NEWS

Vancouver adventurers journey through Canada's North

07/15/2013 08:36 EDT | Updated 09/14/2013 05:12 EDT
Four Vancouver adventurers attempting to become the first people to row through the Northwest Passage are now journeying through the frigid arctic waters of Canada’s North.

The four men — Denis Barnett, Frank Wolf, Paul Gleeson and Kevin Vallely — began their journey in a specially designed 25-foot boat starting from Inuvik on July 1.

Last week, strong winds were making it difficult for the team as they approached Tuktoyaktuk, a hamlet located in the North West Territories north of the Arctic Circle on the shore of the Arctic Ocean.

They resorted to pushing the boat along the shoreline instead.

"We've heard reports of polar bears that have been swimming 150 feet off shore and they can actually swim faster than we can row," crew member Denis Barnett told CBC News via Skype on July 12.

"Then again if they are behind us, you’d be surprised at how fast we could row."

The Northwest Passage has become semi-navigable due to the deterioration of arctic ice from climate change and the crew says they hope their journey will help show the world how climate change is affecting the Arctic.

"We're just getting perspectives about climate change from different people who live up here and live on the land," said crew member Frank Wolf.

“We talked to an elder here in Tuktoyaktuk who said he caught a salmon in a net a little while ago. They’ve seen orca up here, a lot of species that never used to be this far north are this far north ... Climate change is happening and there are signs of it for sure.”

The team is rowing up to 100 kilometres a day, their progress charted daily on their website.

They hope to complete their 3,000-kilometre journey to Pong Inlet on Baffin Island in three months time.

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