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Last updateFri, 20 Sep 2019 10am

Former Drumheller woman sails around the globe

1.Sailboat Sea Turtle2.Judy and Jordan

While growing up and living in Drumheller for 40 years, the last thing Judy Hansen thought she would ever do was to sail around the world. After all, Drumheller is a long way from any seafaring influence. But life has its way of unfolding.
     After raising a family in her home town and then finding herself single, she decided to make a brave move that would fulfill the longing of living by the sea. So after saying goodbye to her two grown children and parents Glen and Shirley, she packed up and moved to Victoria, BC.
     After a few years in her new place, we met a couple of times; actually it was in the elevator of the building we both lived in. There must have been a spark because a date ensued. During that first date I made it clear I wouldn’t be around long as my plans were to sail around the world so if that was not an option for Judy, there wouldn’t be much sense in dating further.
     Judy reacted with surprising enthusiasm and a romantic relationship quickly developed as well as the plans for the romantic adventure of sailing the seven seas.
     As a married couple, we soon purchased a 35-foot sailboat that we named “Sea Turtle” and refitted it suitable for our life of open ocean sailing. Then on a foggy day in September 2009, we cast off the dock lines and headed off to discover distant and exotic parts of the world.
     Originally I thought it would take about 5 years to circumnavigate the planet but with no deadlines to adhere to, as such an adventure deserves, our meandering route took nine years, nine months, and nine days before we finally sailed back into our home port of Victoria. We had put a distance of over 50,000 nautical miles (93,000 km) “under the keel.”
     I like to tell people that’s about the equivalent of travelling 1/4 of the way to the moon.
     Our circumnavigation was “west-about” which eventually had us transiting through the Panama Canal. At that point, it was a very significant event as it was where we crossed our outbound track laid over nine years previously. We then gained the covetous and rare title of circumnavigators.
     The question we are asked the most is “Where was your favourite place?”
     “It’s hard to say which the favourite place was because the experiences and sites were so diverse but equally amazing,” said Judy.
     Our wanderings took us to some of the most remote and exotic destinations such as the unusual Galapagos Islands. Another was Easter Island, in a most isolated part of the South Pacific, made extraordinary because of the puzzling huge stone heads that the ancients carved. Or our trek into the jungles of Borneo to come face to face with endangered and majestic Orangutans.
     The diversity of sights and experiences were great. Once in the remote fjords of southern Chile, we touched Sea Turtle’s bow to a gigantic iceberg that had just broken off an imposing glacier. Then months later while at a south island of Vanuatu, we sat in awe on the rim of a bubbling volcanic caldron while molten lava shot high into the night sky.
     Our adventures included many overland, excursions mostly done on motorcycle either rented or purchased. We crisscrossed the Andies from Columbia to the headwaters of the Amazon. Asia saw us tooling through roads less travelled in both north and south Vietnam, the interior of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. We rode a classic Royal Enfield motorcycle through the canyons and peaks of the Himalayas, most of the time under the eye of the Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world.
     From Asia, our westward journey took us past India, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean before returning up the west coast of North America where we finished that epic journey to a homecoming of waving friends on the breakwater at home port.
     The experience wasn’t all relaxing with sundowners in hand but at times was really roughing it. I really relate to Hunter S. Thompson’s approach to life when he said “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow! What a ride!”
    I couldn’t have asked for a better and more enthusiastic first mate than this little gal from Drumheller to not only share my life with but to have shared in my lifelong dream of sailing around the world.
     For more stories with several photos, check out our blog:

Candidates line up for Federal Election

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With the 2019 Federal Election expected on October 21, political parties in the area are getting organized.
     Damien Kurek has won the nomination to represent the Conservative Party of  Canada (CPC) in the Battle River-Crowfoot Constituency, and while the Liberal and NDP have yet to announce local candidates, the Green Party and the upstart People’s Party of Canada (PPC) have fielded candidates.
    In alphabetic order, David Michaud of the PPC and Geordie Nelson of the Green Party have stepped forward to represent their parties.
    Michaud, originally from Ontario now resides in the most northern part of the riding, in Beaver County. His military career spanned more than 22 years and he participated in three UN peacekeeping operations. After he completed his service he made it a goal to come back to Alberta. Currently, he is a commissionaire working as Military Police Dispatcher. This is his first time running in politics.
    “During the early part of
2017, my cousin in Ontario, Betty-Anne Brown, and I were trying to start a new political party to get Canada back where it belongs - into the people’s hands. So, naturally, we were calling it the People’s Party of Canada, however, we never got the name registered,” he said. “Then, when Maxime Bernier officially started a party with the same name, I checked it out, and it is exactly what I was wanting to do. It was, as they say, a no-brainer decision.”
    Some issues he feels strongly about are the need to build pipelines to get Alberta resources to market, he is also concerned with the targeting of the beef industry and taxes.
    “As I’m sure most Canadians feel, the ever-increasing taxation being imposed on us, especially since as a result of the carbon tax, almost everything, if not everything has also increased in price. Coupled that with the massive federal debt the Liberals keep increasing, and Canada, under either of the other parties plans will not be able to recover,” he said, adding he would also like to see changes to equalization.
    “Equalization payments made by the federal government to the provinces must be re-worked to make it fair for all provinces and territories. As it works right now, Quebec gets the lion’s share of the funding, which is not only unfair to the rest of Canada, but to Quebec residents as well.”
    He understands that Battle River-Crowfoot has been a stronghold for the Conservative Party.
      “What we need the people to do is vote for the conservative issues, not the Conservative name,” said Michaud.
     Green Party candidate Geordie Nelson is originally from Ottawa but grew up in the riding. He graduated from the University of Alberta Augustana Campus with a Bachelor of Sciences in environmental sciences and currently works at Augustana as the Conference Services Coordinator. He was acclaimed to be the candidate for the Green Party.
   “I have lived over half my life in the riding. I went to high school in Wainwright, and went to university and work in Camrose, and developed a large social network here. These are issues I am really passionate about, so I thought now would be a good opportunity to run and throw my name in the hat. I have always been engaged in politics and thought this would be the next step I would like to take.”
    He says he is beginning to get the word out that he is the candidate and is getting a good response.
    He says the most important issue for him in the coming election is climate change and believes Canada can have a strong economy and a healthy environment.
    “Addressing climate change is really important as I believe we don’t have a lot of time to act and I think this election is the time for us to really make some meaningful changes in learning to live differently in a better way,” said Nelson.
    As a student, he completed a conservation science internship with A Rocha Canada in BC, and his studies took him to Quebec, Costa Rica, and France. He volunteers with a local humanitarian group called Sahakarini, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and with local blood drives.
     He understands CPC has had a long history of winning elections in Battle River-Crowfoot.
    “I literally have the hardest riding to run in for any party in the country. I am aware it is a challenge, but this is where I live… and I want to share that view,” he said. “Even if people think the candidate is already decided, I will provide that option. I am really passionate about democracy and I think it is important people have the choices they want on the ballot.”

Tornado confirmed near Carbon yesterday

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    Environment Canada has confirmed a tornado formed near Carbon on Tuesday, September 10.

    The provinces 23rd tornado of the year was produced from an area of showers at approximately 2:15 p.m. on September 10, approximately 8 kilometres south of Carbon. 

    John Franks saw the tornado on his way between Drumheller and Carbon and stopped to take photos.

    “It wasn’t very big, but it was on the ground for a few minutes

    No damage was reported. The tornados preliminary rating was EF0, or a “weak” tornado. EF0 tornados can cause superficial damage to structures and vegetation, but well-built structures are generally unscathed. It’s estimated wind speed was between 90 and 130 kilometres per hour. 

    Environment Canada says meteorologists are investigating the tornado, and ask if anyone has photos, videos, or any other information regarding the event to contact them at or call 1-800-239-0484.

photos courtesy of John Franks

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