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David F. Pelly Writer, Researcher, Historian, Photographer

Major Expeditions
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I use the word “Expeditions” cautiously. What I really mean is something akin to “real travel” – travel that is rooted in truly “being there” and taking full responsibility for one’s own travel, from the planning to the execution. I’d say “self-propelled” except that would preclude sailing the oceans or paddling down fast-flowing rivers – two of my favourite things in the world. Perhaps that could be seen as harnessing the forces of Nature as they become available. It is certainly part of the thrill of real travel. I eschew the word “explorer,” at least in the sense of traditional “discovery” – we are not out there to find something new in the land so much as to find something new in ourselves. That is the joy of expeditionary travel. I have no idea how many miles I’ve paddled – that was never the point of it all – except to say that it’s a lot. But I do vividly recall so many of the places that paddling took me – they will remain fixed in my memory to the end. As my friends and tripping companions have heard me say many times, the ideal approach to barrenlands canoeing, for example, is to take a two-week trip and “cram” it into four weeks.

(In the Northwest Territories or Nunavut unless otherwise noted)
1977 - Back River (canoe)
1982 - Kazan River (canoe)
1984 - Central Keewatin (sled)
1985 - Thelon River (canoe, peregrine falcon survey)
1986 - Southampton Island (sled)
1986 - Wager Bay (sea-kayak)
1987 - Wager Bay (hiking)
1988 - Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary (dog-sled)
1988 - Kazan River (canoe) (Operation Raleigh)
1989 - Lac la Martre (dog-sled)
1989 - Thelon River (canoe & hiking)
1990 - Arctic coast: Gjoa Haven to Pelly Bay (dog-sled)
1990 - Pitz Lake, Kunwak, Kazan circle (canoe & hiking)
1991 - Thelon River (canoe) (Canada Goose Survey)
1991 - Thelon River (canoe) (Film Production)
1991 - Kazan River (canoe) (Film Production)
1992 - Thelon River (canoe & hiking)
1993 – Iceland central highlands (hiking)
1993 - Richmond Gulf (boat/hiking)
1994 - Ungava Peninsula (airplane - winter flying)
1994 - Torngat Mountains/Ungava Bay (boat/hiking)
1995 - Gulf of St. Lawrence/North shore of Quebec (sailboat)
1996 - Wager Bay (boat/hiking)
1996 - Ekalluk River, Victoria Island (canoe)
1997 - Surrey River, Victoria Island (canoe)
1998 - Boothia Peninsula (dog-sled)
1998 - Greenland (coastal boat and hiking)
1999 - Pitok River, Queen Maud Gulf (canoe)
2000 - Ekalluk River, Victoria Island (canoe, hiking)
2001 - Simpson River, Queen Maud Gulf (canoe)
2002 - Consul River, Back River (canoe)
2003 - Clarke/Thelon River (canoe, hiking)
2004 - Venezuela to Nova Scotia (sailboat)
2005 - circumnavigation of Cape Breton (sailboat)
2006 - Elk/Thelon River (canoe, hiking)
2007 - Newfoundland’s west coast to the Strait of Belle Isle (sailboat)
2008 - Quebec’s North Shore to Labrador (sailboat)
2009 - Labrador Coast  (sailboat)
2010 - Newfoundland - Labrador - Quebec North Shore - Iles de la Madeleine - PEI - Cape Breton – Newfoundland - (sailboat) 2000 nautical miles
2011 - Arviat to the treeline, return (snowmobile)
2013 - Newfoundland: Fogo, Twilingate, Moreton Harbour, all around the circle ... and north to Quirpon and Anse aux Meadows (sailboat)
2014 - Newfoundland to Halifax (sailboat) - 1250 nautical miles
2016 - Clarke/Thelon River (canoe/hiking)
2018 - Keele River, Mackenzie Mountains (canoe)
2019 – traverse of the Atlas Mountains, Morocco (hiking)
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Canoeing on the Kazan River, 1982

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Dog-sled trip, 1990

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Sailing the coast of Labrador, 2009

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Eric, Laurie & David’s son, on his first month-long canoe trip, 2000 – by the time he was 12, he had paddled six different barrenlands rivers

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Paddling a rapid on the Thelon River, 2003