Posted on March 15, 2016
The Red Island of Madagascar materializes out of a clear blue horizon, steadily growing into existence. Its silhouette framed against a night sky as a full moon rises over the island. The ocean, now sheltered by the jutting mass of land, has gone from an onslaught of white capping waves to a glasslike plane. The Wizard’s Eye breaks free, running with the current pushing 8 knots and hurtling us towards another great adventure. I have crossed thousands of miles of ocean and half the planet to finally arrive at a place I have been before; a place with rivers raging from the mountains, a place still rich with exploration, rawness, realness, a place of thick African nights, wood smoke, and dense forests - Madagascar. My dream is being realized as a team of friends - Benjamin Hjort, Isaac Levinson, Taylor Smallwood - and I sail into Africa.
The Wizard’s Eye Expedition is a test for me. The proving grounds of my theory that for any dream to come into existence simply requires one ingredient: action. Throughout my life, I have come against obstacles, created challenges, staged expeditions, and generally have strived to open my mind to all kinds of dreams. I’ve worked hard to bring everything I dream to reality, accomplishing this to a large extent. Not by fortune, but by force of will. Finally, after paddling the tallest waterfall attempted, I had climbed my personal mountain. I accomplished my childhood dream, not of the world record descent, but allowing myself the opportunity to pursue my dream of living life one river to the next. I had succeeded.
My dream had become reality and was a dream no longer. I began asking myself questions: What now? What next? What is it that I truly desire? This of course led to the question: What is the ultimate adventure? What is an expedition so wild that it will bring me to the very edge of my ability? The answer I found was to sail the planet, seeking out and exploring every land I encounter by means of adventure sport, diversifying my experiences and pushing myself far away from my comfort zone. My journey would stage expeditions big and small and create a medium for continuous documentation and storytelling. With a boat, I knew I would have the ability to put at my disposal an array of tools by which to explore, document, and attempt the largest scale adventure sport expedition I could imagine. However, dreaming is just the beginning. Then stems a journey to find the path, which coalesces imagination into existence.
Tyler Bradt holds the current world record for tallest waterfall ever descended in a kayak. For more on his Wizards Eye Expedition, visit wizardseye.tv/.
Benjamin Hjort is a Norwegian adventure photographer who has traveled the globe in search of powder and whitewater. For more of his images check out hjortmedia.com/.