Jeff Allen – reliving the footsteps of Gino Watkins
In the Summer of 2021 Jeff Allen took our AquaTrek®36 backpack on a tour reliving the footsteps of Gino Watkins who was lost in a sea kayaking tragedy in Lake Fjord on the South East Coast of Greenland in 1932.
In the words of Jeff himself – “Gino was an incredible adventurer, at the time Gino was feted as being the natural successor to both Scott and Shackleton and despite his young age was showing great natural leadership and some of his exploits had already attracted considerable attention.”
“The exact details of his death were never ascertained, he left the group to hunt seal from his skin on frame kayak, which was part of his role within the team. It is believed that he had exited his kayak onto an ice floe, to make some degree of adjustment to his clothing, hunting rig, or maybe just to relieve himself, that during this time a nearby glacier calved, creating a tidal wave which could have swept him and his kayak into the water, or possibly his kayak slipped into the water, and whilst stranded on the ice floe, chose to swim to it to recover it.”
“His body was never found, though his kayak, and some of his equipment and clothing were recovered.
There wasn’t the great paddling community, that we have now, that’s because he was one of the very early fathers of our sport/passion. He was considered by many, to be the father of modern day sea kayaking.”
“For me, the ‘In the wake of Watkins’ isn’t just an expedition to East Greenland, it is also a pilgrimage to the scene where a great man of his day, was lost, but not before he had given birth to a grand lineage of paddlers world wide.”
You can find out more about Jeff, his adventures and expeditions by checking out his website by hitting this link. Expedition Paddler