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Tag: Expedition

Mike sets off to Antarctica!

Cape Town, South Africa – Mike Horn and his crew have finally left the V&A waterfront Marina onboard Mike’s sailing vessel Pangaea, to make their way south towards Antarctica, where Mike plans to cross the continent via the South Pole in under 4 months.

Mike and his crew expect a rough 2-week sail across the Southern Ocean before they meet Antarctica’s icy coasts. There, Mike will set foot onto land and begin the longest and most perilous leg of the Pole2Pole expedition to date: the solo and unsupported crossing of the Antarctica continent passing via the South Pole. Mike will undertake this crossing on skis, with the assistance of snow kites when the winds turn into his favour. This journey should see Mike over roughly 5’000 km of various terrains, which he aims to accomplish in the span of 3 to 4 months. Mike anticipates covering approximately 55km per day over 90 days.

Similar feats have been attempted and succeeded in the past, yet Mike’s overall itinerary is a never-done before adventure. When asked why he chose this specific route, Mike simply explains: “It is the longest, and it is never been done before! But the aim of this traverse is not to beat any world records. The aim is to draw attention to the fragile environment, and as an explorer, to extend my knowledge and discover the limits of human capabilities.” Mike also draws a strong parallel between this upcoming Antarctica crossing and his many climbing expeditions: “What I love about high altitude climbing is that the summit is only halfway, and that most often it is the way down the mountain that is most dangerous. My mountaineering experience made me rethink my goals. That is when I realised that I needed to change my perception: The aim should not be to reach the summit or the pole, these should simply be my halfway marks. The aim is to make it back home alive!”

Departing from sea level, close to the Russian station Novolazarevskaya, Mike will begin his traverse with a challenging walk up onto the Antarctica plateau (3000m). Pulling a 200kg sledge behind him, Mike will be transporting his equipment and food for the length of the adventure along with him. Mike’s daily meals include high-calorie snacks such as nuts and chocolate, and lyophilised food (Trek’n Eat) kindly supplied by Katadyn. In order to withstand the extreme temperatures (up to – 40˚C), Mike plans on consuming between 5000 and 7000 calories per day. Once onto the plateau, Mike will head straight towards the South Pole. During this time, Mike will hope for favorable winds to use his snow kites, which will allow him to cover large distances over short periods of time. With winds up to 300km/h, the ideal equipment had to be designed to ensure Mike’s safety. Specific kites were thus designed, as well as multifunctional ski boots, giving him the flexibility needed to walk, and the rigidity needed to kite.

On previous expeditions, Mike missed out on perfect weather opportunities and wasted a great amount of time setting up his tent in order to change his walking boots to his skiing boots. Dahu, a Swiss ski boot manufacturer, therefore created a prototype to be tested for the first time on the ice to help Mike save time. As for insulation, Swiss brands Mover and Babbuk paired up to develop a warm and breathable shoe insulation to fight the extreme cold. Swiss clothing brand Scott Sports has provided Mike with the rest of the clothing and equipment.

Once Mike makes it across, he will reach out to his crew who will then pick him up near the French Station Dumont d’Urville, his destination. Once the traverse completed, Mike and his crew will sail onwards to New Zealand where the next phases of the Pole2Pole expedition will unfold.

Throughout his journey, Mike will use satellite communications to update his team on the expedition’s progress, all of which will be shared on the www.mikehorn.com website and Mike’s social media channels. In partnership with Inkwell and The Red Bulletin, Mike will be broadcasting the next two months in a series of Facebook Live episodes. Once on the ice, Mike will be sending regular audio and photo updates via his Iridium satellite devices (GO and Extreme) and capturing imagery with his iPhone7 Plus and Moment Lens add-ons for exceptional mobile photography from Antarctica.

For more information about Pole2Pole, visit www.mikehorn.com and follow Mike Horn on Facebook, @mikehornexplorer on Instagram and @exploremikehorn on Twitter.

Imagine living on an island by yourself for four years.

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Imagine living on an island by yourself for four years.

There is no one to talk to apart from birds and penguins, and the closest town is a six-hour boat ride away. Intriguingly, it’s the reality of Marlene – a woman we met at Dassen Island this afternoon while navigating to our next shark tagging spot.

“I’m not a people person,” she told us, while showing us around her backyard. “I get to see people sometimes, about once a month.”

The rest of the time she walks laps around the island to count bird colonies, some of which are endangered. To get there we had to sail for several hours while whales, sea lions and dolphins followed Pangaea.

It was a peaceful end to a day that started in a rush. We got woken up by the sound of marine scientists trying to catch sharks at the back of the sailboat at 5am. Still rubbing our sleepy eyes, we made our way to the navigation room where we started our anchor watch.

The following hours were exciting as we tagged four more sharks, bringing our total to nine on this trip. Dr Alison Kock and her team took advantage of our different skills to help tag the sharks and record our findings. It was more hands-on than yesterday but we enjoyed getting out of our comfort zones, even jumping into the sharky water for a swim afterwards.

We also convinced Marlene to get out of her comfort zone and invited her to join us for dinner onboard before she returned to her beloved, beautiful paradise.

By Andrea Lavarello and Shaya Laughlin

Rethinking Education

Amazon expedition.Anavilhanas national park

Climate change, inequality, the refugee crisis, debt, corruption, depression, pollution.

There is no shortage of crises and challenges that our world faces today – social, environmental and economic. Yet how many of truly understand these issues? How many of us learnt about the biggest challenges of our time through our formal education and developed the skills, abilities, mindsets, and heartsets required to tackle them?

Mandela so beautifully captured the vast untapped potential that exists within education when he said ‘education is the most powerful weapon with which we can change the world.’

Many of our current day education systems enable us to master academic concepts, secure test and examination scores to enable further education, but how many of our education systems place fostering empathy, creativity, collaboration, developing a connection with nature and all people, a core outcome?

I believe that we need to begin shifting the way we learn and rethinking our priorities. There are many examples to learn from around the world. Kaitiaki Collective is creating the world’s first bush school, where all education is learned with and through experiences with nature. Resources like Better World Ed enables us to teach empathy and talk about social and environmental issues in math classrooms. And we find pockets of schools embracing 21st century skills and values of education. How can bring these conversations front and centre in our classrooms?

And beyond the realms of formal education, we are all ultimately students and we are all educators too. How can each one us seek out information and experiences that will help us live more socially and environmentally conscious lives? And how can we through our everyday actions inspire the same of others?

By Shruthi Vijayakumar

Sharks in the Media

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We need to talk about sharks. They are not out to get us. The only frenzied attacks are by some media and it is impacting conservation efforts. I’d be a rich woman if I was given one dollar for every time a shark was labelled as a “man-eater” or “dangerous monster” in a newspaper or an evening news bulletin.

However, as an Australian who loves being in the ocean, I also understand the concerns about these marine animals. Since the start of last year, four people have died of a fatal shark attack on our shores. One man died just kilometers south of where I swim every day. It is human nature to be scared of something unknown. Sharks are so mysterious to most of us and their habitat, the sea, is too.

Unfortunately fear sells papers. People seem to love reading about events that stimulate their emotions whether it be fear, anger or outrage. Shark stories also often end up on front pages because they make for good headlines. And if you believe everything you read or hear, it is easy to start thinking sharks are killers just waiting for you to go into the water so that they can eat you. As author Allain de Botton explains it: “In its stoking of our fears, the news cruelly exploits our weak hold on a sense of perspective.” His choice of words is harsh but holds some truth. If we are not informed on a subject, our opinion can be swayed towards fear rather than understanding.

Of course, there are many facts and figure to counter sensationalised headlines but fear is something that quickly becomes ingrained. It is difficult to start looking at sharks as an important part of our eco-system if you have always been told they are “man-eaters”.

Education is the only way to interrupt this cycle. People need to understand sharks and their behaviours to be able to overcome their fears. The media is one way to start the shift. We need factual information on shark ecology and behaviour. That way, we can have a better understanding of these animals and how to share their natural habitats. For example, next time there is a shark attack, instead of demonising the animal, the other side of the story needs to be presented by including interviews from knowledgeable experts. Story by story, the public perception of sharks will start to evolve in a constructive way which will help conservation efforts.

By Shaya Laughlin

Why Biodiversity Matters?

Biodiversity encompasses the diversity of genes, species and ecosystems. It is vital in a number of ways including preserving the aesthetic value of the natural environment, contributing to human well-being through utilitarian values, maintaining the integrity of the environment through: maintaining CO2/O2 balance, regulating biochemical cycles, absorption and breakdown of pollutants, pathogens and waste materials, determining and regulating of the natural world climate, and as protective services, e.g. by acting as indicators of environmental changes.

The biosphere is being threatened by several phenomena that are the result of increasing human pressures on the planet. Declines in populations and extinction of species are caused by changing the Earth’s ecosystems to meet growing demands for food, fresh water, fuel, and by climate change. Today’s threats to species and ecosystems are caused by human mismanagement of biological resources often result of misguided economic policies, and pollution in addition to climate change and they’ve been recorded as the greatest threats of recent times.

Truth is, biodiversity is the foundation for human health. By securing the life-sustaining goods and services which biodiversity provides to us, the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity can provide significant benefits to our health. In contrast, the continuing loss of biodiversity on a global scale represents a direct threat to our health. Without a global environment that is healthy and capable of supporting a diversity of life, no human population can exist. This concept has been recently discussed as “One Health”.

By Andrea Lavarello

Changing Perception of Sharks

For many people, the image of a shark fin gliding along the ocean’s surface is sure to cause terror. With this project, our central goal is to help change the perception of sharks from one of fear to one of appreciation for the very tangible benefits that sharks provide our ecosystems and our economies.

Around the world, these conservation victories and perspective shifts have already been achieved by remarkable projects, but there remains much work to be done. One of the most stark examples of the importance of this perspective shift is in the life and work of Peter Benchley, the author of the screenplay Jaws. In 1975, Jaws broke international box office records as millions of people watched a movie about an overly aggressive, fictionalised shark. This movie has had lasting effects on ways we think about sharks. Overnight, millions of people suddenly feared sharks and fishermen began actively killing sharks around the world.  Peter Benchley was shocked when he realised the harmful effects of negative shark portrayals, and from that point on he dedicated his career to shark conservation and education. Over the next 40 years, Peter was an outspoken and effective advocate for shark conservation. His legacy includes the annual Peter Benchley Ocean Awards, which supports ocean conservation leaders around the world.

In addition to the work of ocean advocates, recent scientific research has made it easier than ever to support shark conservation by reaffirming sharks as vital to our economic and ecological interests. Scientists have determined that global shark ecotourism brings in over $314 million annually, and that number is projected to double over the next 20 years! It is clear that sharks are worth much more alive than they are dead. Additionally, we’ve recently learned the risk of shark attacks is the lowest it has been in decades, contrary to the impression that can be given by sensational media reports.  Through recognition and appreciation of these facts, we can see the importance of protecting these vital species.

by Tim White

Namibia: The Importance of Sharing

Trip to the North of Namibia on six Mercedes Benz cars.G350,G500

Walvisbay, Namibia: June 8th, 2016

5am there a loud knock on our cabins’ door: “Wake up babies it’s time for an adventure!” we heard our dad shout across the door with excitement! Today, at the wheels of 7 MB GClass vehicles we are heading out from Walvisbay with a group of 10 inspirational writers to discover the astonishing lands of Namibia. Starting from the coast, we will drive our way inland towards the world’s largest desert, the Namib. There, each one of us will live our own adventure. 5 days of pure discoveries, wildlife spotting, harsh hikes, and stories around the fire that will keep us warm during the cool desert nights. We love that our father has chosen to share his experience with the world by inviting influential people to follow his footsteps. As Mike always says: “Everyone has their own mountain to climb”, but how will the world realize this if we do not seek to spread the word?! Following this short piece of adventure these journalists, photographers and soon-to-be explorers will return to their respective homes around the globe and share their journey through words and images, in hopes of maybe causing a ripple-effect: to encourage one person after the other to step out of their comfort zone, to discover the planet, understand its importance, and act accordingly to preserve it and explore it! Each one us has their own notion of exploration, we do not all need to circumnavigate the equator, climb 8 thousand meter peaks, or ski to the North Pole in complete darkness, as our ambitious father would do! We simply wish for the world to take a leap of faith and step out there in search of a deeper meaning to life. By discovering earth, you will discover yourself, your limits: which you will then strive to push further, your passions: which will then expand, and your purpose: which might see new horizons.

Keep on exploring,
Annika & Jessica

Mike Horn: The Privilege of Being Free

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

Living life gets a new meaning only when you can exist by being who you are. To be free is and certainly will forever be one of the most desired needs of mankind. History has taught us allot of what we know today about the word freedom. The word freedom has nearly become an obscenity and is slowly disappearing like the morning fog. The question is the following: What price am I willing to pay to be able to live with a certain amount of freedom? And what will I do with the luxury of freedom if I could acquire it?! I guess the trick question is, how do you define being free?

The big dilemma of growing up is that we lose our dreams, with that we lose our freedom. The solution to the dilemma is very simple in theory: Grow older but keep on dreaming like a child.

My father told me that if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough. How can man ever sleep, if his dreams keep on eluding him? Freedom often gets imprisoned in our mind purely by ourselves and how we think.

Action is the key word that liberates the mind. To be free, you need action.

We often speak about luxury as something we cannot afford. The new luxury in today’s world is freedom; it can be bought without a currency. We can buy freedom by changing the way we think! We often move from one situation to another, thinking we will have more time only to realise that we don’t. It is like having six of one or a half a dozen of another. One day will always have 24 hours and that’s the same for each human being on earth, we all have the same amount of time. How we use it is a different question.

Working with freedom, doing what you love, staying true to yourself, trying to do what you always wanted to do, reaching success or failure learning from it, is all forms of mental freedom. Take a moment to look at your life, find what ties you down, doing your best at what you do, start loving the hard and difficult moments, helps us to frees up our mind.

We should not always think that by having more time is the only form of freedom. Liberate yourself mentally take on challenges and responsibilities. It makes you feel good about yourself.

In short, enjoy being yourself and love what you do. It will make you happy, and a happy man is a free man.

When you have worked hard for what you want, and then acquire it, you often realise that you do not have enough time to use what you have acquired, that belief frustrates and imprisons us. The freedom of enjoying what we worked for, without the pleasure of the action of using it has the reverse effect of what we imagined it to be like when we started pursuing our pathway to freedom. We often say when I have this I will do that… and we find ourselves with no time to do the “that”, this is where the game changes in our mind.

Instead of thinking of only enjoying the action part we should enjoy the whole process of acquiring as well, in fact enjoy everything we do in the ideal situation. Certainly there will be different levels of enjoyment.

Live in the moment, do not always want to be somewhere else, it liberates your mind and adds to the happiness that makes us feel free! Be happy with who you are, rather than unhappy trying to be someone else or what others want you to be. Freedom can be summed up in 3 words. KEEP IT TRUE.

What does all of this blab about freedom have to do with the Pole2Pole expedition?

The answer to that question you can read above!

Mike Horn

 

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

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