Buddies and fellow Canadians, James Manke and James Roberts are teaming up to travel and compete in the National Greenland Championships held in Qaqortoq, Greenland in this July and are looking for your support. The project is very cool and you should consider helping them out.

Published in General News

Have I got a treat for you today. I just got an email from the fine folks at the Greenland Tourist Association who just released a series of short films highlighting the great things about Greenland.

Take a look at the amazing sea kayak film they put together. What can I say, it’s gorgeous. When you are done with that watch the second clip below which more of a general film about what makes Greenland wicked awesome.

If you are wondering who the paddlers are in the films, one of them is Jens-Pavia Brandt from Greenland Outdoors. He is a local guide working in the Kangerlussuaq Fjord [map link] in western Greenland and offers a whole range of trips in the area for intermediate to advanced paddlers as well as rentals for those who want to do their own thing.

I recently heard about another trip being organized that you might be interested in. This summer the guiding company, Uncommon Adventures is organizing a 12-day adventure to Greenland but what’s unique about this trip is that 7-time Greenland National champion, Maligiaq Padilla will be co-leading the adventure.

Here is the trip description from the website:

This one is completely different. Combine the logistics expertise that Uncommon Adventures is known for with the celebrity status of our co-leader and you arrive to community dinners thrown in your honor. Travel like a Greenlander...hand-lining fish for dinner, learning to eat seal, hunting with your camera, paddling in sea ice, camping in sites used as traditional hunt camps for generations.  Think cultural immersion, think travel like a Greenlander with a Greenlander...all with a bit of a safety net that comes with our 31 year history in the kayak tripping business.

They are planning to do a loop of about 100 miles on the west side of Greenland out of Sisimiut [map link]

The trip starts at $4900 and you can get all the details here.

Published in Video

Expedition leader, H. G. Watkins climbing on floe from kayak.

Back in 1930 UK explorer, H.G. Watkins (the guy in the photo above) gathered a team together to see if a new air route between Britain and Canada could be established rather then flying across the dangerous ocean. The proposed route was to cross the Arctic via the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Baffin Island and Hudson Bay before reaching Winnipeg.

Along with figuring out the route, the 14-man team had a goal to map the very poorly understood Greenland shoreline as well as gather climate data of the icecap of Greenland during the polar winter.

All in all the year-long expedition was quite a success and it have some slow times allowing the team to take some kayak lessons from the local people living in Greenland.

The footage below was captured in the summer of 1930 and shows members of the expedition in the last half.

Two interesting observations from the film; first, it’s clear towards the end of the footage, it’s team members rolling and playing around in the boats so they must have had enough time (and willingness to get wet) to actually learn how to roll. Could these be one of UK’s first people to learn how to roll a kayak? Not sure.

The second thing I realized that even 82 years later, as soon as a group of kayakers who can roll get together somebody always wants to organize some sort of synchronised rolling demonstration.

Of course not everything on the expedition went smooth. During the winter of 1931, Augustine Courtauld volunteered to live solo at the weather station in the interior of Greenland for five months and take weather measurements.

Freeze Frame has a better description of his adventure then I could ever make up:

Having left his spade outside [the station], Courtauld had struggled with the snow, it had filled both the exit and the openings into the snow house and stores. He had also been troubled by the loss of paraffin from two slightly punctured tins, this resulted in a shortage of fuel and as he also ran out of candles he had to spend some time in the dark. He also ate his meals uncooked so that the limited supply of fuel could be conserved to melt drinking water.

More info and fantastic photos can be found here.

Update: Upon further investigation, I found out that expedition leader, G.H. Watkins went back to Greenland in 1932 on a second expedition which would sadly end in tragedy for him.

During both the 1930 and 1932 trips to Greenland he spent a lot of time with the local people becoming quite proficient at kayaking. In fact he fell in love with the activity and people so much that the expedition was one of the first to make use of indigenous techniques and methods. He and his men were so at hunting seals from a kayak that they planned on not bringing any food for their 1932 expedition but rather live off the land completely. At the time this was completely unheard of especially by citizens of British society who looked down at the people of Greenland as savages.

Sadly the method of travel for the expedition wasn’t to come about as Watkins drowned in his kayak while he was out hunting on his own one day.

G.H. Watkins legacy to polar exploration was a real shift in mindset in how future expeditions are carried out; as well he planted the seeds of respect for the local people. It’s best described on the very fascinating site, Freeze Frame:

This expedition marked a real shift in the way explorers viewed indigenous technologies. Apart from following in Nansen’s footsteps in adopting the sledge and snowshoe designs [Watkins] adapted from Inuit versions during the periods in which he overwintered with them, few explorers had wholeheartedly examined and embraced Inuit survival techniques. Watkins’ final expedition, for which the food source was based entirely upon Inuit hunting methods, marks the start of changing views with regard to the Inuit and their techniques.

Published in General News

I would like to introduce you to Kiviak, a traditional winter foodstuff consumed by Greenlandic Inuits. It’s made from a seal carcass stuffed with fermented birds.

From Gizmodo:

Kiviak is relatively simply to make. First, collect approximately 400 Auks. Then, stuff them-beaks, feathers, feet, and all-into the hollowed-out body cavity of a seal, Tauntaun-style. Next, press out as much air as possible from the carcass and seal it with seal grease to prevent spoilage. Finally cover the meat bag with a large rock pile for approximately 3-18 months. During this time, the Auks ferment within the seal until they can be eaten-raw. Thanks to a layer of fat within the seal sack, the Auks soften while they ferment allowing every part of the bird-save feathers-to be consumed.

If you are into traditional Greenland kayaking it’s time to step it up a notch and make sure Kiviak is on the menu at the next Greenland paddling symposium.

Image Credit: Inga Sørensen

Published in Weird
Friday, 23 May 2008 07:48

The North West Greenland Expedition

If following along with really cool expeditions is your thing, here is another one to add to your RSS Reader.

Starting in June 2008, Alan Brook and Kobi Sade will begin an unsupported sea kayaking expedition from Kullorsuaq in north-west Greenland and paddling around 600km along the coastline.

Located almost a 1000km north of the artic circle, Kullorsuaq can only be reached by helicopter flying out of Upernavik.

They decided to paddle in that area of Greenland because it is one of the least developed and visited parts of Greenland. What's really interesting about that area is that a ban on the use of mechanically powered vehicles for hunting and fishing means that the dogsled and traditional kayak are still the primary methods of transport for these hunters.

Find out more about this expedition and follow blog updates of the expedition progress at http://northkayak.blogspot.com.

For those like me who had no idea where Kullorsuaq, Greenland actually is, you can see a map after clicking "Read More".


Published in Trips
Sunday, 05 November 2006 11:51

Walrus pull - Vermont Madness 2005

Greenland Kayaking Capsize Resistance Technique: The Walrus Pull Cheri Perry performing the walrus pull at the Vermont Madness 2005. The objective is to resist capsizing while five people pull on a rope attached to the qajaq (simulating the pull from a harpooned walrus or other marine animal).

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Published in Sea Kayak Videos
Tuesday, 27 June 2006 18:51

Whale hunting & Kayaking in Greenland

Description: Currach-builder Pádraig O'Dineen goes whale-hunting with Inuit, eats whale and seal at the food market and explorers traditional kayaking in Greenland. A Global Nomad film, Ruan & Manchan Magan

This film is not in english but has some great Greenland kayak footage towards the end.


Published in Sea Kayak Videos

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