Our Plan for 2015

After an injury during the first part of the paddle in 2014, Herman was forced to cut his journey short for that year.

He was already planning his paddle for 2015 when his wife suffered a serious stroke.  Unfortunately, as a result, Herman will not be able to continue the paddle in 2015.

Herman has written this personal letter to his followers and supporters to communicate the events that led up to his decision and to thank everyone for their generous support.

Please continue to support the children of Baja via the Baja Blues Fest Organization as Herman has requested.

Herman Stiphout - The Adventurer

Originally from The 
NetherlandsHerman Stiphout is a 67 year old resident of Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico.  He and 
Marijke, his wife of 37 years, have two sons and a grandson.

Herman and Marijke have lived in Rosarito since his retirement, five years ago.  The Stiphouts have lived in different parts of the world, notably England, Germany, France, Belgium and South Africa. They have traveled the world and visited every continent except Antarctica.

The Stiphout family has always had a keen and active interest in the outdoors; their activities include cycling, hiking, trekking, kayaking, surfing and mountaineering; the last two activities are currently done mostly by their children and grandchild.

Both Herman and Marijke have been engaged in charitable activities since their move to Rosarito, at first helping out with local orphanages and subsequently, volunteer teaching.  

Herman is no stranger to expedition kayaking. While living in Europe he paddled the fjords in Norway and the North Sea coast in The Netherlands.

In 2010, he and his son Martijn paddled Mexico's Sea of Cortez, from San Felipe to La Paz, a 70+ day trip characterized by very strong winds and heavy seas.

 In 2012, Herman teamed up with the Baja Scholarship Foundation and raised more than US $16,000 for them by paddling the Inside Passage from Seattle, Washington to Glacier Bay, Alaska; a 105 day, 1,700 mile trip, which was characterized by strong winds, plenty of rain and in the North, very cold nights.

For 2014 and 2015, Herman is teaming up with the Baja Blues Fest Organization to raise US $75,000 for the children of Baja California by paddling the Northwest Passage, above the Arctic Circle, during the Arctic summers.  He plans to paddle between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, from Inuvik, Northern Territories to Churchill, Hudson Bay, Nunavut, Canada, a distance of roughly 4,000 miles.

Qiviuq - The Kayak

The kayak that Herman will be using is a home-built, wood and fiberglass baidarka. The baidarka is based on a centuries old Inuit design, which is fitting for the area in which it will be used.  
This, though, is not the reason he will be paddling this boat. 

He used a version of the same boat during his paddle to Glacier Bay last year and it performed very well.

The new boat is identical to last year's with the only difference being a slightly raised deck and somewhat longer cockpit.  The higher deck is to give him more toe room; the slightly longer cockpit  so that he can fully stretch his legs to relax when paddling, even when wearing heavy mukluks.

It has a multi-chine hull which makes it very stable, even in rough seas. It also has a very distinctive design with its bifurcated bow and cutwater in front of the bow and the rather large stern skeg. 

The cutwater is only found on the Inuit kayaks.  Its function is to part the waves before they reach the hull which reportedly makes the kayak faster and more stable. The large skeg at the stern helps keep it tracking straight, irrespective of the wave and wind direction.

As a result, though, the kayak has a large turning radius. It is certainly not a boat that can turn on a dime, but it is exceptionally well suited for long distances on open water.

The baidarka is reputed to be a fast kayak, although at an average paddling speed of three miles per hour, speed is relative.


It's size is approximately 18'x23”x10”.  Virtually all of it's length is also the waterline.  At 23” wide it is just wide enough to be comfortably stable without  becoming unwieldy and at 10” deep it is at its maximum to be able to be paddled “hands down”, that is: keeping the hands low and the arms stretched which make for a typical long distance paddling style.

At approximately 70 lbs when finished, the kayak is not a lightweight.  The reinforcements Herman built into the kayak to make it expedition ready add roughly 10 lbs to the total weight of the boat and consist of reinforcements to the bow, the stern and the cockpit, as well as a layer of fiberglass felt along the length of the keel to give additional bottom protection from hitting submerged rocks as well as dragging the kayak over rocks on landing and launching.

Fully loaded Herman will be moving a weight of approximately 350 lbs. through the water.  The boat will weigh about 70 lbs; Herman weighs about 180 lbs and gear and food will weigh in at about 100 lbs.

Although the kayak has a lot of stowage space inside the hull, he will still have to carry some gear on deck for which there will simply not be room inside.  Certain other equipment has to be accessible from the cockpit while paddling, such as: spare paddles, safety and self-rescue gear and some food and water.

The weight of the load will vary at times depending on the level of depletion of the food stocks.

Herman can carry a maximum of four weeks of food.



Herman named the kayak “Qiviuq” in the hope that it will be an icebreaker and talking point when meeting Inuit people, as well as to have some of the positives of the legends rub off on himself and the kayak.

Qiviuq is a legendary hero of the epic stories of the Inuit of the Arctic regions of Northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland.

Qiviuq is an eternal Inuit wanderer.  Spirits, cannibals, giants, bears, birds and sea monsters intermingle in Qiviuq's world, creating havoc for him.  He walks, or travels by dog sled or by kayak, or may be borne by huge fishes.  His supernatural powers allow him to overcome all manner of obstacles in his travels across the north.

Stories about Qiviuq's many adventures are told across the Arctic.

Qiviuq has lived a long time and has had many lives.  Versions of his adventures vary by region and by storyteller.

In Alaska he is called “Qayaq”, which is short for : “He who shall always long to go roaming in his qayaq”.

It is believed that he is still out there living, so old that he is hard as stone, but his heart is still beating.  They say if his heart stops beating, the world will end.

Baja Blues Fest - The Cause

Kayak for Kids is a fundraising project of the Baja Blues Fest Organization, a non-profit corporation benefiting children’s charities in Baja California, Mexico.

Three-Fold purpose

  • The first purpose of Baja Blues Fest is to do fundraising and to help other organizations do fundraising for local qualifying charitable organizations that support children in Baja California.
  • Secondly we are acting to expand the cultural activities of our area to help promote Northern Baja as a safe and fun place to visit.
  • Thirdly we are working to bring the people of the Rosarito Municipality from its northern borders to its southern borders to share their ideas and events to become a stronger self-supporting municipality.

Mission Statement

Baja Blues Fest Organization's mission is to raise funds and assist in fundraisers for the wellbeing and education of Baja Children while promoting Baja California Norte as a safe and fun place to visit while bringing the residents from the northern and to the southern boundaries of our Rosarito Municipalities together, sharing our efforts, ideas and events.

Baja Blues Fest Activity

Our activity is to organize and promote events related to music, art and culture to raise the level of public awareness to the needs of various children’s charities such as; orphanages, reading programs, scholarship organizations and to assist with the payment of utility bills, medical needs, clothing and furniture needs in and during building expansions.

Baja Blues Fest Organization

We are governed by a board of directors.  To contact them please use the information below:

PO Box 189010 #390
Coronado, CA  92178
Fax Mex 01-661-614-0514
Fax Toll Free USA 1-866-920-4724


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