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Calgarian begins three month row across Atlantic

Courtesy: Laval St. Germain

First he tackled Mount Everest — and now an ocean.

Calgary adventurer Laval St. Germain left Halifax Wednesday morning, on a specially designed rowing boat, bound for France.

The three month journey, dubbed the Confront Cancer Ocean Row, is raising money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation and Tom Baker Cancer Centre.

He’s alone out on the water, travelling without an assistance vessel.

“Using oar power only, so no engine, no sail, just my arms and my legs to get me across,” St. Germain said. “I’ll just be at the mercy of the waves.”

His mission control back in Calgary will warn him of changing weather conditions and keep an eye on his vital signs.

St. Germain won’t be getting much sleep, but he does have a plan to keep on course when he needs shuteye: a large underwater parachute.

“And this thing will inflate under the water, and hold me fairly steady even in a strong wind, I’ll only be moving backwards at about one or two knots,” he said.

He also has a radar enhancer.

It makes my little tiny rowing boat look like a big cargo ship, so that other cargo ships pay attention to me.”

St. Germain says there will be many challenges, not the least of which is dealing with isolation.

“Obviously I can’t suffer an injury when I’m on the boat,” he said. “Weather’s the number one thing, and then after that will be shipping traffic as I get closer to Europe.”

He says the attention the expedition is getting is important to fight something that touches everyone’s life in one way or another.

“When you consider that over 40 Albertans everyday are getting that cancer diagnosis, it’s pretty horrific,” St. Germain said.

You can donate to the cause here.