Longtime Fernie recreation migrant Jon Turk is adding another epic adventure to his life-list with the first Circumnavigation of Canada’s Ellesmere Island.
Ellesmere Island is one of the closest points of land to the North Pole. Regarded by many as one of the last great Arctic expeditions, this circumnavigation will follow the rugged, treacherous coast of Ellesmere for 1,400 miles. We will start in early May, 2011 and sail, ski, trek, and sea kayak during the spring and summer thaw. If all goes well, the journey will take 100 days and we’ll complete it by mid August.
We will set off on skis from Grise Fiord, on the south coast of Ellesmere, using kites or sails when possible to drag the kayaks. We will travel in a clockwise direction moving, first, on solid ice on our journey west and then north around the island.
Arriving at the north coast in mid June we will be faced with the crux of the expedition. Unimpeded by any landmasses, the full force of the Arctic icepack collides relentlessly against the island. We will encounter jagged pressure ridges, and fractured, grinding ice.
In early July, we will round the northeast corner of the island into the Nares Straight between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Pinched between these two giant land masses, the Arctic icepack squeezes together and jams into the straight. Huge icebergs from calving Greenland glaciers, accelerated by global warming, will add to the complexity, excitement, and stunning beauty of this place.
We will complete the expedition by sea kayaking the remaining five hundred miles back to Grise Fijord, completing the first circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island.
To follow Jon’s blog updates click here: http://www.jonturk.net/content/blog