Justin Fornal

This summer the world will witness a historic expedition that will test the endurance and will power of two humans battling the elements for the sake of adventure. It will in turn promote crucial global warming awareness and understanding of the effects the planet's fast-changing state has on the Arctic.  

Facing a daunting and dangerous journey just to get there, the Great Arctic Swim Expedition will launch August 7, 2022 from New York. The ultimate objective is to have the first human being swim from Canada to Greenland across a 25-mile section of the Nares Strait, which lies between Canada and Greenland.

The team’s uniquely incredible athletic travel adventure will honor the planet and the people who inhabit it. From aviation and extreme swimming to nature and culture, the projects' range of important topics is set to bring worldwide attention to two men who dare to make a difference. Four years of dutiful planning has resulted in this awe-inspiring itinerary.

A first in the history of exploration, long distance swimmer Justin Fornal will take on the challenge alongside his exploration partner, General Aviation pilot, Wesley Archer. The groundbreaking pioneers’ dream will become a reality as the duo will first fly North through remote arctic Canada with a primary day stop in Iqaluit Canada. From there the expedition takes a daring turn as they undertake the dangerous crossing to Qaanaaq Greenland over the inhospitable Arctic and Baffin Bay.  

“The Nares Strait and to the south, Baffin Bay, are the epicenter for the results of global warming. Conditions are changing fast and in dramatic fashion and the result is the loss of traditional Inuit culture and the natural ecology. It is imperative we educate the World but we also tell the story of adventure. Together, we believe we will tell the story of the Arctic,” as stated by the team.

After arriving in Qaanaaq, the team will meet with the Inuit hunters who will support the swim and transport the team to Pim Island. They will discuss current conditions on the ice and the weather. The team will also be in contact with support teams in the US to ensure the weather forecast will be stable during the swim portion of the expedition. After final preparation and planning the team, along with the hunters, will set off for Pim Island.

From there, the Qaanaaq team will be transported by the hunters to Pim Island on a 120-mile open water sea journey. It is imperative the weather conditions during this phase hold up. The Nares Strait has some of the most extreme weather in the Arctic. The winds can reach hurricane force as the result of the Nares Strait compression zone and the ice flows are unpredictable.  

Once at Pim Island, the team will contact their science advisor to ensure weather and sea ice conditions will remain good for at least three days. When conditions permit, Justin will begin the epic 25 plus mile swim across the Nares Strait as Wesley rows in a kayak next to him full of supplies including food, water, and hot drinks. The Inuit support team will remain close by to keep away potential approaches by wildlife such as massive Greenland sharks and territorial walruses.

The expedition in collaboration with Polar Bears International will be both a trial like no other of athletic endurance, climate change awareness, as well as cultural appreciation. The team will harmoniously move along each step of the way with deep admiration for local culture and traditions of each community they encounter.  

Others involved in the expedition include Emmy Award Nominated filmmaker Emiliano Ruprah, who will serve as director, photographer, and cinematographer. Visit Greenland has graciously sponsored travel for Emiliano, which the crew expresses gratitude since the self-funded expedition works with a low out-of-pocket budget to fund the monumental task.

Additionally, G.W.K. Moore serves as science advisor and will support the team from Toronto. Moore has a Ph.D. in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics from Princeton University and a B.Sc. in Theoretical Physics from the University Guelph. He is currently a Professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga in the Department of Chemical & Physical Sciences.  

Sakiko Daorana, who is the Greenland advisor and expedition fixer who serves as a Board Member for Visit Greenland and Greenland Adventure Expert, also joins the project.  

What will be accomplished on the incredible journey will be more than just risky flight or swimming feat. This is an adventure for all mankind that will test human endurance and the sheer will power to raise awareness about the changing world.

About Justin Fornal:

Justin Fornal is an international explorer, long distance swimmer, and cultural detective.  Justin is the expedition Swimmer and will be central in telling the story of the arctic and its inhabitants. Justin is also the host of "Unexplained and Unexplored" on the Science Channel. More can be read at

About Wesley Archer:

Wesley Archer is an explorer, adventurer, and General Aviation pilot with over 1100 hours in a Cirrus. Wesley is co-producing and directing logistics for the expedition and will fly his personal single engine plane to Qaanaaq. Wesley will also act as a safety supervisor during the swim.

About The Great Arctic Swim:

Justin Fornal and Wesley Archer will fly from NY to Qaanaaq Greenland in a single engine Cirrus SR22. They will cross the Canadian wilderness, ice fields of Baffin Bay, and land in the remote high arctic.  Once in Qaanaaq, the team will cross over 120 miles of sea from Qaanaaq to Pim Island Canada. The sea voyage will be led by Inuit hunters. Justin will complete the first swim across the Nares Strait between Canada and Greenland. It will be a 25 plus mile race against time before winds and ice prevent the crossing. For more information, please visit

Photo Courtesy Of Lawlor Media Group