Thursday, August 18, 2011
Circumnavigating Ellesmere Island: Nearly Done!
Way back in May, Jon Turk and Erik Boomer set off on a 2390km (1485 mile) expedition to circumnavigate Ellesmere Island. Since that time, they've been paddling and trekking their way through the icy Arctic Ocean and remote tracts of land that have seldom been visited by humans. Their journey may be coming to an end at last however, as according to Jon's blog, they expect to complete their expedition sometime today.
Located above the Arctic Circle in Canada's Queen Elizabeth chain of islands, Ellesmere presents a considerable challenge for any adventurer, even in the warmer summer months. But it seems Jon and Erik have gotten more than they expected, encountering harsh weather, polar bears, and thick pack ice. Those conditions have conspired to slow their progress and make this an amazing adventure in one of the most difficult environments on the planet.
An entry on Jon's blog from yesterday says that the two men are now about 35 miles from their planned finish point in Grise Fiord. That's still a long way to paddle, especially since they expect to face 10 knot winds throughout the day, but they are anticipating finishing up the expedition today. Needless to say, it won't be an easy day for them.
It seems the boys have had more than their fair share of bear encounters along the way. Just a few days ago the awoke to find that one of them had bitten holes in their tent, while five others prowled around the camp. Pretty scary stuff. I'm sure these guys have a lot of tales to tell once they're home. Can't wait to read them!