About the Expedition
“Qajaqtuqtut” is an expedition that combines history, culture, and adventure. Our team; Erik Boomer, Katherine Breen, and Eric and Sarah McNair-Landry will build traditional Inuit kayaks, and put them to the test on a two month long expedition.
“Qajaqtuqtut” is an Inuit word, meaning they kayak. Kayaking traditions in northern Canada, extend back over 4,000 years, but have been in serious decline during the past century. Our aim is to learn and document the skills of traditional kayak building in the hopes of aiding the revival of this diminishing tradition. Working closely with young people in Nunavut, we will handcraft our kayaks in an open forum allowing for interactive workshops and hands-on learning for the local community.
Once our kayaks are constructed, the adventure will begin. We will put our newly built boats to the test and embark on a 1,000 km journey across the 5th largest island in the world; Baffin. Setting out in 24 hour sunlight from Qikiqtarjuaq we will travel through Auyuittuq National Park, home of the worlds tallest uninterrupted cliff face. From here, our team will follow traditional hunting routes linking lakes and wild rivers through the interior of Baffin Island leading us back to the Arctic Ocean, and eventually to the small hamlet of Cape Dorset.
Shifting sea ice, tides, polar bears, and the harsh arctic environment will put our team and our handcrafted traditional kayaks to the ultimate test.
In 2007, Sarah and Eric McNair-Landry formed Pittarak Expeditions with the goal of embarking on expeditions around the world and inspiring youth to get active outdoors.
They headed to Greenland to complete a 2,300 km kite-ski expedition, traversing the ice cap from South to North. In 2009 they accomplished the first non-vehicle supported kite- buggy crossing of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. Then, in 2011 they became the first to kite-ski the 3,300 km long Northwest Passage in the winter. Now, teaming up with Katherine Breen and Erik Boomer, they are preparing for their next adventure: the Qajaqtuqtut Expedition.