New Book Highlights Paddlers


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Adventurous Lives, Adventurous Dreams (Rocky Mountain Press), a new book by Canada’s Jason Schoonover, is a veritable Who’s Who of 120 living explorer-adventurers recalling the youthful dreams that launched their remarkable lives. While names like Cousteau, Leakey, Ballard, Piccard and Sir Chris Bonington, permeate its pages, paddlers also play an important role, with 23 of the honorees more than at home putting blade to water.

Most importantly, one chapter, RAGING RIVERS, GORGEOUS GORGES, is devoted completely to paddlers, featuring such adventurers as Jerzy “Yurek” Majchercyzyk, who embarked on a two-year river-running rampage throughout Central and South America, notching countless first descents, including one of Peru’s Colca Canyon; as well as Paddling Life’s own Eugene Buchanan, Mikael Strandberg and Steve Van Beek. Elsewhere in the book is a profile on Colin and Julie Angus (Colin has kayaked in Siberia, rowed across the Atlantic and Bering Sea, and plans to kayak from Scotland to Syria next summer).

Elsewhere on the list are such bonafide boaters as Survivorman Les Stroud, Sea Hunter Jim Delgado, Atlantic Ocean crosser Thor Heyerdahl’s right hand man Capt. Norm Baker, Biosphere II co-founder Rio Hahn, and Paramount producer Stratton Leopold.

“Perhaps it’s most accurate to say that 23 of the 120 are paddlers, and all 23 are highly experienced,” says Schoonover. “Common denominators all explorers share is a love of nature, a heightened curiosity and a thirst for adventure. All three are satisfied paddling, so it’s not surprising that many who find success as explorers in other areas return to paddling in their spare time, and that many are outstanding whitewater and tripping paddlers.”

The work took Schoonover three years to produce, with Adventurous Dreams, Adventurous Lives now hitting bookstores in Canada, the US and UK.

A Sampling of Adventurers Profiled

-Canada’s Colin Angus who circumnavigated the world on manpower alone and earlier spent months paddling Siberia’s Yenisey to the Arctic, written about in Lost in Mongolia.

-Sweden’s Mikael Strandberg who did the same on Siberia’s Kolyma

-Les Survivorman Stroud who teaches canoeing and whose show just topped a record 2 million viewers on Discovery US.

-Capt. Norm Baker, Thor Heyerdahl’s first mate on the Ra, Ra II and Tigris reed boats, always at home with anything to do with water.

-Bangkok’s Steve Van Beek—who wrote Slithering about his two-month paddle down Thailand’s Chao Phrya and who has shot more Asian rivers, including in Tibet and China, than anyone.

– Jim Chester, who has kayaked over 2,000 miles along the West Coast Inside Passage and beyond.

-Capt. Joel Fogel who has done the same down the US Eastern Seaboard.

-Jim Sea Hunter Delgado, who is a fish in any kind of water, flat, under or white

– Pat and Rosemarie Keough, authors of a bestselling photo book on the Nahanni River

-Rio Hahn who, as a ten-year-old boy decades before conceiving the Biosphere II project in Arizona, canoed with his father 250 miles down from Hudson Bay

About the Author
Jason Schoonover has been a writer and anthropologist since the 1970s. As an ethnological field collector, his collections are found in museums around the world. His main area of interest is South and Southeast Asia, including the Himalayas. A one-time columnist, he’s widely published in newspapers and magazines, and has a background as an announcer and writer/director/producer in radio and stage. He is a Fellow of The Explorers Club and divides his time between Bangkok, Thailand; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; and the rest of the world. Exploring old fur trade and exploration routes by canoe is a favorite passion. For more information on Adventurous Lives/Adventurous Dreams, email

Staff Post
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.


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