GREENLAND, LAND OF ICE AND THE INVENTORS OF THE KAYAK...

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Eric Chazal claims to belong to the "Apoutsiak" generation; his first books and childhood dreams were about these mysterious and far away people (the story of Apoutsiak, a book written by Paul Emile Victor, recounts the life of an Eskimo (Inuit). It was brought to life by detailed documentaries about Eskimo's lives and their culture).

"The Inuits are the creators of the kayak. Navigating around the country of its origins became obvious and something that had to be done, and which I'm still constantly trying to fathom myself."

On the occasion of the Dordogne Intégrale 2019, Eric discovered the Itiwit Strenfit x500 inflatable kayak. Won over by its rigidity, its glide performance and its compact size once deflated-folded, it fits easily in his luggage on a solo trip in the land of ice at the heart of the climate machine.

#1- The Arctic: a lesson in humility

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"Nature dictates its terms. Men come to terms with it by attempting to adapt. Life is timeless on the roof of the world where the sky meets the ice. Another existence organises itself, wherethose in a hurry do not belong. And I sometimes think I belong here. "

#2- Travelling is about taking the time to meet people

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Taking the time to meet people is also about knowing how to bring it about, seizing the moment without holding back. A kayak is a wonderful travelling companion. It encourages you to respectfully immerse yourself in the areas you travel through. It is a pretext to fortuitous priceless encounters. " Franka Eskimo": Marius and Diana take an amused look at this little Frenchmen that comes every year to play at "Eskimo". They keep track with binoculars of all my comings and goings, from their house at the top of the cliff. They live in a 30 sq. metre two-room flat built in the 1950s. A double-door entrance to the kitchen, which then leads you to the living room come bedroom. Marius has trouble walking and hardly goes fishing or hunting anymore. He no longer has dogs, but he has nevertheless kept is sledges. He spends long hours observing the sea,possibly dreaming of a future that looks likes the past. On the wall of the living room, hangs in a place of prominence a picture him in a kayak. Seal skins are drying on the façade outdoors. Tomorrow morning Diana will go and get water with their jerry cans from the public tap. All housing does not have running water. In winter, life gets complicated: you have to melt the ice. Close to the window at her sewing table, Diana assembles and embroiders "kamiks" (traditional boots), which are white and with pearls for women and black for men.

#3- Qeqertaq 50 km to the west of Saqaqq

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With its 130 inhabitants, Qeqertaq stretches over its island at the entrance of Torssukatak. In summer, life is organised around the canning factory. It's all about boats, navigation, halibut fishing or seal hunting set to a background of icebergs. In the middle of the day, the village seems deserted. The men are at sea. To find a living soul, you have to go to the village hall for a shower, a washing machine, a coffee or at Pilorssuisok, the local mini supermarket.

#4- The children play "Eskimo"

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There are signs of goodwill upon each of my arrivals and departures here, just like at Saqaqq.The children are drawn to my craft, and curious about the materials used. Their desire to come and talk and share a moment, even timidly, remains intact. I often share my picnic with them. They borrow my buoyancy aid and paddles and also play at "Eskimo". 

I've made real friends in Pele, Juanguak and their parents. In their discreet village, at the entrance to an unknown fjord, I like to lay anchor and share their lives of hunter fishermen.

#5- At the heart of the climate machine

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Wandering self-sufficiently in communion with a fragile Nature to be preserved. I campaign for the preservation of Nature and question man's place in it and our impact on the environment.

Eric Chazal

Eric Chazal is a sports teacher by training. He is also a kayak expert, and a rafting, sea kayaking and canyoning guide. Eric has a white water background. He started the activity of competitively descending rivers with the clubs of Cournon in Auvergne and in Pau, winning 2 silver medals at the French national championships in the team event. Several seasons of Nordic skiing marathons and a passion for "Adventure Discovery" kayaking, inevitably lead him to the Arctic. Eric received the Adventure Grand prize for his complete crossing of Nunavik, on foot and by kayak, that is to say, 600 km, entirely self-sufficiently from the Hudson Bay to the Ungava Bay. He has also explored the King's Bay in Spitsbergen and the South of Greenland.

With the Marchois kayak club, I have developed strategies for keeping awake and environmental conservation education through practising physical activities in the great outdoors.

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