Friday, April 18, 2014

PlanetSolar in Boulogne sur mer

EN: I'm in France at Boulogne sur mer. I'm attending an evening and talk given by Gerard D'Aboville. I also saw already the PlanetSolar boat and tomorrow I will visit it.

FR: Je suis en France à Boulogne sur mer. J'assiste à un événement et conférence donnée par Gérard D'Aboville. J'ai déjà vu le PlanetSolar et demain je le visite.

UPDATE: I visited this saturday afternoon the inside of the boat.
J'ai pu visiter l'intérieur du PlanetSolar ce samedi après-midi.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Time to comment.

EN: In 2010, I was contacted by Ripley Davenport. I helped him by giving him the blueprints of the key elements to build a desert cart. He wanted to cross Mongolia or part of it unsupported. One of my advice he didn't listen to, and failed on the first attempt (not protecting the bearings, so sand grinded them apparently) as I think he made the cart somehow cheaper, so less strong.
At first when I heard of him and saw his website, I was like... Who is this guy as he pretended to be a renowned explorer. But I helped and I decided one day to drive to Denmark and meet him. I spent there a few hours with him and his family. Good moments. We met again a year later after he moved to Ireland. I spent another good time with different other people.
And then in April 2012 (I think) I got an email from a random American named Kent Madin, who asked me gently if I had seen any documentation about Ripley's past expeditions and he mentioned he wanted to write an article about the fact that today, with the internet, it is possible to create an identity (blogs do want content) and start promoting yourself. I directly called Ripley who told me not to speak to the guy as he was a "madman" trying to get info about his expeditions for several weeks or months already. I said to Ripley I was going to Skype to Mr. Madin and tell him 2 things: a) I have no reason to believe Ripley is not telling the truth but I haven't asked data about his previous expedition claims and b) Please leave Ripley alone.
This is exactly what I did.
But during the Skype, Mr. Madin was very gentle and I felt he was not a bad man, just a man with questions ... I could not answer because he had a lot of experience with Mongolia, I had never been there and he felt things where not true from Ripley's claims during his Mongolian expeditions. I listened to him for 10-15 min. I concluded that if Ripley had proofs he should just give some.
I called Ripley after the call, said the conversation was ok and I said what I said I was going to say (point a+b).
A few weeks later, Ripley's wife called me, somehow with mixed up feelings of being angry on me with sentences like "You came and entered my house!". I calmed her and said I didn't do anything wrong and didn't give info to Mr. Madin as I had none.
A few more weeks later, I noticed Ripley had unfriended me from Facebook. Not a big deal as at the same time I started to receive a few links of information about Ripley from Kent Madin. I received then perhaps 3-4 emails from Madin in the past 2 years. It was hard to believe but the killer argument came by email early 2014 when Madin showed that Ripley had used desert photos from Russian websites to put on his own photo site trying to prove he'd been in these deserts. Until then, I still had hope Ripley wasn't fake and now I believe he has lied to me and many more. He deceived a lot of people I guess. It's hard to change "side". My only side, is the side of the truth. 
Two weeks ago, a compilation of info about Kent Madin came out. I was dubbed a bit like a fight back against Madin being a cyberstalker. I received a long PDF by email, then I saw it was posted on 2 adventure blogs in public.
I've done my research and contacted Madin and 3 other people who knew Ripley better than me. Only 2 replied and what they told me by email and phone was not nice. They are not friends with Ripley anymore either. They are also convinced he is mainly fake. But let's put it this way in short. Kent Madin has taken a lot of time I believe to ask questions about an adventure personality and challenged the claims. If someone is asking me to prove my expeditions' claims, I'll drown the person with information that he would apologize. Apparently Ripley never did. In the process, Madin has potentially found 2-3 other "fake" or liars about past accomplishments. These people and Ripley have teamed up to compile the PDF I received. I even read about 120 people having been contacted in the past 2+ years and that Madin is accused of cyberstalking.
My opinion is that I dunno how Madin did his research. Perhaps he went far sometimes but in my experience, he has ALWAYS been clear with his objective : an article about how someone can today embellish or create its internet profile to...make money (sponsors, ...). But everyone who has read the entire document and the related websites can read facts for himself. The PDF I read and accusing Madin of cyberstalking is in my opinion a mixture of foolish arguments, out of the context, not well structured and wrong. I don't believe Madin cyberstalked anyone. In my opinion, he just asked questions like any curious person would be and of course I believe it's awkward to publish the facts online but if the accused adventurers are really lying, hence making or trying to make money somehow out of the "exploring/adventure" money pot, hence taking potential money away from me by UNFAIR competition (=bullshit and lies), then I have a problem and must somehow agree that the truth must come out and that if the accused explorers/adventurers have been lying to a lot of people, they have only one way out: prove with deep arguments Madin's arguments aren't true and prove their expeditions claims are true OR come with a public apology that they have been lying. Lance Armstrong has done it. I believe he can now better look at his children and people in the street. With the internet days and global communications and with people who cannot bare LIES, someone will always find out. The world we live in can only become better with the truth.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

China Jam with Nicolas Favresse and Sean Villanueva

EN: In their infinite quest for unclimbed big walls, adventurers Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll, Nicolas Favresse, Stephane Hanssens and filmmaker Evrard Wendenbaum traveled in September 2013 to a remote valley in the westernmost region of China. There, they found a beautiful 4000-foot vertical rock pillar.I went to see the film Chian Jam.
Photo left to Right: Nicolas, Sean, Bob Shepton, Stephane, Jean-Louis Wertz, Evrard.

FR: Dans leur quête...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

BANFF Brussels

EN: I went to the the BANFF tour. This year I also did a 4 minute short slideshow about my most important expeditions.
FR: Jai été voir le BANFF tour. Cette année j'ai montré durant 4 minutes un résumé de mes expés principales.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

New Belgica second visit

EN: Over 2 years ago I visited the start of the building of the LA BELGICA replica names New Belgica. There is progress and it's hard to estimate when the ship will be completed. Several photos from the expeditions were added and you can see them in my New Belgica Album.

FR: Il y a plus de 2 ans, je visitais le début du chantier de LA BELGICA, enfin de sa réplique New Belgica.Il y a du progrès et c'est difficile de savoir lorsque le navire sera achevé. Dans le hangar, plusieurs photos de l'expédition en Antarctique ont été ajoutées. Vous pouvez en voir sur mon Album New Belgica.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Show of the desert cart

EN: As ambassador of my hometown Mouscron, during the event called "Wallonie Bienvenue", the Simpson desert trek cart I designed was shown this weekend. I did not get it out of the garage since 2009 for the same event but I couldn't even see it as I was going to the Everest at that time.

FR: En tant qu'ambassadeur de ma ville d'origine Mouscron, j'ai exposé la charette du désert conçue pour le trek à travers le désert de Simpson. La dernière fois que je l'avais sortie c'était pour le même événement en 2009 sans avoir su aller la voir puisque j'étais en direction de l'Everest.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Expedition carts

EN: Home! I spend my time sorting things out and continuing preparing 2014. I will not do an expedition in 2014 but perhaps do what British adventurer Alastair Humpreys calls "microadventure". In my opinion, he gave a short name to what may people do already for hundreds of years : "have a short time in the outdoors doing something out of the ordinary"; from a small hike to a place we have never been, to a weird new experience like camping in a cave or trying urbex (urban exploration). This is why is hashtagged my last post  (below) #microadventure that brought 4 guys in a remote ghost town and one Brit doing slacklining. Coming back to Alastair, he emailed me last year to have some input to built a desert cart. Fastforward today, I watched the film about his desert hauling expedition and trust me on this. I found it a poetic adventure and well balanced story with superb images, people and the feeling of walking into the empty quarter expressed by Alastair and his Irish mate Leon McCarron. A good watch you can buy from the website Into the Empty Quarter.
Today, I will contribute to a paper written by explorer Cameron Smith about designing Mars Carts.

FR: A la maison! Je passe mon temps à ranger mes affaires et préparer 2014. Je ne ferai pas d'expédition en 2014 mais peut-être certaines microaventures, terme introduit par l'aventurier Anglais Alastair Humpreys. Seon moi, il donne un nom plus court à ce que beaucoup de personnes font càd : "faire une sortie de plein air ou quelque chose qui sorte un peu de l'ordinaire"; comme une rando vers un lieu jamais visité ou faire une nouvelle expérience comme camper dans une cave ou essayer l'urbex (exploration urbaine). C'est pour cela que j'ai étiqueté mon dernier post avec le hasttag #microadventure qui a amené 4 gars dans une ville fantôme reculée de l'Argentine. Un Anglais y faisant même du slackline. Pour revenir à Alastair, il m'a fait un mail l'année passée pour demander des conseils pour construire une charette pour traverser un désert. Quize mois plus tard, aujourd'hui, je viens de visionner son documentaire sur son expédition dans le désert d'Oman. Je l'ai trouvé poétique, bien monté avec de belles images et une histoire qui tient bien la route. On y retrouve des rencontres intéressantes et des moments intéressants où les deux aventuriers expriment leurs sentiments. Bravo à Alastair et son coéquipier Irlandais Leon McCarron. Un bon film à acheter sur le site Into the Empty Quarter. Cet après-midi, je contribuerai à un essai écrit par l'explorateur Cameron Smith sur le design de charettes pour Mars.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Slackline Epecuen urban exploration

EN: With 3 backpackers, we rented a car a drove 570km out of Buenos Aires to visit the ghost town of Villa Epecuen in Argentina. We explored the destroyed town for 3 hours including some slacklining near a playground. Tomorrow I fly back to Europe and home to finish my year in the Americas.

FR: Avec 3 baroudeurs, nous avons loué une voiture pour aller à 570km en dehors de Buenos Aires pour visiter la ville fantôme Villa Epecuen en Argentine. Nous avons exploré la ville détruite pendant 3 heures et même fait un peu de slacklining. Demain, je prend mon vol vers l'Europe et je reviens chez moi. C'est la fin de mon voyage aux Amériques.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mark Kalch and Usain Bolt

EN: I caught up with Aussie-Austrian Mark Kalch living currently in Buenos Aires. We talked for 4 hours about previous and future kayak expeditions, adventurers and how we both try to get a little bit of the sponsoring cake to get us to the next expedition. Conclusion is that it's still very hard to find decent sponsors, especially cash even if we both do (what we believe) genuine interesting expeditions. But none of us will quit our passion! And when I went back to my hostel, I just passed through a crowd and saw a sweaty Usain Bolt with just his guards between me and him. Not a bad day.

FR: J'ai revu l'Australien-Autrichien Mark Kalsh qui vit actuellement à Buenos Aires. Nous avons discuté pendant 4 heures de nos expéditions passées et futures en kayak, des aventuriers et de comment on essaye d'attrapper un petit morceau du cake du sponsoring permettant de faire notre prochaine expédition.  En conclusion, cela reste difficile de trouver des du sponsoring décent, surtout en cash même si nous faisons (notre avis) des expéditions intéressantes et authentiques. Mais on ne quittera pas notre passion pour autant! Ensuite sur le retour vers mon auberge, je suis passé à travers un foule de gens et je me suis retrouvé à 2 mètres de Usain Bolt qui suait encore de sa course. Il était entouré de ses gardes. Pas un mauvaise journée!