The British/Australian six man crew of the intrepid Shackleton Epic expedition is ready to embark on one of the world’s most challenging and dangerous journeys – the 800 nautical mile sail across the treacherous southern ocean from Elephant Island to South Georgia and the climb across its mountainous, crevassed interior.
The crew plans to depart from Point Wild, Elephant Island, the same location where Shackleton and his crew sailed from almost 100 years ago, at: 2100hrs GMT/UTC on Wednesday 23 January (0800hrs local Sydney time 24 January; 1600hrs local US east coast time 23 January). Live tracking and updates from the expedition at: www.shackletonepic.com
“We are well aware of the dangers but believe we have a good little boat (Alexandra Shackleton, a 22.5′ exact replica of the James Caird), a great team and the spirit and courage to be able to honor the legend of Shackleton,” Tim Jarvis AM, expedition leader said.
After four years of planning, Jarvis, a dual British/Australian citizen and his crew comprising British skipper, Nick Bubb, Australian navigator, Paul Larsen, and Brits mountain leader WO2 Barry Gray RM, bosun Petty Officer Seb Coulthard RN and mountaineer and cameraman Ed Wardle, will don their traditional gear and spend approximately 16 days battling the gales and fearsome seas that roar around the bottom of the world unhindered by land.
They will then face a two day climb to 900m (2,952ft) over the mountainous, crevassed interior of South Georgia before reaching the old whaling station at Stromness, on the other side of the island.
“We want to do this as Shackleton and his men did it – wearing only wool and gabardine outer layers, eating the same diet of pemmican, and navigating only by the sun and stars with a chronometer, compass, sextant and nautical almanac – if we make it to South Georgia, we’ll be climbing with only a length of rope and a carpenter’s adze,” Jarvis added.
As the official event marking the start of the Shackleton centenary, if the team is successful, they will become the first to emulate Shackleton’s voyage and climb using traditional gear.
“We are honoring Shackleton, undoubtedly one of the greatest leaders and explorers of all time while trying to draw attention to the impacts of climate change in Antarctica,” said Jarvis.
Tim Jarvis is a renowned adventurer and environmental scientist who has partnered with conservation group Fauna & Flora International (FFI) for the expedition. The expedition’s presenting partner is Intrepid Travel, major sponsors are Arup and St.George Bank, and official supplier is Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky.