Another Northern Expedition on the water

  • Sep. 2, 2009 4:00 p.m.

By Dianne King-The Northern Expedition just circumnavigated Graham Island in 18 days. There’s no coincidence that this kayak, paddled by Jørg Knorr, a German engineer has the same name as the brand new BC Ferry. Mr. Knorr works at the shipbuilding plant in Flensburg, Germany that built the last three BC Ferries, including the newest one on the Port Hardy-Prince Rupert run. Mr. Knorr is a veteran kayaker, having navigated his way through German, Swedish, Danish and Finnish waters back home. He was joined here by his son Hannes, 21, enjoying a pause before beginning university. This was a very meaningful trip for both, as Mr. Knorr usually paddles alone. This voyage allowed them both to explore common horizons.On an earlier circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, Mr. Knorr met a couple from Seattle who introduced him to the book ‘Boat Camping in Haida Gwaii’ which became his bible for the trip. Along with a GPS, a compass and the road map of the Islands he prepared for his journey which began on July 18, a journey he estimates at 460 nautical miles.The first leg took the two south down the east coast of Moresby Island to Skungwaii.Weather conditions influenced their decision to return the way they had come to Skidegate rather than up the west coast. However, they had time to stop at Rose Harbour where Goetz Hanisch entertained with guitar music and hospitality.The weather was outstanding, with one exception. The paddlers were between Ingraham Bay and Otard Bay. Mr. Knorr underestimated the waves in the bay and the breakers were higher than he had judged. Once through them, the paddlers were committed to continuing as the return would have been equally as dangerous.With four to five foot waves and a strong wind pounding them from ahead, it was an endurance test to proceed but they had little choice. Their GPS broke and low-lying fog only allowed them to see the two rocks ahead of Tian Islet. It took 3 1/2 hours before they could land. Further along the way, they met Masset resident Fraser Earl on Hippa Island and compared kayaking voyages. All in all, the pair spent 36 days paddling with a two day layover before embarking on the Graham Island tour. This is not Mr. Knorr’s longest trip. That was 2000 nautical miles, an 8 1/2 week passage took him to Finland through the Aland Islands, similar in geography to these, of which only 60 are inhabited of the 6,500 between Denmark and Finland in the archipelago.When asked if he would return to complete the west coast of Moresby Island, Mr. Knorr said that was not as important to him as the glorious experience he’d just had with his son. ‘I enjoy to paddle here,” he said. “It’s not important”. Then he added, “Anyway I drank from St Mary’s spring and you know what that means.”If you would like to see photos of his trips (he carries four cameras with him) check HYPERLINK “http://www.kajaktraum.com” www.kajaktraum.com

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