The Point du Raz with the kitesurf for 500 days of detention of two french journalists Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier.
To mark my solidarity and support for Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier, as well as for their three guides, yesterday I crossed the Pointe du Raz (Brittany, France) with the portraits of both journalists on my kite. Besides I am first one that way to mark the 500 days of their detention by passing the most dangerous point spots of the world.
The sea is the symbol of freedom!
After leaving the Ile de Sein (France) I have entered archipelago of the Glénan and have started my crossing of famous Pointe Du Raz which is situated at the end of the Britanny peninsula. Point du Raz is famous for strong currants and the possibility to cross it is only during the hight tide. The point has high respect of every sailor in the world.
Yesterday with North-northwest wind direction which was rising from 12 up to 20 knots I have realizes the first in the kite world crossing of the Pointe du Raz, Brittany.
To be the first one for an exceptional cause
No one ever before dared to cross the Pointe du Raz in kitesurf. It is a world first crossing. The crossing has been accompanied by the “free the hostages” project for two french journalists that has been captured in Afganistan. Today, friday 13, 2011 is 500 days since Hervé and Stéphane have been kidnapped. I have printed the photo of two journalists on my kite and lycra and have decided to cross the famous and one of the most dangerous points in the world to deliver the message and rise up the hope in people heart and ask for the best to happen: release the hostages.
Bruno Sroka: adventurous kitesurfer
I am not a simple kitesurfer. Beyond my phenomenal sports prize list, I am the first man in the world that crossed Cape Horn with kite in April 2008. I made it through in a little less than 10 hours a distance of 186 kilometers in one of the most dangerous seas of the planet and had to face winds of about 80km/hour and waves as high as 4m.
Besides, I have realized another big project “The way of peace”. In january 18th, 2009 I connected Jordan, Israel and Egypt with kite to deliver a peace message to three governments. The day before the project they have stopped the fire in Palestine. By this project I wanted to unite the sportsmen and mobilize our thoughts to peace of the counties. For this project I chose to print the blue dove on my kite which I thought would perfectly represent the peace and will destroy all those that wants the anger to continue. Deep in my heart I know that my flying dove have reached its goal.
More info will be posted in couple hours.
This project began few months ago when I saw poster of both journalists with encouraging words: free the hostages. The very same second I said to myself that it would be great idea if I could militate for this cause and say my own message for letting the hostages free. A few months later, I found in Brest a team of 10 people that was craving to realize the same first world wide records: Pointe du Raz crossing, the crossing between Sein and Les Glenans and a crossing with the particular message for liberating two french kidnapped journalists in Afganistan. Every detail counts and the smallest error could lead everybody to a failure.
The morning of 12th of May I check through the last organization list and making sure that all the team members are ready to act and has the last references of the project.
The prognosis has been previewed as sunny but with changeable winds at the depart. The way of Raz de Sein seems quite difficult since there is a very little wind expected.
We arrived by boat to the Ile de Sein(Brittany,France), the small island that is planted in front of the famous and all sailers known Pointe du Raz. I started to get ready for the crossing and making sure that my kite gear is perfectly setup and will be ready in the use of any possible condition. Pointe du Raz is the kind of place where the surprises and unknown water/wind conditions waits for you in every single move.
Before every project the pressure and the tension rises in no time. “It is impossible to fail since the cause is too important for me to give up”
The departure is complicated. Seaweeds stops me from gaining speed and from going out into the ocean. Therefore, the only possible solution is to walk along lower deck into the water with my kite flying in the air and this way move closer to the excite of the bay. The winds were missing and a boat was ready there to tow me out. A bunch of dolphins turns around the boat and accompanies our departure. That was a little stage of mind that dropped the tension. Now it is for sure: everybody on the boat feels the same magnificent feeling and believes in the success of the project. And from then on the start begins
The TV team warns the helicopter team to be ready: we depart …
2- The crossing:
I have started my departure of the project by stepping on my board and immediatly took the direction of the Pointe du Raz. The first few minutes of sailing are full of information that I will be using to understand and follow the weather conditions: the strength and the direction of the wind, the currents. The first sensation is not very optimistic. The winds are very light and I need constantly move my kite and work hard with my board that I could get the speed.I have the timing that is very important for this project. No time can be wasted.
I see the Pointe du Raz in the horizon and every movement that I do on the water brings me closer and closer to it. I have never passed the point by boat or kite before. I find the feeling in myself of the Cape Horn crossing and all that is unknown and undiscovered lies in front of me. Imagine yourself in the mountains and you don’t know how to climb but you are in the nature and you are obliged to find the way to go up that cliff. In this case you need to find the unique way, the path that nature gives you. This is exactly what I am thinking at the moment. I am there and I don’t know how to do it but I follow what the nature path is showing me. I am concentrated and ready to absorb all the necessary information in addition to pass successfully the point.
The currents are getting stronger and stronger which is a bad sign for me and the wind is blowing in the same direction which means it will be more difficult for me to keep up with the planing. Though in my mind I keep the strange but strong understanding feeling that I am the only one that will cross the point by kite. This feeling is magnificient indeed. Sometimes we don’t have to travel far to realize the unique things.
I am coming closer and closer to the lighthouse de la Vieille which marks the crossing line of the point. The ocean becomes bubbly surface and I can see lots of movement of the water everywhere. I see the lighthouse in the line with me and I see the way I pass it. Right after passing it the water immediately calms dow and turns into the lake like. The currents were so strong and now there is no more chop left. One hour more and the Pointe du Raz could be impossible to cross by boat. If the weather conditions would bring the waves of 4meters at the Point du Raz it would rise up a double size.
This crossing divides into two parts: the Pointe du Raz first crossing in the world by kite (which is technicaly the most complicated) and the second part is the long distance to les Glenan island. There is 40 nautical miles straight line left to the finish but unfortunetly the north wind direction will make my journey up to 70 nautical miles in zig zag way.
The other difficulty that I am approaching is to keep the power and the effort to continue as well as the mental will to do not give up. I need to stop to think about it if I want to continue. I do not see the point of Penmarc’h which marks the half way of the crossing. In this case I need to continue without wondering how much it is left till half way and what is the total distance that I will need to go through. It is true that you get more motivation to move forwards when you see the marks that you pass.
I continue to keep my high concentration on whats going on in the water. I need to slalom between the jellyfishes (which some of them are almost 1m by length) and the seaweed as well as the chop of the water. I keep the balance and try to do not fall of the board.
Luckily the wind picks and makes my task more easier because I don’t need to move my kite and try to keep it in the air.
Finally in the distance I spot the point of Penmarc’h lighthouse. It is the first sign that I have been waiting for and from then on I can estimate my distance and time that I have dealt with and the distance and the time that I have to deal with. There should be around 7 p.m. and there is another two hours to sail before I will reach the destination spot. The earth, I see the earth of Penmarc’h point. Since I get closer to it I sense the same feeling as before. The chop, the movement of the ocean, the bubbly waters. During this part it gets difficult to sail and I need to cope with my tiredness as well.
Reaching the direction of Les Glenans I know that it is the last part of the route that is left for me to follow. The more I sail the less of energy I have. I feel the legs and arms are getting very tired and I have to organize my thoughts and motivation. It gets more and more difficult to fight with tiredness. But there is no chance that I will stop. I could not bear to loose and let down my project and the expectation of all of those that have been following me through this. I do not give up before I reach the goal!
At 9 p.m. finally I spot the les Glenans in the distance and with every movement that I do I get closer to the islands and in a while what was only the little spot in the horizon suddenly becomes the real earth, the boats docked at the harbor, the houses… I know by now that I have completed the journey that lasted for almost 70 nautical miles or about 130km . The boat follows me into the harbor and I feel as light as I could be, the pain is gone and smile appears on my face.
I am extremly happy to reach my goal: to cross the water for Herve and Stephane and in this way make all of us to believe that they will be released. I hope that the symbol of the freedom of the waters will brig the freedom for the hostages. I feel tired but do not loose the hope for them.
We take the little break and time to eat together and talk about the project over the little dinner at les Glenans. Then at 10p.m. we are ready to take the long way back to Brest by boat.
3- The retour
We are out of les Glenans harbor at about 10p.m. and heading the direction of Brest city. The winds and currents are going against us which makes the temperature at 0°C. Imagine yourself after sailing for several hours going back in a cold of night, feeling yourself stiffed. The swell that we go against doesn’t allow us to realx not even for the second. We sit and bounce over every single wave and if not we need to stand up and hold on that we would not fall of the boat. Nobody can talk or think. Everyone on the boat dreams of the only thing: to reach Brest city as soon as possible. We have to watch into the night and see if there is no danger in front of us.
After 5 hours we reach Brest at 3:30a.m. We all are frozen, tired and pleased that the project successfully have been completed.
I would like to take a moment to thank everybody around me that helped me and believed in my project. Without you the project would not be possible to complete!
Iroise evasion - which accompanied me by boat
Incidence sur Brest for printing out the portraits of the hostages on my kite
L’île de l’impression qui m’ont sérigraphié le tissu.
Et le soutient de FRance 3 Iroise.
Big thanks to the photographers in the boat and in the helicopter, for the safety guard and for everybody that came with me along this journey.