. And not to speak low of The Donald, but jumping from Trump Tower is, you gotta admit, just about as cool as it gets. Long live the human spirit.
Dutch kitesurfer Ruben Lenten loves green. He’s also got a thing for megaloops on stormy reservoirs and filming his escapades with soul-purging climactic anthems that get you almost as high as some of that absolutely sick air time he gets in this video. I love green too Ruben. Damn skippy.
Adding still more fuel to a debate that started in 2005 regarding this image of a large shark, supposedly caught off Ucluelet BC on Vancouver Island, recent visitors to the site are trading opinions on whether it’s a great white or a mako. On the one side, the argument that it’s a mako, those distinct teeth and the colouring. On the other, the great white camp, claim that its size and those same teeth thought to belong to a mako are, they claim, all signs that it’s a great white.
The only thing we know for sure is that, contrary to popular belief, this ain’t Ucluelet or Tofino, or anywhere in BC for that matter. It’s Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, as given away by the area code on the boom. And of course, that the so-called heroes in this image had no business killing it.
With that all said, I turn the floor over to you, dear reader. Have your say – is this now-famous image of the ‘Vancouver Island great white’ truly a mako? Or is it, as many visitors claim, a bonafide, real, great white? Cast your vote here. I’ll start. My thought? It’s a mako.
You’ve got to love these early days of August. Every year, shark freaks like myself come out in celebration of that annual thing called Shark Week on Discovery Channel. Apparently there’s sweet viewership in sharks, and now, after Discovery’s made it their annual shark pornfest of ‘great whites will kill you at the first chance they get!’, another channel is joining the fun. The channel: National Geographic Channel. Their schtick? SharkFEST.
Kinda early to see where this goes, and/or if NatGeo channel will rise above the shark porn that Shark Week has sadly turned into. I hope they do, though, because I find NatGeo channel to be everything that Discovery Channel used to be – interesting, relevant and engaging. Let’s see where SharkFest goes and if it makes it passed one season. Here’s the teaser.
There’s something unnerving about spending the night in a building where people have died. In real estate they’re called ‘stigmatized houses’. For adventurers, I call it creepy travel. And I think I just had a ghostly encounter.
The Ottawa Jailhouse hostel has experienced its share of creepiness, once being a prison and the sight of Canada’s last public execution. The gallows where murderer Patrick Whelan met his maker for the murder of Thomas D’arcy McGee are still visible at the rear of the building. And though the building housed its last prisoner in 1972 before reverting to the hostel it is today, some say that not all the hostel’s previous guests have moved on…
I wasn’t really thinking about that last week, on a hot July evening at about 8:30PM, with the air conditioning cranked (Ottawa gets HOT in summer!) as a drifted to slumber. I was alone, in the cell called ‘Solitary’ on the fifth floor, which as the name implies, was obviously the sight where a few unhappy souls spent a wakeful night…or several of them.
Anyway, I’d been in bed for about an hour, and had my feet on the metal end of the bed. The metal was warm, from my body heat. Then something weird happened: it went from warm to ice cold, for about five seconds, and something tapped on the bar – by my feet – before reverting back to its warmer temperature.
I didn’t think much of it at the time. After all, it could’ve been the air conditioner, right? Well, not really. Something made that metal bar cold – real cold – just long enough to make a point. The tapping was a nice touch too, and I vaguely made the connection before finally dozing off that the hostel marketed itself as being haunted and maybe, just maybe, Patrick Whelan, or someone long since physically departed didn’t like my feet protruding off the bed.
I mentioned the encounter to the front desk worker the next morning. He asked what room I’d stayed in and I told him. Then he gave me a half-knowing smile and said, with the conviction of someone made a believer, “I’m not surprised. You should try working the night shift.”
So to conclude, it’s a very interesting hostel. If you’re ever in the Ottawa area, be sure to check it out. Stock up on cojones though, if you’re of the jumpy variety. And, believe me, remember that adventure doesn’t have to be physical to get your heart racing!