Gallipoli centenary adventure knocked off course

By James O'Hanlon 1 April 2015
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Severe weather and punishing seas have forced AGS adventurer Huw Kingston to alter the route of his Mediterranean circumnavigation.

AFTER BATTLING FIERCE storms rowing across the Mediterranean, AG Society supported adventurer Huw Kingston has made last-minute changes to his route and plans to finish his journey as planned by Anzac Day on 25 April.

On 26 April 2014 Huw pushed off from the rocky shores of Anzac Cove beginning a year long journey circumnavigating the Mediterranean. Using only human powered means – kayak, hiking, cycling and row boat – Huw planned to arrive back at Anzac Cove in time for the Anzac Centenary.

Ten months after setting off, Huw had traversed southern Europe, from Gallipoli to Gibraltar, and circled back along the north coast of Africa (see the full story in the Mar/Apr print issue of Australian Geographic). The final stage of his journey was to row across the Mediterranean from Tunisia to Turkey in a specially designed boat, christened Mr Hops.

Epic sea voyage

To complete this gruelling sea voyage Huw teamed up with Slovenian rower Marin Medak. In two-hour shifts Huw and Marin took turns rowing while the other slept. This continued 24 hours a day for weeks at a time. Over this time, Huw and Marin had to eat 7000 calories a day just to fuel their bodies.

When nearing the halfway point of their epic sea voyage, the weather changed dramatically. Rather than continue towards Crete the pair were forced to head north to Greece and avoid being stranded in stormy seas. Now joined by a third rower, Dimitris Kokkoris, the plan was to head south around the Peloponnese and get back on track in the open ocean of the Mediterranean. However persistent storms and dangerously high winds hampered their progress and they were falling behind schedule.

On 22 March, with only a month until Anzac Day, Huw was faced with a difficult decision, continue rowing boat and risk missing the Anzac Centenary, or break his one rule of using only human powered means and arrive on time.

Flying back to turkey

“I decided today to break my human-powered rule,” said Huw in a video posted to his Facebook page. “It’s been an amazing journey and you can’t always expect it all to go according to plan. It hasn’t all gone according to plan, and this is just one more little part of the story I guess.”

Huw took a short flight from Athens to Rhodes, and a ferry from Rhodes to Marmaris in Turkey. Now reunited with his faithful kayak Miss Grape Huw is back in the water and paddling towards the Gallipoli Peninsula. He plans to arrive in Anzac Cove by 24 April.

Huw’s journey so far has raised over $60,000 for Save the Children. He aims to complete this journey in commemoration of the Gallipoli landings 100 years ago, and to share the story of the Anzacs whilst promoting the Anzac ideals of courage, endurance and mateship.

Huw’s route as planned in early 2015 before dangerous weather forced him to return to Turkey by non-human powered means (Credit: AG Cartography):

Huw Kingston map