(Correne Coetzer) Jaimie Sharp and Tara Mulvany from New Zealand and Norwegian, Per Gustav Porsanger have completed their kayak circumnavigation of the Svalbard archipelago on September 5th, they wrote on Twitter.
Reportedly they are the first kayakers to circumnavigate Svalbard.
Tara wrote on her Facebook today, “It's official, we did it! After a 16hr push yesterday we completed the first kayak circumnavigation of Svalbard! 71 days, 2000km, and 40 polar bears!!”
Polar bear encounters
Tara wrote about bears that would be trapped at Isispynten until the sea ice comes back in the winter, and during that time they would be forced into a docile state, sleeping to conserve energy and most likely being without any significant food.
In a blogpost on August 28th she wrote about their encounter with 9 of these bears at Isipynten. The curious bears saw the kayakers as easy food and the three adventurers had a constant battle to scare them off.
After fending off one of the bears Tara said, "Eventually, after the most intense few minutes of my life, some 13 rounds and 6 flash bangs later, the bear turned and slowly walked away.” Read her detailed description of the different bear encounters and their long hours on the water.
Without intending, Tara, Jaimie and Per Gustav (PG) circumnavigated Nordaustlandet, racing a 5-man Norwegian team, Simon, Segrid, Dag, Madds and Skjell, who only circumnavigated that island.
Jaime wrote, "Nordaustlandet was the crux of our Svalbard circumnavigation, the last team that tried this island almost had a death and we had paddled a month to get here and had a month after to paddle to finish; whereas the Norwegians had a drop off pickup by a cruise ship and were spending only 20 something days doing just this island.”
"How did it end up being a race if you had different goals? You might be asking, especially when going all the way around Nordaustlandet added significant time to circumnavigating Svalbard archipelago. The answer is the fact we had a food drop in the middle of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet that we needed to visit before and after, meant we would also complete a full circumnavigation of Nordaustlandet in the process.”
August 9th 2015, at 10.55pm the trio returned to their food depot on Spitsbergen Island, completing their circumnavigation of the island of Nordaustlandet "and becoming part of an elite group of only 8 kayakers to ever succeed at this goal (along side the team of 5 Norwegian kayakers attempting at the same time who we assume have completed in these last couple of days as well)."
2,000km Svalbard Kayak Circumnavigation attempt