Canada North to South Set to Begin

Photo: AKOR Expedition

Guillaume Moreau and Nicolas Roulx are ready to begin their 7,600km journey from Ellesmere Island to Point Pelee National Park in southern Ontario, near the Canada–U.S. border.

En route to Resolute Bay. Photo: AKOR expedition

Today, they fly to Resolute Bay. After a three-day layover, a chartered, ski-equipped Twin Otter aircraft lands them on the sea ice near the Eureka weather station on Ellesmere Island. Usually, the plane would land at the station itself and accommodation is available (for a princely fee) before the start of their expedition. However, COVID has made a last night under a roof impossible. To protect the eight workers at the station, no outside visitors are allowed, and Moreau, Roulx, and Jacob Racine (joining them for the first skiing section of their expedition) will immediately set off south. Their first stage takes them roughly 800km over sea ice from Eureka to the small Central High Arctic hamlet of Resolute Bay.

Resolute Bay, Nunavut. Photo: Jerry Kobalenko

For the past two weeks Moreau, Roulx, and Racine have been isolating in an Ottawa hotel. Two weeks cooped up in a small room is not ideal preparation, but Moreau reports that everyone is healthy and raring to go. They used their period of isolation to make final logistical preparations, do news interviews, and pile on the pounds. They have been supplementing the hotel food with enough extra calories to put on 9 to 14kg each.

Hauling sleds burns a lot of calories. Photo: AKOR Expedition

This extra weight ensures that they will burn fat rather than muscle while they ski the first 1,600km. During this time, they will consume a whopping 7,000 calories per day, almost triple their usual calorie counts. They hope to reach the canoe portion of the expedition without shedding more than the buffer weight they have gained.

It has been a mild winter in much of Canada, but up north, Moreau reports, conditions look excellent. Winter arrived later than usual, but temperatures have dropped quickly. From monitoring satellite reports and speaking to locals on Ellesmere Island, the team are confident that their route will be well-frozen.


About the Author

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is a freelance writer and wildlife photographer based in Da Lat, Vietnam.

A history graduate from the University of Nottingham, Martin's career arc is something of a smörgåsbord. A largely unsuccessful basketball coach in Zimbabwe and the Indian Himalaya, a reluctant business lobbyist in London, and an interior design project manager in Saigon.

He has been fortunate enough to see some of the world. Highlights include tracking tigers on foot in Nepal, white-water rafting the Nile, bumbling his way from London to Istanbul on a bicycle, feeding wild hyenas with his face in Ethiopia, and accidentally interviewing Hezbollah in Lebanon.

His areas of expertise include adventure travel, hiking, wildlife, and half-forgotten early 2000s indie-rock bands.

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10 months ago

alert would be the logical starting point – not eureka…?
anyone remember jon turk’s circumnavigation of ellsmere in 2011…?