An Intimate Experience with Polar Bears as Team Reaches Resolute
The AKOR Expedition team was forced to cross Cornwallis Island at the end of April. Rough, melting sea ice meant that their original route was too dangerous. But to get to the island and better skiing conditions, they had to cross a channel of the frozen ocean that was full of polar bears.
The team were well prepared, but the presence of these huge apex predators still required utmost vigilance. On one night, Jacob Racine emerged from their tent to find a curious bear only 10 feet away! Fortunately, the bear was not aggressive. The team set up a bear fence each night and had to occasionally use flashbangs and other bear deterrents to keep the polar bears at a safe distance.
On Cornwallis Island the team continued to complete their required 20km days, taking them to the town of Resolute exactly on schedule. Arriving in Resolute they wrote that: “[the] crossing of huge Norwegian Bay has left indelible marks on our bodies and minds. But despite the injuries, miserable days, uncertainties, polar bears, material breaks and hard ice conditions, this experience brought out the best of ourselves.”
They have now been in Resolute for nearly two weeks. They needed the time to recover from injuries and plan the next section of their adventure. Today, they are due to set off again towards Gjoa Haven, a small Inuit hamlet to the south. This journey should take them another 35 days of skiing.