• Stephanie O’Hanley

Former Île-Perrot residents to embark on epic adventure


PHOTO BY STEPHANIE O’HANLEY

Julien Granger (left) and Luc Labelle (right) of Défi Go Fetch in a Montreal restaurant March 25 are waiting for the word to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

Call it the adventure of a lifetime. This May 16 three former Île Perrot residents, Nuka De Jocas McCrae, Julien Granger and Luc Labelle, plan to begin a 9,000 km coastal journey by kayak from Montreal to the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan province.

“The only thing holding us back would be the weather,” said Granger. “If there’s too much wind, we can’t go,” he said. “If it’s the day after, we’re leaving for sure.”

The trio hope to leave from Montreal’s Old Port, each paddling one of three 18-foot expedition kayaks provided by sponsor Epic Kayaks. But they’re waiting for a green light from the Montreal Port Authority.

“We need the authorization,” Labelle said. “We don’t have a confirmation yet.” Dubbed the Go Fetch Challenge (Défi Go Fetch in French), the expedition will take at least 15 months and includes stops in New York City, Miami, Panama City, New Orleans and Corpus Christi. The group has lined up partners on the ground that will help them with their journey.

“We have ground partners all over the coast,” Granger said.

The trio, who are now in their mid- 20s, met in high school. Friends for more than 10 years, the outdoor enthusiasts and travellers know each other well and have complementary skills. Team member De Jocas McCrae is currently working in Yellowknife as a coordinator of French youth activities.

“We postponed the trip for him,” Labelle said. “We have different backgrounds but this is really an opportunity for us to start a new, professional career,” Labelle said. The friends registered Défi Go Fetch as a non-profit organization.

“We wanted to be really serious and professional about it,” Granger said. “Because we are sharing our expedition we want to do talks and conferences about it and meet youth in schools,” Labelle said. “We’ve been visiting schools… We want to promote environmental protection and physical activity.” Added Granger, “We want to promote our passion for the outdoors, that it’s feasible for pretty much anybody…You have a dream, just do it.”

De Jocas McCrae and Labelle have extensive experience working with children and during the trip the trio plans to keep in touch with students from the high schools and elementary schools they’ve visited. A social media platform will let students see the team’s adventures and ask them questions during their journey. Labelle said they plan to use the platform to create educational activities for teachers to do with students, share photos, offer fun facts about animals they encounter and even phone students.

To increase the interactive aspect, he said they’ll ask students to complete fun group activities related to Défi Go Fetch values and to send the team proof. For Défi Go Fetch’s crowdfunding campaign in exchange for donations the trio is asking donors to suggest challenges for them to do.

“Someone suggested that we find three sharks,” Labelle said. Buttons on the Défi Go Fetch website let people donate amounts ranging from $10 to $5,000 in exchange for perks; for instance a $10 donation gets you a personalized email and a photo of the team during the expedition, while for $5,000 you receive a five-day round trip for you and a friend to see the team at its final stop in Ria Lagartos and receive Défi Go Fetch promotional products.

So far they’ve raised more than $2,400 towards a $6,000 goal. While several sponsors are providing materials and deals for gear, new sponsors are welcome.

For more information, or to donate visit www.defi gofetch.com or look for Défi Go Fetch on Facebook.

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