Circumnavigating Ellesmere Island


Ellesmere Island is one of the most remote places on Earth, located above the arctic circle, and falling into the chain of the Queen Elizabeth Islands in the  Canadian territory of Nunavut. It is a cold, icy, mountainous place that is seldom visited due to its rugged and challenging nature. It is also the site of a spring expedition in which Jon Turk and Erik Boomer will be attempting to circumnavigate the island by kayak.

The expedition officially got underway a few days back, with Jon and Erik setting out from Resolute Bay last Thursday, and taking a series of short flights on “puddle jumpers” to eventually reach their starting point. The weather forecast had been good for their first week out on the water, but according to Jon’s blog,  which was updated two days ago, that has changed some. The blog posts reports heavy snow in the region, and that the duo were holed up in a small cabin at the time of their last check-in.

They also report that the paddling has been hard going through the ice fields that surround the island, but when they move in closer to shore, the fjords have been smooth as glass. They’ve encountered quite a few polar bear tracks as well and even spotted a mother bear with her cub. The creatures are fairly common on Ellesmere, and of course they would like to avoid them as much as possible.

The journey will cover 1485 miles (2390 km) and is expected to take upwards of 100 days to complete. At the moment, they’re just 75 miles into the expedition, and despite the fact that it is spring there, they are experiencing bitterly cold, sub-zero temperatures. Even in the height of summer, the place never really gets all that warm, so this will be a long, slow, challenging journey to complete, to say the least.

To check out the official expedition website, click here and for blog updates click here. This should be another interesting expedition to follow as it unfolds.

Kraig Becker