Tuesday, April 29, 2014

CapExpe grants

EN: Last year, in between the Clipperton expedition (the documentary is scheduled on 6 June on Thalassa, France3) Guillaume Bruyr contacted me to have some tips. I couldn't help him much because I had no experience on his road from Belgium to Kazakhstan. I met him at Capexpe the organisation helping low budget expeditions to realize outdoor adventures. Six projects were presented during the evening and the crowd could vote for 3 that got a grant of around 500 EUR.

FR: L'année dernière, entre l'expédition Clipperton (docu prévu le 6 juin sur Thalassa, France3) Guillaume Bruyr me contacte pour avoir des tuyaux. Je ne peux pas beaucoup l'aider car je n'ai aps d'expérience sur sa route de la Belgique vers le Kazakhstan. Je l'ai rencontré au CapExpe, l'organisation qui soutient les projets aventureux à faible budget. Six projets ont été présentés au public qui a voté pour 3 projets qui ont reçu une bourse d'environ 500 Eur.

Friday, April 18, 2014

PlanetSolar in Boulogne sur mer

EN: I'm in France at Boulogne sur mer. I'm attending an evening and talk given by Gerard D'Aboville. I also saw already the PlanetSolar boat and tomorrow I will visit it.

FR: Je suis en France à Boulogne sur mer. J'assiste à un événement et conférence donnée par Gérard D'Aboville. J'ai déjà vu le PlanetSolar et demain je le visite.

UPDATE: I visited this saturday afternoon the inside of the boat.
J'ai pu visiter l'intérieur du PlanetSolar ce samedi après-midi.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Time to comment.

EN: In 2010, I was contacted by Ripley Davenport. I helped him by giving him the blueprints of the key elements to build a desert cart. He wanted to cross Mongolia or part of it unsupported. One of my advice he didn't listen to, and failed on the first attempt (not protecting the bearings, so sand grinded them apparently) as I think he made the cart somehow cheaper, so less strong.
At first when I heard of him and saw his website, I was like... Who is this guy as he pretended to be a renowned explorer. But I helped and I decided one day to drive to Denmark and meet him. I spent there a few hours with him and his family. Good moments. We met again a year later after he moved to Ireland. I spent another good time with different other people.
And then in April 2012 (I think) I got an email from a random American named Kent Madin, who asked me gently if I had seen any documentation about Ripley's past expeditions and he mentioned he wanted to write an article about the fact that today, with the internet, it is possible to create an identity (blogs do want content) and start promoting yourself. I directly called Ripley who told me not to speak to the guy as he was a "madman" trying to get info about his expeditions for several weeks or months already. I said to Ripley I was going to Skype to Mr. Madin and tell him 2 things: a) I have no reason to believe Ripley is not telling the truth but I haven't asked data about his previous expedition claims and b) Please leave Ripley alone.
This is exactly what I did.
But during the Skype, Mr. Madin was very gentle and I felt he was not a bad man, just a man with questions ... I could not answer because he had a lot of experience with Mongolia, I had never been there and he felt things where not true from Ripley's claims during his Mongolian expeditions. I listened to him for 10-15 min. I concluded that if Ripley had proofs he should just give some.
I called Ripley after the call, said the conversation was ok and I said what I said I was going to say (point a+b).
A few weeks later, Ripley's wife called me, somehow with mixed up feelings of being angry on me with sentences like "You came and entered my house!". I calmed her and said I didn't do anything wrong and didn't give info to Mr. Madin as I had none.
A few more weeks later, I noticed Ripley had unfriended me from Facebook. Not a big deal as at the same time I started to receive a few links of information about Ripley from Kent Madin. I received then perhaps 3-4 emails from Madin in the past 2 years. It was hard to believe but the killer argument came by email early 2014 when Madin showed that Ripley had used desert photos from Russian websites to put on his own photo site trying to prove he'd been in these deserts. Until then, I still had hope Ripley wasn't fake and now I believe he has lied to me and many more. He deceived a lot of people I guess. It's hard to change "side". My only side, is the side of the truth. 
Two weeks ago, a compilation of info about Kent Madin came out. I was dubbed a bit like a fight back against Madin being a cyberstalker. I received a long PDF by email, then I saw it was posted on 2 adventure blogs in public.
I've done my research and contacted Madin and 3 other people who knew Ripley better than me. Only 2 replied and what they told me by email and phone was not nice. They are not friends with Ripley anymore either. They are also convinced he is mainly fake. But let's put it this way in short. Kent Madin has taken a lot of time I believe to ask questions about an adventure personality and challenged the claims. If someone is asking me to prove my expeditions' claims, I'll drown the person with information that he would apologize. Apparently Ripley never did. In the process, Madin has potentially found 2-3 other "fake" or liars about past accomplishments. These people and Ripley have teamed up to compile the PDF I received. I even read about 120 people having been contacted in the past 2+ years and that Madin is accused of cyberstalking.
My opinion is that I dunno how Madin did his research. Perhaps he went far sometimes but in my experience, he has ALWAYS been clear with his objective : an article about how someone can today embellish or create its internet profile to...make money (sponsors, ...). But everyone who has read the entire document and the related websites can read facts for himself. The PDF I read and accusing Madin of cyberstalking is in my opinion a mixture of foolish arguments, out of the context, not well structured and wrong. I don't believe Madin cyberstalked anyone. In my opinion, he just asked questions like any curious person would be and of course I believe it's awkward to publish the facts online but if the accused adventurers are really lying, hence making or trying to make money somehow out of the "exploring/adventure" money pot, hence taking potential money away from me by UNFAIR competition (=bullshit and lies), then I have a problem and must somehow agree that the truth must come out and that if the accused explorers/adventurers have been lying to a lot of people, they have only one way out: prove with deep arguments Madin's arguments aren't true and prove their expeditions claims are true OR come with a public apology that they have been lying. Lance Armstrong has done it. I believe he can now better look at his children and people in the street. With the internet days and global communications and with people who cannot bare LIES, someone will always find out. The world we live in can only become better with the truth.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

China Jam with Nicolas Favresse and Sean Villanueva

EN: In their infinite quest for unclimbed big walls, adventurers Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll, Nicolas Favresse, Stephane Hanssens and filmmaker Evrard Wendenbaum traveled in September 2013 to a remote valley in the westernmost region of China. There, they found a beautiful 4000-foot vertical rock pillar.I went to see the film China Jam.
Photo left to Right: Nicolas, Sean, Bob Shepton, Stephane, Jean-Louis Wertz, Evrard.

FR: Dans leur quête infini pour gravir des faces de montagnes, les grimpeurs Sean Villanueva Nicolas Favresse, Stéphane Hanssens et Evrard Wendenbaum ont voyagé en Septembre 2013 vers une vallée reculée dans l'Ouest de la Chine. Là, ils ont trouvé une face de 1300 mètres. J'ai été voir leur film China Jam.