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Tag: adventure

Pole2Pole: A Young Explorer’s Adventure

Pole2Pole - Sailing on Pangaea in Atlantic Ocean.
Pole2Pole – Sailing on Pangaea in Atlantic Ocean.

Latitude: 02°23’.900 N

Longitude: 008°38’.850 W

Heading: 147° true

Wind: Southerly, 18 knots

The horn orchestra performed by the Monaco yachts upon our departure seems so far off in the distance now. Kicking off the expedition at the prestigious Monaco Yacht Club, I remember perceiving Pangaea as dwarfed by the sheer size of the adjacent giants. Not many vehicles can convey a unique story and character as well as boats do, though. That of Pangaea screams adventure. Her expedition-grade rigging and worn aluminum hull with dents and scars, which can each tell a story from the other side of the world, create a stark and curious contrast to the fine-polished hulls and delicate superyacht designs. Moored amongst them, she radiates an insatiable hunger for exploration, as though wanting to instantly break free from the mooring lines and made bound for distant shores.

Today, two weeks and around 3200 nautical miles later, we are hugging the Atlantic coast of the African continent as we cruise down South, having passed the halfway mark on our trip from Monaco to Cape Town already. So far we have been gifted with favorable winds and currents, enabling us to make great progress and push ahead of schedule. This time made good will come in handy soon as we pass the equator and the trade winds and currents start turning against us.

Ever since we’ve passed the Cape Verde Islands and rounded the westernmost tip of Africa, we’ve entered virgin territory for the Pangaea. After rounding the world several times and logging close to 200.000 nautical miles, the Pangaea had yet to be seen by the majority of the African Atlantic coast. The boat is an explorer herself, desiring to leave a track behind in the blank spots on the canvas that is the oceans of the world. This idea has recently been shared with me by Mike when talking about his expedition route choice and has added another layer of appreciation for the boat that we’re sailing on. In the past few months I’ve learned to feel at home on this boat during the expedition preparation phase at port. Now, with the boat making way, entire new facets of the boat are revealing themselves which I’m feverishly familiarizing myself with through the guidance and mentorship of Mike, taking in all the fresh information like a sponge, with the curiousness of the ocean sailing neophyte that I am. While the Pangaea is heading into the approaching waves at a close-hauled course, with the wind filling her freshly painted sails that propel her forward at eleven knots, with the waves tickling her bow as it pierces through the seas, you cannot help but notice her enjoyment and eloquence all along. Now, she truly is in her element.

Of the coast we don’t see much as we stay mostly more than 50 nautical miles offshore. But in the moments we do catch rare glimpses of it, the lights of homes send us imagining about distant and exotic cultures. There, at shore, must be a completely different world and life from what we know. At sea, we’re in our own little world, isolated and surrounded only by the horizon and our thoughts. The longer the duration we are at sea, the simpler our lives become. Watch periods, sail trimming and cloud studying become the cornerstones of our day-to-day life, and the daily progress we’re making stands above all else. We live for the gale that sends us hurrying all across the deck and crawling through sailbags, and for the serene nightwatch that sees the moonlight caressing the deck and the sails from both the sky and the sea; for the breathtakingly colorful sunset like you could only experience it at sea that brings the whole crew together on deck to marvel at the mesmerizing yet momentary display of art in nature; for both the intense times that make us feel alive, and for the tranquil moments that allow us to think about the ones that are important to us. The largest concerns of life at sea become reduced to coming on deck and being told just having missed the pod of pilot whales that passed by us two short minutes ago (happened to me yesterday), or the nightly tradeoff between the occasional spray hitting the face while sleeping, and a close-hatched, airtight sauna of a cabin (Mike could sing you a song about getting ripped out of sleep by a bucket load of spray). The fear of losing focus for just one fraction of a second and being thrown off the boom by the next better gust. And I won’t deny feeling homesick at times. But come that next thrilling storm, that next purple sunset, that next school of playful dolphins graciously surfing down our bow wave, and an overwhelming sense of beauty and gratitude takes over, flushing the most profound kind of contentment down my every fiber. Is this what sailors call “Finding the ocean”?

We are massively enjoying and enthralled by the momentum of the expedition start. The anticipation for what lies ahead is big. We are looking forward to crossing the equator by this time tomorrow, to the amazing things that are awaiting us in Namibia and Cape Town, and beyond all that, to the ever-looming grand adventure that is going to be the Southern Ocean.

With hot and humid regards from Africa,

Felix

AN EXPEDITION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

For 25 years, Mike Horn has inspired and educated the world by pushing the limits of human ability through a series of groundbreaking expeditions. He has circumnavigated the globe entirely under human power, followed the Artic Circle around the globe during the Artic winter, and swum the length of the Amazon River.

In April 2016, Mike embark on his next great adventure, Pole to Pole 360. Mike will attempt to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe north-to-south in a continuous, single year expedition.

Mike will begin this groundbreaking expedition from Europe, then sail his boat, the Pangaea, south to Cape Town, South Africa, the nation where Mike was born. From there it’s across the Southern Ocean to Antarctica, where he will cross Antarctica on skis. Crossing finished, he will sail the Pacific from south to north, ending up in the Arctic. From there, he will travel by ski and kayak to Greenland, where he returns to his boat and finishes his trip by sailing back to Europe.

Two separate but equally intriguing stories will unfold. As it circumnavigates the globe, Pangaea will be in a constant state of adventure and exploration. While Mike is consumed by making the solo crossings of Antarctica and the Arctic Ocean, his 110-foot sailboat will be moving toward his exit points. The boat will act as a platform for research, education and ancillary expeditions with other world class adventurers and athletes in seldom-explored regions of the world.

Mike’s journey will be documented on this website, on video, on film and digital video and via social media. Mike will bring a crew, and Pangaea provides ample room for a team of athletes, filmmakers, photographers and writers. In addition, Pangaea is complete with the latest technology, including a satellite uplink, providing real-time communication from anywhere in the world.

This becomes the greatest exploratory expedition of the 21st century, an unbelievable adventure with the best athletes in the world, going to the farthest reaches of the planet.

We hope you’ll follow this expedition, which starts in April.

Final Report from K2 – On Turning Back from “the Mountain of Mountains.”


We are back down from our summit attempt.

Last night I was sitting in front of my tent looking up at the mountain that stamped its effect on my life.

Base camp is not exactly where we want to be, but I am satisfied that we gave it our best shot. Even more important, we tried with everything we had.

I often speak of failure as a big part of my life. Nothing I do is a sure thing, otherwise I would not be doing it; not knowing if, or if not, is the most exciting aspect of my life, In fact I have built my life on the chance of failure, because then, each time you do something, you have to do your best!


Maybe one day I must halt trying, then and only then will I cease failing but I will also terminate the chance of success.

How can man fall asleep if so many unsure dreams elude him?

— Mike

Life at the Command of the G-Class

Thirty Hours. That’s the amount of time we’ve spent so far in the comfort of the fancy G-Class cars ever since our much-anticipated departure from Moscow on Monday. Given the long journey that awaited us stuck in the confinements of our mobile metallic boxes, some strategic team distribution was in order! Mike and camera crew in the Silver Fox (Grey car), and the girls at the command of the Black Bomb (Black car). With Jess as my most-trusted copilot and Masha, former Russian Young Explorer and current freelance journalist in the backseat, we’ve had more than enough time to share our entire life stories, to bore ourselves to sleep and to lose our voices from an overdose of singing.

If discrete was the type of trip we were aiming for, our imposing German tanks certainly weren’t helping us! We’ve been attracting more gazes than hot girls in bikinis, and while we’re on the subject, our rearview mirrors have been reflecting quite the opposite as Jess and I take occasional glimpses of our “current states”. Yet bagless eyes and shiny hair are the least of our worries as we live the thrill of such an exciting journey. As we cruise from petrol refill to caffeine refill, endless landscapes parade majestically before our attentive eyes. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect before embarking on this crazy adventure, but I must say, what we’ve witnessed so far has exceeded all my expectations. Next stop: Kazakhstan!

By: Annika Horn

Russian Generosity

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While cruising between Volgograd and Astrakhan, our last destination before crossing the Kazak border, my mind keeps reflecting back to our short yet rich experience crossing the Russian territories. There is something unique about this nation that makes it all the most intriguing. From the window of the G500, I had quite some time to observe the streets, the facilities, and the living conditions of the people of the Motherland. What I saw equaled my expectations; the streets are dirty, the infrastructure is underdeveloped, and government officials are unwelcoming. But on the rare breaks of our journey, we interacted with the locals and were greeted with overwhelming generosity and hospitality. It is then that I noticed the existence of a huge gap between the open mindedness of the people who welcomed us in their houses, shared their food, and told their stories and their country which seems stuck by the restrictions of their USSR days. Along the way, a doctor kindly escorted us in and out and around the beautiful city of Moscow as a result of the unavailability of Russian maps in our navigation system. We then continued Southward out of the city, stomachs filled with delicious food, after a couple invited us in their humble home and proudly made us explore locally grown products. Spasibo Russia! #DrivenToExplore

By: Jessica Horn

PRIVET RUSSIA!

DIM_0253DIM_0396DIM_0851Expedition to K2. Driving from Switzerland to Pakistan

After three days of unrelenting driving, Mike and his team finally arrive in the capital of Russia, Moscow. Brimming with beautiful historical monuments, its unique urban architecture contrasts with the richness of its greenery. From his point of departure Château-d’Oex, Switzerland up until now, Mike and his crew have witnessed spectacular sceneries from the comfort of their two Mercedes-Benz G-Wagons. Despite a couple hours lost stuck in traffic, the team is advancing rapidly towards their final destination: Pakistan! “There’s a pleasant surprise to be found after every turn on the road. This road trip is a lot more of an adventure than I had expected. Our backsides might be numb, but our minds are blown away by the thrill of such a new and exciting journey!”

Mike Appears on HuffingtonPost Live

With a pair of major expeditions scheduled for the next few months, Mike was able to go on HuffingtonPost LIVE and discuss his lifetime of adventure, and everything he has coming up with Makalu and Pole to Pole 360.

It’s a great interview, with some amazing stories — polar bears jumping into this sled, tips on avoiding piranhas and poison plants in the jungle — and Mike’s typical dry wit and wisdom.

 

Click here to watch the video.

Mike Horn on Huffington Post LIVE

 

Mike prepares for Makalu

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New expeditions are on the go for Mike!

Next week, Mike leaves for the Makalu Expedition. At 8463m, Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world, and it is situated at the border of Nepal and China.

Mike will attempt to summit Makalu mountain with Valasian climber Fred Roux.

Today Mike tested out some parapentes designed by David Getaz.

Weather permitting, Mike will try and use a parapente for the descent of Makalu.

 

Mike is in a constant state of travel and adventure , so keep up to date on all his expeditions !