What does “the Northwest Passage” conjure up? Is it intrepid European men of centuries past seeking a way through the frozen Arctic ice to shorten their trip from Europe to Northern Asia? Despite my background as a prehistoric archaeologist, it’s easy for me to think first of Amundsen, Franklin, and Hudson before remembering that they are but some of the more recent humans to venture into the formidable land of snow and ice-clogged seas in alarmingly small vessels. Long before the Vikings and later Europeans ventured ever westward in their ships, the Inuit traveled to the east across the arctic by paddling ocean-going kayaks. In fact, people first migrated from the west across these vast distances to reach Greenland as early as 4-5,000 years ago.

I was reminded of these voyages when I saw the Hermione, pictured above, moored in Eyemouth Harbor. It’s a gorgeously sleek six-seater vessel whose crew will row along the 900 miles (give or take a few) of the Northwest Passage this summer. Oh and you can follow along from the comfort of wherever you are. Here’s wishing them a safe voyage.

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