"…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."
(From South: Sir Ernest Shackleton)
Shackleton Epic has been in development since 2008, when Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Sir Ernest, approached renowned British/Australian adventurer Tim Jarvis AM FRGS, with the idea of an expedition to honour one of the greatest leadership and survival stories of all time.
Now, a crew of five British and Australian adventurers will join expedition leader Tim Jarvis, AM FRGS, in an attempt to become the first to authentically re-enact Sir Ernest Shackleton’s treacherous boat voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia, followed by the difficult crossing of its mountainous interior.
To this day, no-one has successfully recreated Shackleton’s complete ‘double’ journey across sea and land using traditional gear. British/Australian adventurer Jarvis, 46, a veteran of multiple polar expeditions, believes it will be the most challenging expedition of his life.
The only concessions to the use of period equipment will be 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 will only be used in the event that Alexandra Shackleton gets into serious trouble.
The British team members include Skipper Nick Bubb, Mountain Leader WO2 Barry Gray RM, Sailor and Navigator Paul Larsen, Expedition Bosun Petty Officer Seb Coulthard RN FRGS, Expedition Cameraman Ed Wardle; and Reserve Sailor Paul Swain.
In early January, Jarvis and his crew will be in Punta Arenas, Chile, ahead of their attempt on around 17 January to emulate Shackleton’s voyage across 800 nautical miles of the most challenging and treacherous seas on the planet – the Southern Ocean – sailing from Elephant Island to South Georgia aboard Alexandra Shackleton, an exact replica of Shackleton’s 22.5’ (6.9m) whaler, James Caird. On arrival to South Georgia Jarvis and two of his crew will traverse its mountainous interior to reach the former whaling station at Stromness.
Shackleton Epic expedition mapThe expedition will culminate in a pilgrimage to Shackleton’s grave at Grytviken.