Have you ever dreamed of exploring? Or of being the first to achieve something that no-one else ever accomplished? To quote that infamous TV show, to boldly go where no man has ever gone before?!?

Well, while most of us have had thoughts of doing such things, very few of us actually get out there and do it. In a few weeks time we will be hosting an event (along with Cap U’s School of Outdoor Recreation) where adventurer/intrepid explorer/paddler Jaime Sharp will be talking about getting out there and doing it! Specifically, he will be presenting on his team’s incredible successful attempt to be the first to paddle around the Svalbard Archipelago in Northern Norway.

Jaime Sharp, Tara Mulvany & PG Porsanger

From his website, Jaime describes the attempt as “In the heart of the Arctic Ocean, at 76-81 degrees North, the Svalbard Archipelago remains one of the world’s last great ‘firsts’. Despite numerous attempts, no one has ever paddled around all four main islands…This will be our adventure amongst ice bears and Islands.”

Reading further, those previous attempts weren’t just failures of equipment or initiative – one of the very well prepared teams had to pull out because of devastating injury. Another because one member of the team was dragged from his tent by a polar bear, and left severely injured after being saved from being its next meal by his quick-thinking teammate and his shotgun. This was not going to be an easy endeavor.

Jaime & polar bear

Jaime’s team consisted of Tara Mulvany, a Kiwi who has distinguished herself with her solo paddles around her native New Zealand and also Vancouver Island, and PG Porsanger, a very capable ex-Norwegian Special Forces outdoor specialist. Jaime’s own qualifications include training with kayaking bodies of New Zealand, the UK and Canada, and he has undertaken extended self-supported trips in Norway, Panama, Belize and Arctic Canada. If anyone was going to complete this journey, these guys were.

Jaime Sharp and walruses in Svalbard

So, what happened on the expedition? What troubles did they come up against? Did they have any close encounters with polar bears?!? To find out you’ll have to join us at Cap U’s Centre for the Performing Arts on February 17th where Jaime will be presenting video and photos from the trip, answering questions and inspiring the rest of us to just explore a little further, paddle a little harder and live a little bit fuller. Tickets are only $15, $10 for students (use code CapilanoU) at webscorer, or $20 cash on the door.

You won’t want to miss it.