“…then, just when things looked their worst, they changed for the best. I have marvelled often at the thin line that divides success from failure and the sudden turn that leads from apparently certain disaster to comparative safety.”
Sir Ernest Shackleton
Shackleton Epic began development in 2008, when Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Sir Ernest, approached Tim Jarvis with the idea of an expedition to honour one of the greatest leadership and survival stories of all time.
A crew of five British and Australian adventurers joined expedition leader Tim Jarvis AM FRGS, and on 11 February 2013 became the first to authentically re-enact Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia and the dangerous crossing of its mountainous interior.
The Shackleton Epic were the first to successfully re-enact Shackleton’s complete ‘double’ journey across sea and land using traditional gear. British/Australian adventurer Jarvis, 47, a veteran of multiple polar expeditions, believes it was the most challenging expedition of his life.
The only concessions to the use of period equipment was the storage of modern emergency equipment and radios on board Alexandra Shackleton, and the presence of a support vessel, Australis in the Southern Ocean. Both modern emergency equipment and Australis’s assistance were only be used in the event that Alexandra Shackleton found itself in serious trouble. The expedition culminated in a pilgrimage to Shackleton’s grave at Grytviken.
In July 2013 the crew were honoured to receive the prestigious Royal Institute of Navigation’s Certificate of Achievement for the “first re-enactment using traditional equipment of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s extraordinary voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia, including the crossing of South Georgia’s mountainous interior”.
images of the crew taken by Ed Wardle
Expedition Leader Tim Jarvis AM FRGS has previously completed a re-enactment of Sir Douglas Mawson’s 1912 trek across Antarctica in an attempt to answer some of the questions and controversies surrounding Mawson’s tragic expedition. The best-selling book and award-winning documentary of the same name, Mawson: Life and Death in Antarctica (When Hell Freezes Over on UK Channel 4), is Jarvis’ account of the re-enactment and his struggles to overcome extreme isolation, physical deprivation and his own self-doubt. Jarvis is also the author of another best-selling book, The Unforgiving Minute, about his first three polar expeditions. With Masters in both Environmental Science and Environmental Law, Tim was conferred a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to environment, community and exploration in the 2010 Australian honours list and was made a Fellow of the Yale World Fellows Program, 2009 based on his international leadership in the field of environmental sustainability. Jarvis holds the record for the fastest unsupported journey to the South Pole and the longest unsupported journey in Antarctica in 1999. Tim was awarded the Australian Geographic Society’s Adventurer of the Year Award for 2013. @TimJarvisAM
Expedition Cameraman Ed Wardle: Adventurer, experienced high altitude mountaineer and Arctic explorer. Wardle is also a freelance documentary filmmaker, series producer and camera operator. He has filmed and produced a diverse range of broadcast television from factual entertainment to extreme adventure documentary, shooting on all formats from the top of the world to the bottom of the ocean. Most recently Wardle survived 50 days and nights ‘Alone in The Wild’, a ground-breaking television series for Channel 4 and National Geographic. He is also series producer and summit cameraman on Discovery Channel’s acclaimed ‘Everest – Beyond The Limit’, now in its 3rd series. He has produced and filmed for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. Wardle is also two times UK National Record holder in competitive freediving and competed with the British team in the AIDA world championships 2011. Lives London, 41 years of age. @EdWardleTV
Sailor and Navigator Paul Larsen: Australian born Paul Larsen is an offshore sailor with 100,000+ miles and seven world records. Paul has a history of sailing some of the fastest boats ever to grace the oceans. He is project leader/pilot for the Vestas SailRocket Project, a realisation of Paul’s ultimate dream to sail the fastest boat on the planet – the goal being firmly in Paul’s sights. He continues to sail during the Vestas SailRocket Project, including winning a non-stop circumnavigation in the Oryx Quest, a double-handed lap of Britain with Pete Goss on the 30ft Seacart trimaran and a Little America’s Cup in radical wing sailed C-class catamarans. Lives Weymouth, UK (grew up in country Victoria, Australia). 42 years of age. @sailrocket
Skipper Nick Bubb: Professional offshore sailor, accomplished around the world yacht racer and mechanical engineer. Since 2001 Bubb has raced around the world non-stop on a maxi-cat in the Oryx Quest; competed in the Volvo Ocean Race; Transat Jacques-Vabre; Route du Rhum; Mini Transat; Round Britain and Ireland twice and sailed onboard virtually all classes of offshore racing yachts. Bubb’s professional qualifications include RYA Commercial Yachtmaster; ISAF/RYA Offshore Safety Certificate (additional training for VOR); RYA Sea Survival Certificate (additional training for VOR); RYA First Aid Certificate (additional training for VOR); RYA Maritime Radio Operator Certificate. Lives Lymington, UK, 33 years of age. @nickbubbffi
Mountain Leader WO2 Barry Gray RSM: The Royal Marine’s mountain leader chief instructor, giving him the responsibility for the training of all other mountain leaders as well as the entire Tri Service environment (Army, Navy, RAF). In 2010 his team of instructors trained over 2000 men in cold weather survival and mountaineering. Having been involved in expeditions to Nepal, the Andes, Swiss/French and Italian Alps and Norway, he was also the lead cold weather expert for the ship HMS Endurance (The UK’s Antarctic patrol vessel) in 2005, giving him extensive experience climbing and mountaineering on South Georgia, Deception Island and many other locations in Antarctica. Gray’s career in mountaineering began in the Royal Marines in 1992. He completed his mountain leader course in 1999. Lives Plymouth, Devon, 38 years of age. @BazGray
Expedition Bosun Petty Officer Seb Coulthard RN FRGS: Representing the Royal Navy as a tribute to Shackleton’s leadership and the brave spirit of the men who accompanied him. Over the last twelve years Coulthard has worked at the sharp end of naval aviation with previous postings overseas spanning half the globe. The Royal Navy has exposed him to some of the most inhospitable regions of the world including the Southern Ocean, the safe quadrant of a few developing hurricanes in the Caribbean, and mined areas surrounding the Shatt al-Arab waterway in the Northern Arabian Gulf. Coulthard’s past expeditions include Tanzania, Atacama Desert and Yosemite National Park. Coulthard currently works for Lynx Helicopter Force, a branch of the Fleet Air Arm that specialises in small ship aviation. Lives Bewdley, Worcestershire, 30 years of age. @sebcoulthard