While many freshly christened university graduates escape the ivory tower for a beach, lake or backpacking trip, two Victoria-based brothers are taking their love of adventure to a new extreme, kayaking from Brazil to Florida over the next seven months.
Graham and Russell Henry left for Belém, Brazil on June 10 and won’t be back on North American soil until January.
“I think the biggest hassle has been getting all of our stuff there,” said Russell, 21, before the brothers’ departure.
The seed was planted when Russell was tasked with planning an expedition for his adventure sports certificate class through Thompson Rivers University last year.
Thanks to their father’s love of sea kayaking, the brothers were already naturals on the water.
“We had custom paddles at the age of five,” Russell said.
Early experiences at the YMCA’s Camp Thunderbird in Sooke solidified a love for the outdoors, starting the Henrys on a path that has brought them to their current 6,500-kilometre trek through Amazonian wilderness, heat, isolation and open ocean crossings.
“The biggest and scariest factor is the human factor,” said Graham, 22. “You can pitch a tent on a shoreline, but you don’t know what the next person you see will do or how they’ll react.”
The trip begins at the mouth of the Amazon River, continuing along the South American coastline to Venezuela, where the Henrys don’t expect to hit civilization for up to two weeks.
From there, the brothers turn their sea kayaks, donated by Current Designs, north to island-hop across the Caribbean Sea towards Florida.
When they return, the Henrys plan to use their experience to inspire elementary and high school students to dream big and embrace the outdoors.
“We want to take this trip as a speaking tour across Western Canada to get kids thinking outside the box,” Graham said, adding youth today need to free themselves of an “increasingly bubble-wrapped world.”
To read more about the Henrys’ adventure and follow updates along the way, visit henrykayak.com.