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At the end of June, 2015 our friends from Waterlust followed Tripp and Chris Burd as they competed on a 22 foot beach catamaran in the inaugural Race to Alaska, a 750 mile human-powered boat race from Port Townsend Washington to Ketchikan Alaska. Tripp and Chris Burd tested their limits while competing in the first Race to Alaska, a 750 mile human-powered boat race.

Filmed by the Waterlust Team. Follow Waterlust on Instagram @waterlust


As Chris and Tripp Burd were getting ready for their epic 750-mile boating race to Alaska, we sought out a way to make sure that they were prepared in every way possible. We called on a local shaman in the Pacific North West to conduct a spiritual Odyssey with Chris and Tripp. Shaman, Jan Van Ysslestyne taught Chris and Tripp about traditional shamanic blessings and practices that would provide them with safety during their long and arduous journey.


Written by Chris and Tripp Burd.

TRIPP: The whole month of May, Chris and I were preparing a small catamaran for the Race to Alaska. With almost no rules and 750 miles of cold water adventure ahead, we were consumed by logistical challenges. Amidst the stream of gear deliveries, two Sperry boxes arrived.


CHRIS: When we opened our boxes, we still hadn’t the slightest idea where our Odyssey would take us. Bundles of sage, toy sasquatches, birch bark and guidebooks hinted at some sort of outdoor adventure, so our spiritual Odyssey caught me completely off guard.


TRIPP: The experience was eye opening.
CHRIS: Although I’m always open to taking risks, I found myself out of my element.


TRIPP: Any preconceived notions were gone as we took part in an offering to the sea, asking for safe passage during the race. Negative energy was driven from our boat using smoking bundles of herbs as we were taught to communicate with the boat as if she were alive. Jan also taught us the Sacred Seal Song which would allow us to communicate with our surroundings and offer our respect in exchange for safe passage.


CHRIS: I’ve always felt that the outdoors deserves a great deal of respect. This Odyssey taught me how to think about the connection between myself and nature. It also gave me a deeper understanding and respect for our adventure to Alaska.


TRIPP: This was entirely different from anything I’ve ever been exposed to. It was calming to feel that we had prepared ourselves spiritually for our journey. Who knows what will happen after a few days of sleep deprivation? Perhaps the seal song will find its way aboard.


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