Kayakers Launch 2012 Aleutian Islands Expedition

IMG 6899

Expedition kayakers Keirron Tastagh and George Shaw have set out on a 1500-mile (2414km) journey through the Aleutian Islands that will provide plenty of challenges and adventure in the weeks ahead. The duo not only plan on exploring the remote islands, which stretch between Alaska and Russia, but they also hope to collect important data on the what is causing a significant decline in the population of North Sea Otters.

Keirron and George began their journey back on May 10th and have been posting regular updates, along with plenty of photos, to their blog ever since. As you can imagine, the Aleutians aren’t the most hospitable of places at the moment, and so far they’ve been dealing with high winds, cold temperatures and plenty of snow and rain. They report steady headwinds of 20 knots (23 mph/37 km/h) for much of the journey thus far and is isn’t unusual for them to wake up to find their tents, boats and other gear buried under a fresh blanket of snow.

Fortunately they have also been encountering sea otters on their voyage as well, which is encouraging for their research although it doesn’t explain why the populations are in such sharp decline. Keirron and George say they’re determined to conduct as much research as they can and haven’t ruled out the possibility of actually paddling across the Bering Sea all the way to the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia if they have to. Their journey is self-supported, so they’ll maintain their diet by catching fish as they go, and by resupplying in some of the tiny villages in the Aleutians they can potentially maintain the expedition for weeks or months.

Follow their updates through this epic and wild place by reading their blog here.

Kraig Becker