Turk, Boomer Earn Nat’l Geo Adventurers of Year Award

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The two (ages 26 and 65) covered 1,485 miles by kayak, skis and foot, encountering everything from wolves and walruses to ice-clogged waterways and aggressive polar bears. Along with the honor, the duo is also up for the “People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year,” for which public voting is now open. Turk and Boomer are the only kayaking representatives in the 2012 honoree group, among a talented field of other adventurers.

Votes for the People’s Choice award can be cast once a day, every day, until online polling closes on January 18, 2012. If you want to offer a congratulatory cheer for Turk and Boomer, and as collective voice of support for all of kayaking, cast your vote. The People’s Choice award will be announced in February 2012. To cast a vote visit: http://tinyurl.com/7sb8tqj

“I’m 65 years old now and I planned this journey as my retirement party; the most physically demanding expedition of my life, as my last,” says Turk, a veteran of several other major sea kayaking expeditions. “Erik and I launched this expedition as near perfect strangers, 40 years apart in age. It turned into absolutely the best partnership imaginable. We endured uncounted hardships, lived in constant company for 104 days, and ended up as the best of friends and partners. I wish I were younger so I could join him on more expeditions, but couldn’t think of a better person to pass the baton to.

“I thought about this circumnavigation in 1988, when Chris Seashore and I paddled the southeast coast of Ellesmere on our way over to Greenland,” he adds. “At the time, even though I was 23 years younger, I thought it was physically impossible. Then, over the years, I thought, well, someone is going to attempt it. But when no one stepped up to the plate, I realized that I had to give it a go.”

“When a walrus attacked Erik in open water, things looked pretty grim for a few moments.”

They got grimmer at trip’s end. Fifteen hours after arriving in Grise Fiord, Turk awoke in the middle of the night with the fearful sensation that his metabolic system had broken down. “Friends drove me to the local medical clinic, where my condition was considered ‘life threatening,’” says Turk, now recovered. “I was medi-vac’ed to Ottawaby Global Rescue, which stepped up to the plate when my life was on the line. After six days in hospitals and medical clinics, I returned home.”

Sponsors: Eddie Bauer First Ascent, Polartec, Wilderness Systems, Adventure Technologies, Kokatat, WindPaddle Sails, 40 Below Overboots, NRS, Watershed Dry Bags, and Iridium Communications.

Info: www.jonturk.net

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