02 August 2023

Reverse the bad_red logo

After 268 days in his kayak, 1,643 hours of paddling and a journey of almost 11,000 kilometers, 65-year-old Mark Fuhrmann has today completed his epic Reverse the Bad charity expedition across Canada and the United States.

In doing so, he becomes the first person to solo kayak the Greater Loop circuit, beginning (and ending) in Halifax, Nova Scotia and traversing the Great Lakes, the Illinois, the Mississippi, the Tennessee and Tombigbee rivers, before hitting the Gulf of Mexico and heading up the Atlantic Coast.

Mark Ervin giving a thumbs up from his red sea kayak in front of the Statue of Liberty.
Photo: Courtesy of Reverse the Bad

Paddling for positivity

A smiling, but understandably exhausted, Fuhrmann, stepped out of his kayak—possibly for the last time—greeting well-wishers with the memorable line, “Can I get a beer, please?” As it transpired, he got more than one.

The Canadian native, who relocated to Oslo, Norway in the 1990s, set out from Halifax on June 2 last year. His aim, apart from traveling across North America, was raising much-needed funds for charities Doctors Without Borders and Captains Without Borders, as well as pushing a message of “positivity, community and caring for our troubled times.”

Mark extends hand to fellow kayaker for a high five
Photo: Courtesy of Reverse the Bad

Deep connections

“It’s been a hell of a trip,” he exclaims, “but worth every minute of exertion, discomfort and pain. Not only to raise money and awareness, but also to have such a genuine experience; one where I feel I’ve really connected with nature, people and something deep within myself. Looking back, I’m truly grateful for every day, in addition to the immense, and touching, generosity of an army of supporters en route.

“But that doesn’t mean I’m planning another trip anytime soon!”

Mark in his red sea kayak in front of sign reading "Welcome to Virginia"
Photo: Courtesy of Reverse the Bad

Extreme endurance

Fuhrmann, who also completed a charity kayak from Oslo to Athens, Greece in 2017, says the last leg of the journey was arguably the toughest of all. He had to navigate through 23 days of continuous fog, tackle extreme tides and currents—particularly in the Bay of Fundy—and struggled to find anywhere to pitch his tent on the rocky, treacherous coastline.

“Some evenings I had to drag my kayak up three or four metres of rock inclines, while others I was lucky enough to sleep on moored lobster vessels. There were some challenging waves too, as well as a lot of ferries and fishing boats to avoid. It’s been incredibly draining… and I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep, in an actual bed.”

He’s also eager to see his family, including his young grandchildren, and friends face to face, and may throw a small party when he’s back in Norway.

“I think we have to celebrate the fact I survived,” he says with a big grin, adding, “I hope the folks back home feel the same way too.”

Vital support

Mark chose the Reverse the Bad charities as his late wife was a doctor, while the company he ran before retirement—Blue-C—is a specialist maritime PR and communications firm. Captains Without Borders focuses on providing education scholarships and assistance to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds looking to forge careers at sea.

There’s still time to donate to the charities through the Reverse the Bad website and help out these incredibly worthy causes. Please see www.mark-ervin.com


  1. Deceiving title as the first being Mark Furhmann. The Loop was first done in 1933 by two college kids. I personally know 5 others who have done the Loop. Your description makes it sound like he’s the 1st to do so.

  2. It does say he’s the first to solo kayak it. You mention the 1933 was two kids, were the other 5 that you know of done solo?


  3. The northeast corner of “the Great Loop” navigates thru the state of New York and is about 9,700km long. The northeast corner of
    “The Greater Loop” that Mark completed additionally corcumnavigates the states of RI, MA, CT, VT, NH, ME and the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Socia and is about 11,000km long.


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