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An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Monday, 21 July 2014

Watkins Expedition East Greenland 2014 pt 2 - update 21 July 2014

It is now a little under three weeks until I fly to Iceland and then on to Kulusuk on the East coast of Greenland for the start of the expedition to Lake Fjord. This is where Gino Watkins drowned whilst seal hunting from his kayak on the 20th August 1932.

Our team leader Martin Rickard Seakayakadventures has commenced his first trip of this years season and is currently on the West side of Sermilik Fjord. From their position via Spot the team appear to have made excellent progress since leaving Tasiilaq last Friday.

I am sending them regular weather and ice updates via sat phone whilst also monitoring their progress on Spot.

We have devised our own code for sending these updates and we use the chart below to give information on a number of locations.


Numbers 1 to 10 are very much like the numbers of a clock using Angmagssalik Island as its clock face. Number 11 is in Sermilik Fjord near to Martins present location and north of the settlement of Tiniteqilaq which is near to number 10.

The settlements around Angmagssalik are supplied from the main base at Tasiilaq which is at number 5. The supply boat visits once a week with various supplies including stocks for the local supermarkets.



The supply boat Johana Kristina approaching Kuumiut.



The settlement furthest north and on the East coast is Sermiligaaq. The plan is for Martin to complete his second trip at Sermiligaaq and transport the team back to Kulusuk airport by boat. Our team will then travel on the boat up to Sermilgaaq where Martin and the kayaks will be waiting together with equipment previously shipped to Tasiilaq.

We will then have a short window of opportunity to purchase last minute supplies from the local supermarket before heading north up the coast towards Lake Fjord which is around point number 19 under the cloud.

We aim to stay on site at the old 1932 base and spend up to five days exploring the glaciers and surrounding mountains. If the weather holds it may be possible to travel further north into the arctic circle as well as exploring some of the adjacent Fjords. Some of which have yet to be paddled by a European kayaker. Local information we have received is that one of these fjords is the home to a large number of Narwhal.

Today's satellite picture is unusually clear and gives an excellent perspective on current ice conditions. As mentioned Martin is currently near to point 11.

Sermilik fjord usually contains a large amount of ice due to the fact that it is fed by two large glaciers. I think this is where this trip may be heading.


The ice often chokes at Pupik ( No. 8 ) because the Fjord narrows and also becomes shallower. The satellite picture shows it to be clear which would suggest that these are good ice conditions for kayaking and would account for Martins team's good progress.


There is quite a bit of clear water at Semilgaaq 15 - 17 and in the surrounding Fjords but Hell Corner (19) between Kangerdlugsuatsiak and Nigertusok is still choked. This is the crux of our trip and this ice needs to disperse if we are to make it around Hell Corner and into Lake Fjord.

Fingers crossed as we still have a month until we get there.

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