Sailor capturing canoe journey up B.C. coast

The Spirit of The Coast canoeists are out of communication range this week, unable to transmit pictures, video, or even texts and phone calls to regale those back home with anecdotes of their exploration.

But with Don Jonasson along for the journey, many of those cherished memories are being recorded for posterity and future education.

Armed with several video cameras and even two drones, Jonasson is a hobbyist videographer who is travelling alongside Langley’s Brandon Gabriel and the rest of the Spirit team in his 22-foot Catalina sailboat and capturing many highlights from the three-month, 1,300-kilometre journey.

Jonasson, a resident of Anacortes, Wash., has adventured with Spirit’s skipper Chris Cooper before – including two paddling trips through Scotland.

“This trip is going to be even more fantastic than Scotland,” Jonasson said, admitting he did hesitate for a moment when Cooper asked him to take part in this journey.

The delay, Jonasson said, was not a question of his desire to be part of this excursion – far from it.

He was just reluctant to approach his wife Ora with the need to delay a three- to six-month trek across the east coast of Canada and the U.S. in their 25-foot Airstream –  a trip that had already been in the works.

“She was incredibly understanding,” Jonasson said. “So, we leave as soon as I get back, close to Sept. 1.”

Jonasson retired as a school teacher in 2005, and took up video as his “retirement passion” almost immediately.

While he’s filmed and created a number of videos, Jonasson said this will without doubt be the most meaningful and difficult.

“This is not only the most exciting, but challenging,” Jonasson said, explaining that he’s expecting it will take the better part of six months (maybe more) to edit together hours upon hours of  five- to 10-second clips he’ll be taking along the Spirit journey.

Thankfully, with detailed ship logs, GPS, and old-fashion note-taking, he hopes to keep it all organized so that, when he does finally sit down to begin the editing process, he’s not going to have to rely on his memory for much.

“I’m anticipating coming back with 15 to 20 hours of film, at least,” he said. “And the drone is going to add a whole new learning curve.”

He expects post-production work will take 500 hours at least, and said it will be about much more than stringing all the footage together – he will have a story to tell. 

His wife will write music to accompany the video.

“The issue in post-production is to present the story of the trip and the story of the land,” and much of that through the eyes of the people he’s travelling with.

Having travelled with Cooper, and having also sailed up the B.C. Coast line before, Jonasson chose not to shoot from a seat in the canoe this time.

He wanted a different, more encompassing perspective to most of the clips. Since he’s owned his sailboat for the past four years, he knew it would offer not only the different vantage point for his cameras, but extra storage for the crew, and a comfortable bed to sleep in each night.

And to add another perspective to the trip, Jonasson took to the air himself for some clips.

On departure day a month back, floating debris in the fast-moving Fraser River posed too great a risk for his sailboat, so he video-taped the blessing services at the Kwantlen First Nation reserve, then jumped in a helicopter and shot footage of the journey’s commencement at the Kwantlen boat launch, the public bon voyage party at the waterfront plaza in Fort Langley, and a little bit of paddling time along the Bedford Channel.

Cooper is optimistic that the varied filming Jonasson endeavours to gather of the entire journey will ultimately be appropriate for a documentary that could air on the likes of Discovery or Knowledge Network when completed.

“Spirit of the Coast is about awareness, education, culture, environment, and most of all, bringing attention to our beautiful B.C. coastline, and to share with Canadians what an amazing place we have,” Cooper said.

“It is not a protest, but about educating all who have never seen it,” which is why he sees Jonasson’s footage as such an integral part of the effort.

“I love this coastline,” Jonasson said. “I think this is on the top of the list of beautiful places to live.”

He is anxious – like Cooper and the other canoeists participating in the trip – to see it safeguarded and protected for future generations.

• Stay tuned for weekly updates on the Spirit of the Coast journey, which departed Fort Langley on June 1, bound for Alaska.

Just Posted

United voice calls for more senior services in Aldergrove

‘The people here deserve more’ says founder of the local Seniors Resource Fair

Aldergrove’s water park opens to public at discounted rates

Though the pool remains closed, the Township has decided to charge a toonie for admission

Fraser Valley pup trained in Aldergrove co-stars in A Dog’s Journey

Film premiers this weekend, starting Friday in Canadian theatres

Homeless woman unsuccessful in lawsuit against government

A Langley homeless woman tried to sue Victoria and Ottawa

Sea of purple showed support for Langley school’s ALS fundraiser

Students and staff were inspired to fundraise by the plight of a teacher living with ALS.

Jeep totalled, four young people in hospital, after single-vehicle crash in Surrey

Mounties have not ruled out any possible factors in what led to the overnight crash

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Cloverdale Rodeo competition promises to be a ‘nail-biter’ this weekend

New challengers giving returning champions a run for their money

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read