• Stephanie O’Hanley

Former Île Perrot residents begin kayak journey from Montreal to Mexico


PHOTO BY ANDREW BELDING

Luc Labelle (left), Nuka de Jocas-McCrae and Julien Granger (right) leave Montreal’s Old Port as they embark on a 9,000 km adventure.

Last Saturday, May 16, more than 50 people stopped by the Montréal Yacht Club at the Old Port to see former Île Perrot residents Nuka de Jocas-Mc- Crae, Julien Granger and Luc Labelle off as their Défi Go Fetch (Go Fetch Challenge) expedition left on a 9,000 km coastal journey by sea kayak from Montreal to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

First they’ll head to Lake Champlain, then down the Hudson River to New York City. While the gathering started at 9 a.m., by the time the trio left the clock was heading for noon. The long goodbye gave friends and family an opportunity to offer the adventurers, who met over 10 years ago at an Île Perrot high school, emotional support as they embarked on a challenge that will take an estimated 15 months.

“It’s been a good two years since we started working on this,” Labelle told the crowd. “I think you know what we’re doing,” he said to cheers and laughter. “If not, I invite you to visit our website.” Défi Go Fetch’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts will relate news of their adventures, Labelle said. “That’s where will share all the challenges you have given us. We will be delighted to take them on.”

Labelle pointed out Défi Go Fetch’s website lets people see their position as they travel. “You can see we’re progressing, that we’re not staying in the same place and being lazy.” Over the course of the morning a young man smudged and blessed the three 18-foot expedition kayaks, a small girl sat in Granger’s kayak and people chatted, hugged the young men, and took photos.

Labelle told Your Local Journal the three friends stayed up late the night before packing gear into their kayaks. At Labelle’s mom’s home in Île Perrot, they affixed stickers on the kayaks with information about the expedition and kayak names. As de Jocas, Granger and Labelle each held up as small bottle of champagne, de Jocas explained that instead of christening the kayaks by breaking sacrificial bottles of champagne, “We’re going to do this in a more ecological way, we’re going to put some champagne on the kayak and keep the rest for us,” to which someone responded, ‘Don’t drink and drive!’

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