Circumnavigating Ellesmere Island Update: Slow Going In Thick Ice


Adventurers Jon Turk and Erik Boomer continue their epic expedition to circumnavigate Ellesmere Island by kayak. The two men set out last month with the hopes of becoming the first team to accomplish that feat, and while they continue to make good progress, the remote Canadian island has lived up to its reputation for being one of the harshest and most challenging environments on the planet.

In late May, Jon and Erik reached the Eureka Weather Station after covering 338 nautical miles in just 23 days. At that point, they were on schedule and well situated to continue their journey. Now, a couple of weeks later, their experiencing the harsher conditions of the arctic, as the cold weather has kept the pack-ice from breaking up, and slowed their progress significantly. In fact, in their latest blog update, we’re told that progress could slow to as little as 1/2 mile per day, thanks to the very thick and dense ice that refuses to break-up thus far this year.

The expedition has reached a critical point, as the two men have rounded the northwest corner of the island in what is considered the most treacherous leg of the journey. Because of the conditions there, and the fact that they expect progress to be slow, Jon and Erik are now carrying 50 days worth of food with them, just in case it is some time before they can restock their supplies. They’re hoping that the warmer weather will arrive soon however, opening up the passages through the ice and speeding their progress.

Ellesmere is part of the the Queen Elizabeth Islands and is located in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. In order to successfully circumnavigate the island, Jon and Erik will need to cover 1485 miles, which is expected to take them roughly 100 days to complete.

Kraig Becker