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Remy Quinter and crew first to navigate world’s fifth longest river

What: The Yenisey River Expedition

Where: Howe Sound Inn, Squamish

When: 8:30 p.m., Friday, May 31

Why write fiction?

Just travel by dory and raft down the fifth-longest river in the world, and you’ve got one heckuva tale to tell.

Show, and tell, actually, in The Yenisey River Expedition, a documentary filmed in 2001 about the first team to complete the 5,500 km river journey through Mongolia and Siberia on their own power.

The crew of four adventurers – writer Remy Quinter, Ben Kozel, Colin Angus and Tim Cope – were up for a challenge.

Quinter certainly had his chance, travelling not only by kayak, but in a dory, a traditional Russian sailing vessel, from the Hungayn Mountains of Mongolia north into the Kara Sea of Siberia.

"The dory is a very dry, old raft that takes away that ‘invincible’ feeling you might get from kayak," says Quinter, currently training for his third Test of Metal event "just because I like the pain!"

When an original member of the expedition dropped out, Quinter jumped on board. A series of anecdotes about his adventures appeared in the Vancouver Sun , made possible through communication from his journey via Iridium satellite phones.

The trip, which took place from April to September, 2001, ran just two weeks longer than planned.

Previously work with the travel show Sail TV, with Squamish Kayaks, and editing an Amazon documentary served as warm-up to the trip.

"We used different techniques, sometimes shooting from land or attaching a camera to our helmets (while in the kayaks)," he says.

Stories from an earlier motorcycle trip through Copper Canyon, Mexico, might have had been good, but when you’re traversing flood waters in a 2 km wide river flow, the stories go truly Indiana Jones.

"At one point I ended up swimming after our dry bags (100 litre bags used to hold gear and supplies) during a river flood, alongside carcasses floating by. When a bag with all my previous footage (went drifting), Colin Angus, a crewmember, jumped in a kayak and left to go find it," he laughs.

Angus travelled 500 km in his kayak ending up in the town of Suh Batur.

"We ended up catching up to him two weeks later. Some local Mongolian fisherman had found it four days later down the river, waving him in to come pick it up."

But they just let him go?


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