Routes of Change founder and one of Canada’s top explorers Markus Pukonen arrived in Tofino by canoe last week. His sister Jen Pukonen and his nieces Ocea and Rio Green who reside on the Coast joined him for the paddle from Meares Island to Tofino.

Tofino local travels the globe

Pukonen’s self-propelled journey spurs global change

  • Mar. 17, 2016 8:00 a.m.

Nora O’Malley

nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Routes of Change founder Markus Pukonen cruised into Tofino for some rare rest and relaxation before gearing up for the next leg of his epic circumnavigation of the planet without using a motor.

Pukonen, who was named one of Canada’s greatest explorers by Canadian Geographic, kayaked with a friend from Vancouver to Nanaimo, biked to Port Alberni, SUPed the Kennedy River, canoed Kennedy Lake with his sister, and then paddled his way down the Tofino inlet before meeting his nieces and their Dad on Meares Island.

“They got in the canoe with me and my sister and we canoed the last couple kilometres to Tofino. That was awesome,” Pukonen said of his nieces.

Pukonen shared footage and stories from his self-propelled journey across Canada at the Clayoquot Community Theatre on March 9.

“I feel so good. I feel like I’m doing what I was supposed to be doing on this planet and it translates into my body,” he said. “I’ve been surprised at how well my body has held up. I think a lot of that has to do with my mental state.”

Since kicking off his journey in Toronto on July 13, 2015, the intrepid 33-year-old has pogo sticked 10 kilometres through the streets of Winnipeg, ski toured 700 kilometres through the Kootenays, and sailed a trimaran across Lake Superior.

“It’s a pretty interesting boat. It sails if there is wind, but if there is no wind you can paddle it or you can pedal it. The paddling doesn’t really work well because the outriggers get in the way, so I ended up having dead flat beautiful canoeing weather for a lot of Lake Superior and ended up having to pedal this thing. It was hard on my knees,” he said.

“I did get some sailing and some really crazy weather, like ocean sort with two-metre waves. It sort of felt like the West Coast on Lake Superior. There are white sand beaches.”

Pukonen left the West Coast on March 13 from the Tofino Village Green and the next leg of his journey involves sailing a 1968 Alberg sailboat from the California coast to the shores of Hawaii. Pukonen has lined up a friend to sail with and describes their vessel as a well-respected offshore cruising boat built in Whitby, Ontario.

Routes of Change is a non-profit society created by Pukonen as a way to support leaders of positive change in the world. Inevitably, his quest has inspired people to use more sustainable modes of transport.

“My big goal of this trip is to reach the large general public who could care less about the environment or the value behind the environment and sustainable living. To a lot of people that word doesn’t mean much,” he said.

Anyone interested in learning more about Routes of Change or to sponsor Pukonen on his circumnavigation of the planet, can visit: www.routesofchange.org.

Pukonen studied documentary film making at Capilano University with the goal of making a film and webisodes of the Routes of Change project. He’s also writing a book about his five-year expedition around the globe, which incidentally, he told the Westerly is panning out to be more like seven.

“It’s more likely going to be seven years, just looking at the size of the planet. It’s a big planet,” he said with a whimsical smile.

 

 

Just Posted

West Coast fishers see empty seas, demand Pacific Salmon Treaty funding

“Right now, if this continues, I think most fishermen will be bankrupt in a couple of years.”

Ucluelet mayor says pipeline and spill response plan both needed

“We are a society that cannot exist without oil and gas and plastics at this point in time.”

Tofino and Ucluelet host youth soccer tournament

Teams from Port Alberni and Nanaimo travel in for one-day sporting event.

Tofino salmon farmer receives permit to use hydrogen peroxide on sea lice

“Peaceful, direct, action to stop this kind of thing is always a tactic that we could employ.”

VIDEO: Work is play for this B.C. avalanche rescue dog

CARDA certified Joss’s Job is to save lives — but to her, it’s all a game

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

Thieves target B.C. firefighters helping flood victims

The service has been helping with sandbagging efforts, as rural Oliver battles flooding

Housing crisis amplified on Denman Island

High rental prices, density caps, and a shortage of housing stock have led to island-wide struggles

B.C. towns rank in top honeymoon destination worldwide

Vernon, Kaslo, Sunshine Coast and the Island hit Expedia.ca’s list of top 18 honeymoon destinations

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becoming viral video

Olympic gold now official for B.C. weightlifter

Christine Girard’s bronze medal from 2012 Olympics upgraded to gold, IOC announces

Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, debate hasn’t quit

Om April 21, 1918 two Canadians in their canvas-covered Sopwith Camel biplanes engaged the enemy

Most Read