Ellesmere Island Circumnavigation: Maclean’s Interview with Jon Turk and Erik Boomer

Jon Turk and Erik Boomer recently became the first people to complete a circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island. Ellesmere Island in north of Greenland, way the heck above the Arctic Circle and this trip was beyond hardcore. Despite just dealing with the conditions, the two had some wildlife encounters, including a scary episode with a walrus:

Walruses are also really big and aggressive, and they know how to use their tusks. Another day, in the early morning, we were paddling through a really beautiful iceberg area, it was so serene and monotonous. Literally in the snap of a finger, this walrus exploded out of the water and I found myself bracing. It charged me multiple times and I couldn’t get away—it was incredibly scary, and I felt really vulnerable. I had about a 15- to 20-second struggle, and then, just as quick as it came, it was gone. It was almost like a dream.

I like sea kayaking, and I like walruses, but the combination of the two in the manner described above would probably scare me back to land for quite some time! This must have been an amazing, challenging and yet again amazing trip. I’ll search around for more information about this expedition, and see if I can find and link to some photos.

The full article is here: http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/01/31/adventure-on-dodging-polar-bears-eluding-death-and-discovering-an-overwhelming-sense-of-freedom/

UPDATE: Here’s the link to Jon Turk’s blog about the expedition. Great photos! http://jonturk.net/content/blog

Cab Calloway as a Ghost Walrus in old Betty Boop cartoon

This one’s cool on a couple of levels. First off, the video begins with Cab Calloway dancing to “Minnie the Moocher” in front of his band, busting some serious moves. The 1931 precursor to the moonwalk, the Crip walk, and James Brown’s dance moves all in one. This must have blown people’s minds back in the 30’s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaZOXF83zBg

The ghost walrus appears at 4:21. Kids today, they have no idea how surreal old cartoons were.

Great Migrations: Pacific Walrus

I have posted about this program before, when it first aired, in this post. This embedded clip is a minute or so from the “behind the scenes” episode – this one is from a larger ABC News piece about the Great Migrations program. There’s some great walrus footage in here – it’s worth a look.

I really wish I could find a way to watch this entire program online, but neither Hulu nor Netflix has it for streaming. I’m not paying Comcast even MORE money per month just to get National Geographic Channel. Guess I might have to hunt down the DVD. Oh no wait, check that, Amazon has it for download/streaming through Amazon Prime. $19.99 though!

Amazing walrus chair

Walrus Chair Front View
www.maximoriera.com

Spanish Artist Máximo Riera has created a very dramatic piece of art in his “Walrus Chair”, part of a larger series of animal-inspired art chairs which includes a rhino and a truly amazing Octopus. I would love to see this chair (well chaise lounge, actually) in real life. The scale of it and the apparent realism must be very striking indeed.

The piece sure speaks for itself, but Maximo’s promotional material for this piece contains the following…

The Walrus was drafted to accommodate the seats upon its back, merging into the animal, with a flawless compatibility. This fact gives a uniqueness to the composition. The artist wanted to preserve the real elevation of the animal, making the person who sits on it, share the same perspective. One of the most challenging aspects in this work, was the skin’s texture and consistency. The Walrus owns a natural volume and magnitude, attributes that makes him recognizable and distinct from any other species. It’s thick skin wrinkles and rests along its surface, this was a key element to have in consideration to prevent an artificial result.

http://www.maximoriera.com/html/projects.php?pid=2

According to the silhouettes on Maxim’s press page – there are more animal chairs coming in the series. The page shows a place for a lion, a whale and a rhinoceros stag beetle! The sculptural elements of the chairs seem to be carved out of compressed foam.

Walrus chair rear view
www.maximoriera.com

Learn more at http://www.maximoriera.com

The site contains beautiful hi-res imagery of all of the chairs, as well as a well-designed PDF document about the entire series.

Horkers: The War Walruses of Skyrim

Like many many other people, I’ve been playing Skyrim lately. I got my copy for Christmas, so I haven’t played through the game too far, but I am looking forward to (well, not really, until I level up some more) running into a Horker! As you can see above, the Horker is a sort of walrus-beast and exists in the world of Skyrim as a wild random encounter. The Skyrim Wiki explains..

Horkers are passive-aggressive creatures usually found near water, particularly the ocean and cold areas. They are often encountered in groups and are highly social…

As in real life – Horkers are valuable for their meat and tusks. More information about their in-game stats is available here: http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Horker

Update: I ran into my first Horkers last night. They must have recognized me a a friend of the walrus, for they did not attack, and I left them alone.

Fus-Ro-Dah!

Walrus Pic of the Day: I’ll be up here, guys….

PHOTO: DANIEL BELTRA

Check out this photo! I found this on Twitter in a news article, and then Dan Ritzman (@lastcurlew) a campaign manager with the Sierra Club, sent me a larger version of the photo! Here’s what Dan has to say about the picture:

This happens fairly often when a few walrus gather on a melting ice chunk. The ice melts out underneath but the weight of the walrus keeps it submerged then when a bunch of the walrus swim off leaving one on the now lighter iceberg floats up suspending one walrus high in the air…

Thanks Dan!

Note: Longtime readers may remember another picture of this type posted here (http://www.worldwidewalrusweb.com/2011/04/21/walrus-pic-of-the-day-3/ ).

Nice piece of walrus clip art

If you’ve even done an image search for walrus art, you know there are MILLIONS of images out there. However, it can be tricky to find a piece of artwork that’s not a cartoon. That’s why this one caught my eye. It’s from Arthur’s Clip Art.

Here’s the link to the full size image (it’s a GIF and quite large).

6 Amazing Facts About Walruses

 

 

 

 

 

This is a link to an old page – and you may quibble with the term “amazing” – but there are indeed a good sized amount of walrus facts on the page below. Here’s a sample

In water, walruses can reach 35 km (22 mi) per hour, but they swim with a medium speed of 7 km (4 mi) per hour. Walruses do not go further than 30 km (19 mi) off the coast. Propelling is ensured by rear limbs, while the front limbs work like rudders.

Here’s the link to the full page (beware the underlined blue terms, they spawn ads):
http://news.softpedia.com/news/6-Amazing-Facts-About-Walruses-72981.shtml

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