Northwest Passage Kayakers in Home Stretch

Okay, maybe it’s an exaggeration to call 500km the home stretch, but after 2,050km, it must feel that way for kayakers West Hansen, Jeff Wueste, Mark Agnew, and Eileen Visser.

Today, they passed a major milestone, crossing from Canada’s Nunavut territory — where they’ve been the entire time — into the Northwest Territories. They’re skirting along the mainland. No major crossings between islands left.

True, winter is closing in fast. Temperatures in the ever-shrinking daylight rarely top 5˚C; nights dip to 0˚ or a little colder. They’ve had to contend with increasing winds and big swells in the unstable September weather.

They’ve been good at when to wait for better weather and when to push. On those days when they can move, they continue to put in mega-distances. Sixty-five kilometers is typical. At that rate, they will eat up the remaining distance to their endpoint at Tuktoyaktuk well before winter begins in earnest.

Jerry Kobalenko

Jerry Kobalenko is the editor of ExplorersWeb. One of Canada’s premier arctic travelers, he is the author of The Horizontal Everest and Arctic Eden, and has just finished a book about adventures in Labrador. In 2018, he was awarded the Polar Medal by the Governor General of Canada and in 2022, he received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for services to exploration.