You can track our progress on a map here – click here!

In July 2017, Justine Curgenven and JF Marleau will kayak around 1000km from Kuujjuaq to Salluit in the Canadian Arctic. It’s a remote, wild area, mostly unpopulated with just 5 small communities along our route, some of which we’ll visit. Ungava Bay disputes the Bay of Fundy’s claim to have the largest tidal range in the world – both have maximum tidal ranges of over 16 metres! Shallow seas mean that we risk portages of several kilometres at low tide, or will need to paddle for 12 hours from one high tide to the next. Large tidal ranges cause strong currents and tidal rips, although this area has not been well surveyed so we’ll have to use judgement and be on our toes for the unexpected.  This will be most challenging at exposed, remote headlands with very little information about currents or areas of tidal rips. Far overshadowing these challenges is the presence of hungry bugs and hungrier polar bears. Polar bears can swim faster than we can paddle and will hunt people. We are hoping it will have been good winter for ice so they will be well fed on seals. There may still be sea ice when we start paddling as this sometimes doesn’t break up until mid-July but we are hoping this will not prevent us from paddling. Arctic Route

It’s a beautiful, wild part of the world, and one that is rarely explored extensively by kayak in modern times. We have a month to complete the journey.



Screen grab of the Nautical Pilot we have read

PolarBear by Ansgar Walk, CC-BY-SA

Logistics

We will fly our kayaks to Kuujjuaq with Air Inuit Cargo, along with some of our kit. We’ll carry a little over 2 weeks food and ship 2 weeks food to the post office at Quaqtaq. We will have bear bangers and 2 guns with us, and at night we will set up trip wires which may scare any bears away, and will at least make a loud noise to warn us of their approach. We hope to supplement our diet by fishing.

 

We’d like to thank our sponsors for their support.

Hilleberg – We are taking a trusty Tarra 2-person Hilleberg tent. Justine’s last Tarra kept her dry and safe for over 200 nights.
ICOM Canada – We are taking ICOM IC-M25 VHF radios which we can recharge via USB
Kokatat – Justine has been a member of the Kokatat PRO team for 8 years and loves Kokatat drysuits and accessories. Her paddling gear is head-to-toe Kokatat and so are some of her thermals and clothing.
Snapdragon spray skirts – We’ll wear reliable Armortex Expedition Series Decks
Mustang Survival – JF will wear a Mustang drysuit and use their dry bags, thermals and other gear.
Ortlieb – Justine will use Ortlieb dry bags, including her favourite Aquacam bag for her camera equipment
Julbo – Justine wears Julbo Wave polarised sunglasses.
Iridium – We’ll use an Iridium satellite phone and Iridium GO to send back daily messages and be connected to the world.
Exped – Our Exped double matt is comfy and takes up the same space as a single matt.
Mitchell Blades – Justine uses Mitchell bombaro blades which are beautifully made and reliable.
Munchy Seeds – These delicious and nutritious energy-packed seeds will help power us on our journey.

Thanks very much to Myloh Villaronga and Conor Goddard, local paddlers who have given us invaluable advice and contacts. Nigel Foster also sent us advice and shared knowledge from his trip in a similar area. Thanks Nigel! Thanks also to Pierre-Olivier Marleau for providing air tickets from Montreal and much more help!  Thanks to Christine Watt for advice and contacts in Kuujjuaq.