The end of the year is always a time to look back on the season that has ended, and it is no exception when it comes to our captains. In 2023, these captains remind us of the scale of our projects, the dedication of our teams and the importance of our programs.
As Alexis Roy-Touchette points out, 2023 began with ambitious shipyard work on the EcoMaris 1, our ‘founding vessel’. Before our team could repaint the ship’s holds, it had to dismantle it for extensive sandblasting, in order to work directly on the metal to prevent corrosion. The boat was then reassembled, just in time for navigation season - which was not affected by any technical problem, which proves that “in the end, our hard work was worth it”. Alexis also praises efforts made by our staff in charge of the shipyard work on EcoMaris 2 - our new vessel that will carry students and eco-tourists in 2024. Our second boat underwent a similar treatment to the EcoMaris 1, with the addition of an extension. EcoMaris adapted the ship to Transport Canada’s highest standards, also adding a mural created by the TYXNA project.
For Chuck Bonnardeaux, 2023 coincides with numerous certifications acquired by some of our crew members. He celebrates the acquisition of five officer's certificates: “I salute these achievements as well as an inspiring season”. Chuck also highlights the return of teenagers on the EcoMaris 1 as part of Ships2Shores expeditions launched in partnership with Broad Reach Canada. He was also thrilled with the trip that took him to the Magdalen Islands with the Brion23 shark-watching expedition.
For Lancelot Tremblay, “it's the end of a magnificent season that took place on rather mild seas”. He reminds us of the importance of EcoMaris’ programs, like Capstan whose efficiency, introspection, teamwork and lasting memories he celebrates. For Lancelot, Capstan is “full of intensity and healing emotions”. As for Native River, he sees the initiative as a means of promoting reconciliation. Captain Tremblay took part in Ships2Shores, which he considers to be one of his favourites of the year.
In 2023, EcoMaris welcomed a new captain. Mylaine Lamarche describes her first Opportunity Road expedition as “nothing short of extraordinary. It was the best trip of my professional life.” She notes that mentors and participants forged strong bonds in a spirit of mutual support that continues to this day. During her first excursion on an all-female boat, she felt a “positive, non-competitive energy; a climate marked by pleasure, comfort and the freedom to be oneself, without outside pressure”. On a personal level, Mylaine was happy to get out of her comfort zone.
Solitary by nature, she was able to open up and benefit from EcoMaris’ social mission, which she greatly appreciated. “It was also a chance for me to reconnect with my first love: tall ships. I'm lucky to have done it on a vessel that serves its purpose so well.” Mylaine is thrilled to join our ranks at a pivotal time in our expansion: “it has allowed me to discover EcoMaris’ professionalism and care for its crews.” As for the river, no one is immune to its beauty: “I let myself be carried along by the mist and the wind (...), finishing anchorages in breathtaking landscapes”.
It seems clear that EcoMaris is ending a season that has captured the hearts of its captains.