A Montreal woman set off from Halifax on Saturday to make history, attempting to become the first North American woman to successfully row across the north Atlantic Ocean, solo.
Mylène Paquette, who is in her early 30s, left Halifax on her 100-day solo voyage to Lorient, France, in a rowboat propelled only by the rower and the currents.
She will be alone on the long and potentially dangerous journey of 2,700 nautical miles on her boat — Hermel.
"I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. Those who have rubbed shoulders with me over the last few years know how much energy and effort I’ve put into completing this project. It’s a dream that’s finally taking shape. It’s without a doubt the greatest thing I will have accomplished in my life," Paquette said in a news release.
"I hope I’ve thanked all those, both near and far, who have contributed to this project, whether it’s my ground crew or all the people who’ve encouraged me along the way through my social networks. I’m taking all of you with me on my boat."
The North Atlantic is one of the most feared bodies of water, with unpredictable conditions having claimed countless lives over the centuries.
Among the physical and psychological challenges facing Paquette on her epic journey, are winds exceeding 100 km/h and waves up to 12 metres high.
Hermel is specially designed to resist the elements.
The voyage will take Paquette an estimated 1 million strokes, working 12 hours per day to complete the trip in three months.
This is not the ocean rower’s first journey. In 2011, Paquette successfully completed a 1,200-kilometre solo journey from Montreal to the Magdalene Islands.
Paquette was working as a patient care attendant at Sainte-Justine University Hospital in Montreal when a conversation with a sick child in her care prompted her to change her life.
She decided, at the age of 27, to dedicate herself to her newly discovered passion of ocean rowing.
During the journey, Paquette will be sharing video, photos, podcasts and blog posts through her website and social media.
People can follow Paquette on Twitter: @mylenepaquette.