Tag: mike horn

Imagine living on an island by yourself for four years.


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

Poem: A Shark Date

Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
Setting sail for Robben Island!

The sun began peeking up through the sky,

We looked back at the table and bade it goodbye.

Within the sails the southern wind played,

As we headed for Robben Island where Mandela stayed.


Onto our lines we hooked on our bait,

With the seven gill sharks we made a date.

They fell for our charm and devilish good looks,

Until we had their data signed in our books


Into their abdomen we inserted a tag,

To track every place their tails would wag.

The date was short it was time to go,

With a push and a shove we said later bro.


No time to be sad no time to despair,

Because date number two was already there.

We repeated the process and by the end of the day,

We had lots of sharks being tagged on their way.


The cherry on top of Tim’s birthday cake,

Was seeing dolphins and whales in the boat’s wake.

In wonder we watched as the sun receded,

Content and happy with expectations exceeded.


Lani van Niekerk & Shruthi Vijayakumar


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
Sailing is hard work!


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
Arriving at the anchoring spot next to Robben Island.


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
Putting bait on the line to attract broadnose seven gill sharks.


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
Our first catch! A male broadnose sevengill shark that is 1.9 metres in length.


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
The shark is brought on board in order to complete the tagging procedure. In order to keep the shark in good shape we keep water running through its mouth and over the gills so that the shark can continue breathing.


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
This species of shark has seven gills, whereas most species only have five gills.


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
The shark is held down to prevent it from thrashing and causing injuries. We then measure its length and girth.


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
A small incision is made in the shark’s abdomen. An audio tag is placed under the skin in order to track the shark’s movements. These tags communicate with receivers that are on the ocean floor. The receivers are retrieved and the data gets downloaded and used to analyse behavioural patterns.


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
The last step is to gently remove the hook from the shark’s mouth.


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
The shark is lowered back into the water in a hammock. It is important to ensure that the shark is in a good enough shape to swim away by itself. The tagging process is then completed.


Shark project in Cape Town, South Africa  with Alison and her team from shark spotters on board of Pangaea with Mike Horn and Young Explores.
What a beautiful place to be anchored for the night!

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


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

Let’s Talk About… Sharks


With many of the world’s shark and ray populations declining, there is a growing need for greater research to inform conservation management. Sharks and rays face a variety of threats, most notably from fishing, habitat degradation, pollution and climate change.

A change in public perception, from one where it is believed that we need to protect humans from sharks to one where we understand the necessity to protect sharks from humans needs to occur.

The changing public perception of sharks and rays has increased awareness of the risks faced by this group, adding to calls for better management.

As part of the Shark Project, we aim to raise awareness about sharks and reach out to the public. We want you to engage with the topic, hope to challenge the stereotypes and help you make you form your own opinion about the importance of sharks in our ecosystems.

Your voice does matter. Your conversations help shape people’s beliefs.

Let’s not be silent.

– Zofia Drapella

Time for an Update

When I first chose to embark on my Pole2Pole adventure, I not only decided to undertake a unique circumnavigation of the globe via the two poles, I also made a precious promise to my two girls. I promised them I would try my best to update them with news and images of my adventures in order to help them share my dreams, thoughts and experiences with you, the people that follow me and believe in what I do.

So today, after over a month of silence, I am writing to my girls and I am writing to you, to let you know what I have been up to.

During the end of July I ventured alone into the Namib Desert with a simple aim, my goal was to survive off of nature’s resources while crossing on foot a small part of this country I have always admire. But the aim was not only to survive; it was also to disconnect from the connected world and to discover new horizons.

Namibia treated me well. I walked for hours under the burning sun, dug deep for a couple drops of water to hydrate myself, and encountered majestic wildlife along my path. But two weeks wasn’t enough, I needed more time alone to reconnect with myself.

That is when I moved on to the Caprivi bordering Botswana, and ventured into the Okavango swamps by pirogue amongst the crocodiles and the hippos. Living in and off nature is a type of self-cultivation, it allows you to grow into the person that you truly are. There is an abundance of value and fortune in being able to make my own decisions and naturally carrying on their consequences, whether they might good or bad. Nature is the best teacher; it educates me on ways to take responsibility. In today’s world, and today’s systems, we are unfortunately losing the ability of taking control of our very own destinies. The more one does alone, the better that person can understand their self, and the faster they grow.

My time spent discovering Namibia and Botswana was a real gift. Although the hours were long and at times my feet deserved a rest, the freedom I felt while crossing paths with animals in their natural habitat and traversing wide-open plains, mountains and dry riverbeds, was incomparable! Even the fires I made to keep myself warm at night had a meaning to me. Food for thought was everywhere around me. The environment I was exploring was step-by-step enriching me.

Solitude is an incredibly efficient way to finding answers to the many questions we all have about life and ourselves. I can guarantee that inspiration is found by undertaking new challenges and by venturing outside of our comfort zones. But the first question one needs to ask themselves before taking off for this life quest is the following: How determined am I to find the answers to my questions? How far am I willing to go? Am I even capable?

The Namibian Adventure

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

Walvisbay, Namibia: June 9th, 2016

Day 1 – 16:30: We’ve been on the road for 10 hours now, but one could hardly call what we’ve done so far ‘good progress’ – the thrill of adventure has clearly kicked in, resulting in a large number of sidetracked stops to admire the openness we have finally ventured into. On top of that, while we picturesquely drove along the coast with large waves collapsing onto the sand chasing the GClass tyres, all of the 7 cars eventually got stuck in the soft sand. Although the idea of despair might have crossed a couple minds, the explorers in us kicked in resulting in an intense 1hour battle against the swampy sands to dig one car out after the other. In moments like these, our notion of The Skeleton Coast takes on a different meaning. You begin to realize the terror some of those now-skeletons might have felt before this deadly coastal land was named. Up until now, we’ve had 7 sand-submerged vehicles, one of the 7 cars broke down due to a faulty gearbox, and one punctured tyre. Safe to say we are driving these beasts limitlessly. Riding over the steep sandy dunes, rolling down others, cruising along the flat desert roads, chasing the waves as they collapse majestically on the beach. Although we haven’t covered much terrain yet, we’ve been mind-blown with the most incredible sceneries. One recurring word amongst the large group: “openness”. There is something incredibly humbling about pacing through these vast territories. Almost a feeling of utter vulnerability. As you look around, you find yourself squinting in search of a far horizon. This ever-changing land does indeed carry its name well, there is a feeling of infertility, hopelessness, and even death. Ironically, these same lands also inspire eternity. Needless to say that being here and now has generated a unique energy amongst the team, problems are tackled differently, smiles and laughter seem more sincere, and the topics of conversation are limitless in imagination. The sun is slowly setting, one of those bright yellow African sunsets, as we make our way towards our camping spot for the night. The adventure has only just begun, but oh my what an inspiring day 1!

Keep on exploring,

Annika & Jessica

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

Let the Pole2Pole Adventure Begin!

The Yacht Club of Monaco: May 8th, 2016

2 hours from now, our dad will be embarking on his next great adventure: Pole2Pole. This adventure is not only his. It is our family’s. Our parents have started planning this big project years ago and despite the loss of our dear mother, their combined dream of circumnavigating the globe via the south and north poles will finally be seeing the light of day. We could not be prouder of what our parents have achieved in their lives and we are so fortunate to be an active part in these achievements today. From home, we will be coordinating and communicating Mike’s incredible journey in order to keep his followers updated on his exploits and whereabouts.

Mike and his crew of 3 will be leaving from the Monaco Yacht Club on Pangaea and set sails towards Namibia, where he should be arriving in a month’s time. The anticipation is definitely building up, but so is the sadness of seeing our dad leave. If all goes according to plan, we will be meeting him there to explore the Namib Desert and the Skeleton coast together. Today is above all an exciting day, it is the beginning of a unique adventure for our dad, for us and hopefully also for those following the Pole2Pole journey. Stay tuned for weekly updates across Mike’s platforms and let’s finally get this expedition rolling!

Jessica & Annika

‪#‎Pole2Pole‬ ‪#‎MB‬ ‪#‎MonacoYachtClub‬ ‪#‎Pangaea‬ ‪#‎Panerai‬ ‪#‎MikeHorn‬

We would also like to express a huge thank you to our friends, family and partners for making this adventure possible: Le Prince Albert de Monaco, Mercedes-Benz, Officine Panerai, Yacht Club De Monaco

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

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