Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles

An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Monday, 7 April 2014

Watkins Expedition East Greenland 2014 Part 1

On the 12th August 2014 I will be joining a strong team of eight sea kayakers, all with Greenland paddling experience, from Great Britain and the United States. We will meet up at Sermiligaq on the coast of East Greenland and attempt to paddle approximately one hundred miles north to Lake Fjord (Tugtilik). This is the site of the base camp of the Second British Arctic Air Route Expedition and the place where Gino Watkins died on 20 August 1932.

The expedition will be led by Martin Rickard  www.seakayakadventures and Sam Cook assisted by Les Kirkpatrick and supported by the well known sea kayak film maker and guide book writer Jim Krawiecki  Welsh-Sea-Kayaking .

Lake Fjord has a latitude of 66 deg 19 min North so it is just outside the Arctic Circle. It has been visited by kayak previously but this is believed to be the largest kayak expedition since the original BAARE in 1930.

The coast north of Sermiligaq is extremely rugged and fully exposed to the North Atlantic. During the first two days it may be possible to paddle to the rear of the numerous islands en route in order to minimise the effects of the swell. There may also be issues with sea ice which could hamper progress.

The final days paddling will involve firstly a long crossing across the entrance to Kangerdlugsuatsiak followed by a difficult section of coastline with steep cliffs, named Hell Corner by the 1930 expedition. After Kangerdlugsuatsiak there is no realistic place to land until Lake Fjord. This is potentially the most difficult and hazardous part of the trip. The success or failure of the expedition will be determined by the weather here.

The object of the 2104 Expedition is to explore some of the area around the original base camp, including the glacier where Gino Watkins died, from the sea and by foot. In addition it is hoped to 'live off the land' a little by supplementing our diet with some fish hopefully caught by members of the expedition.

It is also the intention to remain on site until 20 August in order to commemorate the death of Gino Watkins.

The trip will expose the team to numerous hazards including moving ice, potential foul weather including storms, heavy seas and of course polar bears.

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During the weekend of 5/6 April 2014 six members of the team met up on Anglesey to enjoy some paddling and to get to know each other.

On the Sunday time was spent practising rescue scenarios under the Menai Bridge which gave the opportunity to start some team building.



1 comment:

gsimson said...

Good luck with the trip, should be a great one