Two British adventurers are preparing to set out on a challenging kayaking expedition that will take them across the Arctic Ocean and North Sea as they travel from Greenland to Scotland. Their journey is set to begin this Sunday and is expected to take upwards of six weeks to complete.
In just a few days time, Olly Hicks and George Bullard will leave the U.K. for Greenland where they will launch their In the Wake of the Finnmen expedition. This journey by sea will cover more than 1200 miles (1931 km) as they travel from the Denmark Strait to Iceland, follow the coastline of that country before daring the waters of the North Sea to head towards the Faroe Islands, a remote place located north of the British Isles. After that, they'll turn south to paddle 50 miles (80 km) to reach the tiny island of North Rona before pressing on with the final leg, which ends at Cape Wrath in Scotland.
All told, the two men expect to be padding for six weeks, with 12 nights actually spend out on the water in the open seas. The first three of those nights will take place on the crossing from Greenland to Iceland. The paddlers will then take their time kayaking along the shores of that country, regaining their strength and preparing for the challenges ahead. During that section of the expedition they'll cover about 20 miles (32 km) per day before pushing on to the Faroe Islands, which will force them to spend another six nights at sea. The final three nights will be when they make the final push across the North Sea to Cape Wrath.
Olly and George will be paddling a modified Inuk Duo 6.8m sea kayak, which is designed to withstand the challenges and rigors of open water in remote seas. It has also been made for long distance paddling expeditions, with plenty of storage for gear and supplies. The kayak even has sealable cockpits, allowing the men to squeeze inside its hull to catch some sleep on those long nights at sea.
The aim of the expedition is to prove that the Inuit people of the Arctic could have made a similar journey to populate island that are found in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Hicks has called it the “Arctic Kon-Tiki expedition" in a nod to the famous Thor Heyerdahl expedition from 1947. Olly and George's boat is much smaller than Heyerdahl's however, with some very different challenges.
This won't be be the first waterborne journey for Hicks. Back in 2005 he became the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean at the age of 23. In 2008, we followed his attempt to row around Antarctica as well, and while other expeditions have taken him across the Tasman Sea and around Great Britain. In the future, he hopes to row around the world, taking another crack at the Southern Ocean off the coast of Antarctica once again.