(By Correne Coetzer) Mid-February, Frenchman Vincent Cochin, plans to depart on his skis from Kugaaruk, a small Inuit community on the northern coast of Canada, to Qaanaaq in northwest Greenland. He will cover 2,300 km on land and on sea-ice, which he plans to finish in 80 days.
On route Vincent will be passing through three Canadian Inuit communities where he will get supplies. Between the communities he’ll sledge-haul alone.
Four stages of the journey
1. Kugaaruk - Taloyoak: 200 km; Time: 8 days (25km/d)
2. Taloyoak - Resolute Bay: 750 km; Time: 26 days (28km/d)
3. Resolute Bay - Grise Fjord: 520 km; Time: 17 days (30km/d)
4. Grise Fjord - Qaanaaq: 830 km; Time: 26 days (32km/d)
- Polar bears.
- The ice. “The potentially dangerous zones are around islands or in the mouth rivers, where the current could eat away the ice from underneath. Fortunately the sea ice possesses a certain elasticity; contrary to that of the fresh water, and can forgive small mistakes.”
- The cold.
- Snow blindness.
Vincent Cochin has a long time fascination with Canada and in particular the area above the tree line; “the undisputed territory of polar bears and Inuits”. In 2007 he started a Trans-Canadian adventure from South to North. He then paddled 2,300 km (1400 miles) in his canoe. In 2009 he continued his journey and complete the 2nd part by canoe. “After 1800 km (1100 miles) of extreme solitude and real dangers, including paddling down the entire length of the Back River, the most dangerous Arctic river in Canada (80 rapids!).”
Vincent reached the Arctic coast and arrived at the small Inuit community of Kugaaruk. The Inuits fascinated him and he was quickly adopted by the village.
He explains what he experience about the people and culture, “They still depended partly on the hunting, but they moved by power-driven boat and by snowmobile, and few of them knew how to build an igloo. The young people could not even speak their original language, the Inuktitut. I understood that if I wanted to see Inuits moving by dog sled, harpooning seals and walruses from their kayaks, spending nights under an igloo and speaking their own language, it was necessary to go still further north. I had to reach the district of Qaanaaq, in Northwestern Greenland.”
After earning some money and doing other adventures, Vincent is now on his way back to Kugaaruk in Canada and will be filming his experience among the Inuit and in the high Arctic to make films in French and English
Latest previous adventures
- Solo canoe trip ascending the Snare River (500 km), June-August 2013, following by a hike through the Mackenzie Mountains down the Canol Heritage Trail with 2 friends (355 km), Northwest Territories, Canada
- Solo sea-kayak trip, December - February 2013 circumnavigating Tasmania (1400 km) Australia
- Camel trip in the Simpson Desert (180 km), August-September 2011 Assisting guide for Outback Camel Company, Northern Territories, Australia
Follow Vincent's Nanook blog in the News Stream.
Vincent Cochin’s pages:
Vincent’s Crowd Funding Nanook Expedition
Vincent’s Blog (previous expeditions)
Nanook Polar Expedition Blog (Canada - Greenland)
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