Exploring Labrador’s Northern Wilderness

Six young adventurers are making their way through northern Quebec and Labrador in Canada on a 1,500km canoe expedition.

The expedition route will include 500km of paddling in the Atlantic. Photo: AKOR Expedition

The Expedition AKOR (a French word describing a steep, rocky shore with sudden drops in water depth), is comprised of Pier-Luc Morissette, Sarah-Jeanne Giroux, Philippe Poulin, Guillaume Moreau, Nicolas Roulx and Charles Fortin. After two years of training and preparation, they set out from the mostly abandoned mining town of Schefferville on June 6. Their roundabout route will eventually take them to the Inuit town of Nain, the northernmost settlement on the Labrador coast.

The expedition set out with a significant amount of gear, including a drone. Photo: AKOR Expedition

Over the last month they have descended the De Pas and George Rivers to Ungava Bay. High water levels on the De Pas river have helped speed their early progress, allowing them to avoid a number of sections they might have otherwise been forced to portage. After 23 days of travel, the team have spent the last few days resting and resupplying in the tricky-to-spell Inuit village of Kangiqsualujjuaq.

Crossing the frozen Lake Attikamagen, a 160km hike. Photo: AKOR Expedition

Next they will face a tough 130km upstream haul on the Koroc River to the Torngat Mountains. They then plan to climb to the highest point in Quebec/Labrador, the 1,652m Mount d’Iberville. Afterward, they have a final 500km paddle along the shores of the north Atlantic to reach Nain.

The ice that piles up beside Quebec’s northern rivers has made the process of moving their canoes around rapids a time consuming process. Photo: AKOR Expedition

This last stretch of their journey will take them through dense polar bear country. The team are carrying an alarm fence to discourage unwanted nighttime visitors and have been speaking to locals about the best way to minimize the threat.

The approximately $75,000 project is being financed through a variety of sponsorships and scholarships. Photo: AKOR Expedition

Their group includes a trained forestry expert, who will collect wood samples from the boreal forest as they go. Their samples will go to Quebec City’s Laval University, where the physical and chemical composition of the wood will help scientists better understand how climate change is affecting the region.


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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