Blog 1
Ouch, my pride!
August 30th, 2009 - by: Benjamin Jordan - Location: Channel-Basques
Since ABOVE+BEYOND's mental conception, the thought of crossing the Cabot Strait, a 120km stretch of Atlantic Ocean separating the mainland from Canada's east-most province of Newfoundland, was never something I was comfortable considering for more than ten second intervals.

Folks couldn't help but ask, "You're not going to fly across to Newfoundland ..are you!?" and my pre-programmed answer was. "No, not without a safety boat." This kept most people happy, but something about saying that left me unhappy. It wasn't until after my first day of actually looking for fast, sea-worthy boats in Baddeck that the in-authenticity of what I had been speaking all this time's smell could no longer be masked.

Imagine someone saying they would leap off that big building next-door once they had found a safety net they could trust to catch them. If they found a net, they'd probably want to keep looking. Most likely you they would never find the time to go out looking for that first one. Down the road, if someone asked them what happened to that stunt, they have an easy out "I never did find that net" ..or "The nets I had access to were a little small"

Well here I was a couple days away from the potential crossing, not having lifted as much as a finger to find a suitable boat beforehand. The boats I was finding were too slow. Something I could have easily discovered before setting out on the trip was that a sea-worthy craft capable of 30+ knots sustained for two+ hours was not a likely find unless I were flying with an illegal substance and had the RCMP on my tail.

It occurred to me that committing to the crossing, regardless of available support was what I should have done, and the only thing I could do if the universe were to provide me with the safety net I would need to make it happen, no matter in which form it came.

And there it was. I was destined to fly it. No excuses. Somehow I had come to a place where I was prepared to risk everything to include this last chunk of the fundraiser within my obsessive World Distance Record setting efforts. I was prepared to die for it and suddenly peace was upon me.

For five nights I could hardly eat or sleep. Crossing was all that mattered. My search continued and after 25 calls to sea-men, I begun calling private and commercial aeroplane pilots. Everyone was interested. Everyone wished me luck. But in the end there was no one to accompany me.

A calm after Hurricane Bill permitted Ryan and I to fly North 120 km to Bay Saint Lawrence, the incredibly beautiful Northeast tip of Cape Bretton island. Upon launch from Baddeck, a generous boat-tour opperator by the name of John Langely leant me a marine radio with which I could communicate with the coast-guard and a "survival suit" ..bright orange, the kind crab-fishermen wear when the seas become rough.

The bus was booked on to the ferry crossing 48 hours from our arrival and I would have two days within which to fly before loading my gear onto the bus and taking the ferry over. The first day grew winds of up to 60 km/h creating impossible launch conditions. The second day, I was airborne, but from high up I could see the cold-front daring me to cross it's fierce wall of rain and was scared back to the gusty coastline. I had tasted it, and though I wasn't sure what it was, I wasn't prepared to let it go. The winds looked alright for the next day and as if the universe was aligning itself, the ferry bumped us back one day later due to over-bookings caused after the Hurricane Bill service slowdown.

The next day came, and with it clouds of rain and the worst conditions we'd seen yet. "Just kidding" Mother Nature snickered. We all waited. I stared at it. The horizon, the other side, that which I thought I had tasted. But my time was up. The light was depleting and our ferry was departing from a three hour drive south. I hid on my bed in the back of the bus. This was not the end of the trip, but it was the end of my precious world record, roughly 1000 km less than I had originally set out to conquer. In my mind they had fused into one and, for a time and summed up my entire existence.

Yesterday's flight from Chanel-Port-Aux-Basques was one of the most beautiful of the entire summer (though I always say that) and replenished my heart with the various reasons I had originally conceived of the ABOVE+BEYOND concept: Photography, Flight and Philanthropy.

What I had tasted yesterday was bitter pride. Today and tomorrow we feast upon love and life.

Thank you endlessly to all of our supporters.