Amazing Footage of Basque Kayak Expedition to Greenland

A trailer has just been released for a forthcoming documentary on a Basque kayak expedition to the Kurssuaq River (meaning “Big River” in the local Greenlandic Inuit language) in Greenland. Aitor Goikoetxea and Mikel Sarasola from Gipuzkoa, together with Fermín Pérez and Edu Sola from Navarre,  spent August and part of September this year in the little visited southwest corner of Greenland in search of challenging river descents.

This is, apparently, the first time such a descent has been attempted on this river by kayak. What’s more, following an unusually dry, mild, and warm spring and summer, water levels were particularly high with glacial run-off. Despite the potential hazards, the team opted for the biggest river of all, the Kurssuaq, and filmed the results for their forthcoming documentary. The actual descent involved a 12-day trek upriver before setting off.

Check out the amazing footage here:

The documentary will be released in 2017. Check out the team’s website here.


  1. bienvenido andino

    September 22, 2016 at 10:35 am

    How do you say it:
    Kurssuaq River (meaning “Big River” in the local Greenlandic Inuit language

    in Basque? Any links between both languages?

    • katu

      September 22, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Thanks for the question.

      “Big River” would be ibai handia in Basque (literally ‘river big’). Basque is a language isolate. It has no demonstrable genealogical relationship with any other languages. There is evidence, however, to suggest that contemporary Basque is related to the language of ancient inscriptions in Aquitaine (dating from between the first and third centuries CE) in what is today southwest France. Yet in reality it would appear that this language in Aquitaine was just an older form of Basque.

      For theories about Basque language origins, check out Basque Sociolinguistics by Esti Amorrortu, free to download here; and A Brief History of the Basque Language by Iván Igartua and Xabier Zabaltza, free to download here.

      Just out of interest, and perhaps obviously, there are numerous “Big Rivers” throughout the world: Mississippi, for example, means just that, while the Niger is known as Isa Ber (‘big river’) in Songhay and there is also Tonlé Sap (meaning ‘big river’) in Cambodia.

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