The Way of the Wolf: Kayaking ‘Round the Gap

Frank Wolf kayaking

Adventuring season is just around the corner, and I have a doozy to kick things off this year.

Right now, adventurer Mark Sky is in the midst of a self-propelled mission to cycle from his home in Squamish, BC to Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua, on a two-year mission he’s calling the Squagua Expedition. Along the way, he’s climbing to the summit of the highest peak in every state and country that he passes through.

I met Mark last year at the VIMFF where we were both doing presentations on previous adventures. We hit it off and I thought, “Hmmm, one day I may just do an adventure with this fella.” I since followed his adventure on Instagram and on Facebook and kept in touch with him throughout.

He’s now approaching the Darien Gap—the swampy, roadless and notorious border zone between Panama and Colombia. In order to avoid this area, he’s decided to paddle the coastline around it. This is where I come in.  I’ll be flying down to join him for this section in mid-March, bringing with me a couple of TRAK folding kayaks.

Meeting him in Panama City, we’ll assemble our kayaks and begin the 800 kilometre journey by portaging around the first part of the Panama Canal into Gatun Lake from where we’ll make our way to the Caribbean Sea and then down the coast to Cartagena, Colombia.

It will be hot and humid, and much of the coastline will be choked with jungle and mangroves. In order to camp along the way we’ll be utilizing a pair of Hennessy Deep Jungle Zip Hammocks to keep us cool, high, dry and mosquito-free. These lightweight, easy-to-deploy shelters will be ideal for the tropical landscape we’ll be passing through.

We’ll pick up local food in villages as we go, but we will also have on a hand a week’s worth of Happy Yak Freeze Dried food to fill the gaps where needed (the Shrimp Curry is exceptional), cooked up on my trusty MSR Whisperlite International stove. For drinking water we’ll be using the tried-and-true MSR Miniworks EX Purifier System to combat the various bacteria and viruses that exist in the fresh water there.

We’ll be propelling the Trak 2.0 kayaks with Werner Ikelos paddles and wearing Kokatat Neptune Life vests outfitted with Tributary Hydration systems. To keep gear accessible on the deck, we’ll use North Water peaked deck bags and have their PFD Sea-Link tow systems as part of our rescue kit. Our gear will be kept dry with a selection of Sealline’s finest dry bags, colour coded and packed in liked sardines around us, with a robust Sealline deck bag on the back deck with our camping essentials to quickly deploy when we land.

The adventure will be a cultural odyssey mixed with rough seas, crocodiles, mosquitoes and stunning scenery… all in the name of adventure, discovery and helping to make Mark’s Squagua dream trip a reality.

You can follow our progress on Mark’s social media and follow my Haiku map tracker at




2 thoughts on “The Way of the Wolf: Kayaking ‘Round the Gap

  1. Awesome story!

    The Tracker doesn’t appear to be functional, however!

  2. What an incredible adventure they are doing, quite impressed by this.