“What do you do when a polar bear charges you? We found yelling colorful language was more effective than gentle talking,” says 65-year-old writer and Arctic explorer Jon Turk. “The right tone could communicate, ‘You’re bad. We’re just as bad.’”
Turk and pro kayaker Erik Boomer discovered this when, during the final week of their 1,485-mile circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island, a polar bear ripped a hole in their tent—while five other bears looked on.
Jon Turk is a hero of mine. I’ve read all three of his books — Cold Oceans, In the Wake of the Jomon, and The Raven’s Gift — and loved them all. He’s a scientist (Ph.D. in chemistry), a writer, and an adventurer. I’ve seen him read/speak twice, and he is excellent and very inspiring. Both times I’ve had opportunity to chat with him, and he is personable and interesting. The fact that, at 65, he still undertakes these massive expeditions is fantastic. He lives part time not all that far from me. I’d like to run into the guy. I’d buy him a beer or two and listen to him tell stories of his adventures.
UPDATE: Here’s a link to an article from the New York Times.