Shackleton Epic voyage reconstruction expedition

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by rwatson, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Number4

    Number4 Previous Member

    They have made South Georgia!

    Latest News

    AEDT 04 Feb 2013/GMT 03 Feb 2013


    Leg One of Adventure from Elephant Island to South Georgia Completed in 12 Days

    Six heavily bearded, exhausted but jubilant adventurers took advantage of 15-20 knot winds and a 2 metre swell to help land their boat, Alexandra Shackleton on the beach at Peggotty Bluff, South Georgia island, at 15.30GMT/UTC 03 February or 02.30amAEDT 04 February this morning – the same location where Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men landed the James Caird nearly 100 years ago.

    The intrepid crew of British and Australian adventurers have made it successfully through Leg One of the historic re-enactment of Shackleton’s voyage of 1916. It took them just 12 days to sail the 800 nautical miles from Elephant Island. Now, three of them, expedition leader Tim Jarvis, mountaineer Barry Gray and cameraman/mountaineer Ed Wardle will prepare to climb across its mountainous, crevassed interior to reach the whaling station at Stromness – just like Shackleton, Worsley and Crean did in 1916.

    Expedition leader, Tim Jarvis, 46 said: “The Alexandra Shackleton really stood up well to the conditions. As an exact replica of the James Caird, she was designed as a life boat and that’s exactly how she performed. She did brilliantly. But steering her was a challenge that required enormous strength and focus.”

    “I’m immensely proud of this crew. They all performed incredibly well under such dire circumstances and the fact that we managed to sail 800 nautical miles in such a small vessel really shows how solid they are individually and how well we worked together as a team,” Jarvis said.

    The crew, who shared a cheers and ‘group hug’ on the beach when they touched dry land, comprised Jarvis along with skipper Nick Bubb, navigator Paul Larsen, bosun Seb Coulthard, mountaineer and cook Barry Gray and cameraman/mountaineer Ed Wardle.

    “There was just no way to keep dry. The waterproofing with wax didn’t work. Below deck, the boat was constantly damp and being on watch meant that you were directly exposed to the elements. On a few occasions a big wave washed over the deck and down the hatch soaking everything down below,” Jarvis said.

    Skipper Nick Bubb, a veteran around the world sailor who is known for few words smiled as he said: “We slept intertwined like a strands of spaghetti in a bowl.”

    This sentiment was shared by Barry Gray who added “When someone needed to get up to go on watch, they need to disentangle themselves from us all. It was like the last 10 seconds of a 1 hour game of twister.”

    The other crew members shared the banter: “There was so little space below deck that I slept folded up like an accordion… with a wooden barrel as a pillow. As more moisture worked its way into the boat, the reindeer skins began to get wet and shed. The reindeer hair went absolutely everywhere – it was in your food, your drink, your clothing, your socks – everywhere,” Seb Coulthard said.

    Australian navigator Paul Larsen who steered the boat on a solid course to South Georgia with only a few days of sunshine to record accurate sun sights using traditional celestial navigation, said: “Putting on your traditional outer gear at night in the dark was like putting on a cold, animal carcass” while veteran adventurer Ed Wardle, who has climbed Everest twice said: “This was the hardest thing I have ever done. In the first few days it was really hard to get any footage at all as I was in basic survival mode. When that storm hit we were riding really huge waves – it was terrifying. ”

    The crew will now rest for a day or so onshore before preparing for the climb. Jarvis, Gray and Wardle will climb using traditional gear while Coulthard, Bubb and Larsen will use modern gear and follow in a second party with a film crew.

    Shackleton Epic is aiming to become the first expedition to authentically re-enact Shackleton’s legendary voyage of survival, honouring the great leader as the Centenary of his daring Endurance expedition approaches (1914-1916).
  2. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    rwatson Senior Member

    " veteran adventurer Ed Wardle, who has climbed Everest twice said: “This was the hardest thing I have ever done. In the first few days it was really hard to get any footage at all as I was in basic survival mode. When that storm hit we were riding really huge waves – it was terrifying. ”

    surprise, surprise , surprise :)
  3. Number4

    Number4 Previous Member

    They are preparing for the mountaineering expedition across South Georgia.
    Three of the six crew have trench foot, two look unlikely to make the last leg.
    The three remaining authentic re-enactors are sleeping in a cave and have not washed or had a change of clothes since 25th January.
    I wonder if anyone has had a sense of humour failure yet?
    Latest News

    07 Feb AEDT/06 Feb GMT – King Haakon Bay, South Georgia

    "We turned in early, full of hope, and slept soundly, but, disturbed once by an untuneful nasal diapason, I turned out and met Sir Ernest, whose anxiety had already brought him out twice. To our joy, the moon was shining, and, as mendacious sailors say, ‘scoffing up the clouds’….Sir Ernest said to me, ‘We’ll get under way now, Skipper.’ "
    Frank Worsley commenting on the night they left to trek over the mountains in South Georgia in Shackleton’s Boat Journey

    The Shackleton Epic expedition is preparing to depart on the second and final leg of their history-making journey over the mountains of South Georgia in approximately 24 hours from now (midnight GMT on Thursday 07 February/ 11.00hrs Friday 08 February AEDT).

    Expedition leader Tim Jarvis is currently grappling with the decision of who goes with him on the trek – the same decision Shackleton himself had to make. Royal Marines mountaineer Baz Gray will be on the trek, however, cameraman and mountaineering veteran Ed Wardle who has climbed Everest twice, is now in doubt. Ed is suffering from ‘trench foot’ and is hoping for a significant improvement in his condition before the team of three are due to depart. Otherwise, another member of the team will be selected.

    It certainly appears now that the AS skipper, Nick Bubb will not be making the crossing with the second party. Expedition Doctor Alex Kumar, who is on the support vessel Australis has now ruled Nick unfit for travel due to his ‘trench foot’. Dr Kumar has consulted with three other physicians over email and they all believe it would be unwise for Nick to make the crossing at this time. Understandably Nick is incredibly disappointed given his outstanding efforts to helm the Alexandra Shackleton safely 800nm across the Southern Ocean to South Georgia.

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  4. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

  5. JosephT
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    JosephT Senior Member

    Great news to hear they made it without casualties. The storms & danger they encountered while mountaineering seems to have been the most treacherous part of their journey. Just 3 guys were fit enough to pull it off. Job well done and I hope they got some pics & video.

  6. Number4

    Number4 Previous Member

    Job well done!
    It sounds like they went through absolute hell.
    They did an amazingly authentic re-enactment.
    Paul Larsen lives an incredible life.
    Good to see that a Royal Navy Petty Officer did the sailing, and a Royal Marine Sergeant Major was there all the way.
    Per Mare, Per Terram

    Latest News

    2130hrs GMT 10 FEBRUARY 2013/1130hrs AEDT 11 FEBRUARY

    “By Endurance We Conquer” - Shackleton family motto




    Jarvis and Gray in Traditional Gear Make it Across the Mountains of South Georgia After Harrowing Three Day Climb…..

    Supported by Larsen, Team Welcomed by Fellow Crew Members Bubb, Coulthard and Wardle

    for Deserved Celebration

    After a harrowing three day climb across South Georgia’s mountainous interior, expedition leader Tim Jarvis and mountaineer, Royal Marine Barry Gray were exhausted, severely weather beaten but elated to reach the old whaling station at Stromness, at 2245GMT today, 10 February (0945 AEDT 11 February), the same location where Shackleton and his men raised the alarm that the crew of the Endurance needed rescue, almost 100 years ago.

    Their arrival marks the achievement of “the double” for the intrepid crew of Shackleton Epic – the ocean crossing 800 nautical miles from Elephant Island to South Georgia and the mountain climb across South Georgia which Shackleton completed in 1916.

    Still wearing the traditional gear they’ve been sporting since the expedition started 19 days ago on 23 January on Elephant Island, the heavily bearded duo have braved blizzard-like conditions during the crossing – perhaps a fitting end to the recreation of one of the greatest survival journeys in history. They were accompanied by fellow crew member, navigator aboard the Alexandra Shackleton replica boat, Paul Larsen, who provided support for the mountain crossing.

    “It was epic, really epic, and we’ve arrived here against the odds,” said the veteran polar adventurer Jarvis. “The ice climb at the Tridents is a serious thing and Shackleton didn’t exaggerate – with ice at 50degrees, with one wrong foot, we could have careened down a crevasse. It was the same for the Crean and Fortuna glaciers. We had more than 20 crevasse falls up to our knees and Baz fell into a crevasse up to his armpits, Paul and I had to haul him out,” a breathless Jarvis said.

    “I want to pay tribute to the outstanding team of courageous men who did this journey with me – Barry Gray, Paul Larsen, Nick Bubb, Seb Coulthard and Ed Wardle. I could not have selected a finer or more capable team of people who pulled together under extreme conditions to help us achieve our goal. They are all first-rate individuals and adventurers but together we became a tight-knit group who braved the odds, and achieved what at times felt like the impossible,” Jarvis said.

    “These early explorers were iron men in wooden boats and while modern man mostly travels around in iron vessels, I hope we’ve been able to emulate some of what they achieved. There’s no doubt in my mind that everyone has a Shackleton “double journey” in them at some level, and I hope we’ve inspired a few people to find theirs,” he said.

    While the duo had to resort to using a tent and sleeping bags to survive the blizzard that engulfed them on the first night of the crossing atop Shackleton’s Gap, they have endeavoured to re-create the expedition as authentically as possible throughout the arduous journey.

    “We’ve had to adapt just as Shackleton and his men did and we had to survive…the point of Shackleton’s journey was to raise the alarm at the Whaling Station at Stromness, and we’ve arrived despite at times during the past few days contemplating that we might not make it due to the extreme weather conditions and afflictions some of the crew suffered during the ocean crossing.

    During the expedition, the team have braved Southern Ocean swells in excess of eight metres, gales packing 50 knot winds, sleep deprivation, seasickness, dehydration and hunger, being constantly wet and cold in the Antarctic’s freezing temperatures and having no room to move or stretch out while cramped aboard their 22.5’ lifeboat, Alexandra Shackleton. On arrival at South Georgia, three of the crew were diagnosed with varying degrees o f‘trench foot’, while others camped for five days in a cave waiting for a break in the weather to commence the climb.

    Last Friday, that break came, but was short-lived. Jarvis and Gray were pinned down for 24 hours atop the plateau at Shackleton’s Gap on the first part of the climb by a ferocious blizzard which knocked members of the support crew and film crew off their feet in 80knot gusts. Both the support team of Larsen and Coulthard along with the film crew evacuated themselves off the mountain to the support vessel, Australis moored in a nearby bay. Later, when the blizzard passed, Larsen rejoined Jarvis and Gray to provide support during the 72 hour climb across South Georgia’s crevassed and mountainous interior – a trek which saw them fall into crevasses over 20 times.

    “It might have taken us double the time it took Shackleton to cross the mountains due to the extreme weather we encountered but we were able to complete the sea journey in a faster time by some five days. Mother Nature rules out here and you just have to go with what she dishes up and make the best of it,” Jarvis said.

    Jarvis also paid tribute to the legion of sponsors, supporters, friends and family who have provided both moral and financial support for the expedition.

    “You can’t do these things alone and it’s taken courage by our backers, family and friends to get us here. Intrepid Travel has shown its commitment to supporting daring adventures and helping to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change in Antarctica, while Arup, St.George Bank and MacKinlay’s Scotch Whisky have all sustained us, in one way or another,” he said.

    The crew will now rest aboard the Australis before trekking around to Grytviken tomorrow, the site of Shackleton’s grave to raise a glass of Mackinlay’s to “the Boss”.

    - by Kim McKay

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