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Turk & Boomer finish Ellesmere Island circumnavigation while scaring off polar bears

Posted: Aug 24, 2011 10:34 am EDT

(Correne Coetzer) Erik Boomer and Jon Turk traveled 1485 statute miles in 104 days, skiing on rigid fast ice, jumping from flow to flow on moving pack ice and finally paddling through ice choked water, summarized the home team.

Stuck in their tent during the last week, because of unfavorable wind and ice, they had to scare off polar bears on several occasions; one biting through the tent while 5 looked on.

Boomer and Turk made it to back to Grise Fjord, their start point. Jon could hardly walk and Erik's feet were swollen two sizes, but they were always in great spirits despite over 100 days of being wet, salty, and cold, reported the home team.

Polar bears

During the last week the guys got stuck because of unfavorable wind and ice conditions. Then polar bears paid them a visit. Jon texted: Bears scare us. We scare bears. Wind scares us. We do not scare wind."

And the next day only 81 miles from Grise Fjord, a bear nearly got into their tent: Bad boy bear bites hole in tent while we sleep and 5 of his buddies watch."

Last push

The wind was howling off the ice cap as Erik and Jon made their way around King Edward Pt. to (abandoned) Craig Harbor. A hunters cabin here shelters them as they dry off and warm up. Jon couldnt talk long standing out in the wind in his underwear, reported the home team.

With Grise Fjord over 35 miles away, they completed their last day across the open water and ice of a wide bay, and 10 knot head winds.

Jon Turk and Erik Boomer reported to have covered 1485 statute miles around Ellesmere on skis and in kayaks. They started out from Grise fjord on May 7; pulling 220 pounds through slush, mushing to drier ice and crawling over pressure ridges with broken skis and mended boots. As the weather gets warmer lately they are paddling across meltwater pools and jumping from one tippy chunk of sea ice to another. They fished on August 19, 2011.

Two Canadian ice scientists, Trudy Wohleben and Humfrey Melling, are the teams weather and ice condition advisers.


A weather report: Green arrow is the abandoned Craig Harbor, red arrow is Grise Fiord. Wind direction is from the barbs to the dot, and a full barb is 10 knots, the green 1/2 barbs are 5 knots.