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Paddle to the Ocean

My name is Zac Crouse. I am a musician, recreation therapist, educator and sometimes an expedition sea kayaker.

Recently, with the help of my friend & documentary filmmaker Kelsey Thompson (Locals Only) I filmed my journey from the Ottawa Valley (Beachburg, ON) back home to Halifax, NS. I was by myself for more than half of the 82 day, self-supported trip call Paddle To The Ocean. This trip was accomplished using my sea kayak for the majority of the time, with a couple of bike & trailer assisted portages.

Over the course of the summer and across 4 provinces I was able to paddle my 17-foot boat through everything from class IV rapids to historic canals, play in tidal bores and learn how to use the world’s most powerful tides to assist in my progress. There were more than a few challenges: finding clean drinking water,  a place to camp for the night, or dragging my boat through inter-tidal mud flats - all while filming the whole experience.

The goal of Paddle To The Ocean is to help Canadians realize the benefits of active transportation and to inspire people to lead healthier, more balanced lifestyles. I strongly believe that walking & biking are the most practical, sustainable and accessible ways to improve your physical & mental health, to save money, and get to know your community.

,p>I also chose to use this trip as an opportunity to tour my new solo album. I decided there has to be a better way to spread my music than driving everywhere in a van. Sea kayaking isn’t the most predictable method of transportation, especially considering the tidal currents, huge transport ships and hydro dams I was forced to contend with. But it sure beats blowing all my CD sales money on gas.

My final - and most important - reason for doing Paddle To The Ocean was to remember my friend Corey Morris. Corey was an amazing friend - kind, generous, and fun to go on adventures with. Tragically, Corey died in 2009 while we were kayaking on a creek in NS (Bass River of 5 Islands). I really miss Corey and it was very difficult for me after he died. I used this trip to remember him, but also to help me heal & to deal with the loss of my friend.

I don’t expect that Canadians will see Paddle To The Ocean and decide to start kayaking everywhere. I chose the kayak as my method of travel because it allowed me to tour my music without spending money on gas - and it is what I am most passionate about besides music. I do hope to encourage others to make space in their lives for physical, creative and expressive activities that will improve the quality of their lives. We don’t have to define ourselves so much by the jobs we do for money.

If you would like to see a preview of the Paddle To The Ocean documentary, please go to my website: http://www.zaccrouse.com

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I really want to express my thanks to The Ecology Action Centre & TIC for their support & encouragement. Also, a HUGE “thank you!” to Mike Gibbs of Bike Again. Mike spent a lot of time overseeing the design & construction of the bike trailer I used to tow my sea kayak for almost 200km of portages. I could not have done the trip without his help.

If you want to learn more about making your school or community a better place you can look at the Ecology Action Centre’s Making Tracks manual. Its full of fun games & strategies to teach parents & kids to walk or bike more.

September 8, 2011

 

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Tel: (902) 442-0209
Fax: (902) 405-3716
Ecology Action Centre, 2705 Fern Lane, Halifax, NS B3K 4L3

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