Why is the Shackleton Epic expedition taking place?
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.
Who is behind the expedition?
Highly acclaimed expedition leader, Tim Jarvis AM has assembled a team of some of the best expeditioners in the world to embark on this epic voyage. Tim Jarvis AM has previously completed a re-enactment of Sir Douglas Mawson’s 1912 trek across Antarctica using identical equipment and starvation rations. Jarvis also holds the record for the fastest unsupported journey to the South Pole and the longest unsupported journey in Antarctica in 1999 and was awarded the Australian Geographic Society’s ‘Spirit of Adventure’ medal for his kayak journey down the Warburton River and trek across Australia’s largest salt lake, Lake Eyre, in 2004. The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton originally approached by Tim Jarvis at an event in the UK with the concept of him leading a centenary re-enactment.
The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, Expedition Patron – The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton succeeded her father, Lord Shackleton KG OBE PC (1911-94), younger son of Sir Ernest Shackleton, as President of the James Caird Society and has been at the heart of the expedition’s activities since its conception. She fully supports The Shackleton Epic expedition: “The educational, scientific and historical worth of this project shall be the principal aim of the expedition – I am confident they will succeed in their endeavours,” she said.
Who is participating in the Shackleton Epic?
Expedition Leader, Tim Jarvis AM FRGS: Recognised as one of the world’s leading adventurers,
Tim Jarvis AM is an explorer, author, motivational speaker and environmental scientist. Born in the UK, Tim, 46, now lives in Adelaide, South Australia and holds dual UK/Australian citizenship. His environmental work is mainly focused on sustainable aid provision in developing countries and improving corporate environmental sustainability. Tim’s major expeditions have included the fastest unsupported journey to the South Pole and the longest unsupported journey in Antarctica in 1999 and a re-enactment of Sir Douglas Mawson’s 1912 trek across Antarctica in 2007. Tim was accepted into the Yale World Fellows Program in 2009 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2010 for service to conservation and the environment.
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.
Mountain Leader WO2 Barry Gray RM: 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.
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.
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.
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.
Reserve Sailor Paul Swain: Experienced British sailor with qualifications in marine environmental science. Paul has sailed for the past 25 years including countless English Channel crossing as well as a Trans-Atlantic crossing from Gran Canaria to St Lucia on a 39ft boat. Paul’s qualifications include RYA Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper and shortly, RYA Yachtmaster. Paul has worked for the past nine years at Dean & Reddyhoff Marinas most recently as assistant manager for Portland Marina, the Venue for the 2012 Olympic Games. Lives Portland, UK, 27 years of age.
How is the expedition funded?
Initially, the expedition was funded by a range of voluntary contributions from organisations such as The James Caird Society in the UK which raised the funds for the James Caird replica vessel’s construction. The replica vessel, The Alexandra Shackleton’s construction was commissioned to the International Boatbuilding Training College of Lowestoft. Now, the expedition has been fortunate enough to receive major corporate sponsorship from presenting partner, Intrepid Travel, a leading adventure and sustainable travel company, and as major sponsors, global engineering company, Arup, and official financial services provider St.George Bank as well as official supplier Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky.
How long will the expedition take?
The expedition will take place in January and February 2013: from January 17 – February 24 (Note: these are approximate dates as the expedition is weather and ice-dependent).
What are the expedition course details?
Alexandra Shackleton is due to depart Elephant Island on around January 17. For some two weeks, Alexandra Shackleton will make its way northeast, 800 nautical miles across the Scotia Sea, to spectacular South Georgia. Here, Tim and two of his crew will traverse its mountainous interior to reach the former whaling station at Stromness. Following the completion of the expedition, Tim and his team will participate in a memorial service in Grytviken cemetery around 9 February, beside the graves of both Shackleton and Frank Wild, whose remains were placed in a grave to the right side of Shackleton in 2011. They will then set sail arriving in Rio de Janeiro around 24 February.
What training/preparation have you undertaken?
The crew has undertaken sea trials during 2012, testing a range of functions of the Alexandra Shackleton including buoyancy, man overboard procedures, radio procedures, navigation, and equipment storage. Since March, there have been a range of training sessions including medical emergency training. There has also been training in sea survival and safety drills and winter mountaineering.
Do you have a support vessel?
Yes, the expedition support vessel is Australis - it will provide a filming platform as well as communications and safety support to the expedition – providing assistance only if Alexandra Shackleton gets into serious trouble.
Is the re-enactment an exact replication of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition?
The expedition will 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.
What are the main differences from the original expedition?
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, Ausrtalis 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.
Is the expedition dangerous?
Any ocean voyage has its dangers and the Southern Ocean is an unforgiving place. We have taken every precaution to minimise risk including securing Australis as a support vessel.
What safety precautions have you taken?
We will have state of the art communications and safety equipment on-board the vessel including EPIRBS, survival suits, life jackets, and RFDs – also, a medic will be available on-board Australis.
What is Tim Jarvis like as the expedition leader?
Tim Jarvis is a leading modern day adventurer whose feats are well known and respected throughout the adventurer community. He has had extensive experience and currently holds world records for the fastest unsupported journey to the South Pole and the longest unsupported journey in Antarctica in 1999. He is also a passionate environmental scientist and is focussed on succeeding no matter the challenges involved.
Who will benefit from the expedition?
This is a non-profit expedition and the crew is participating on a voluntary basis. The Shackleton Epic expedition marries the mission of exploration with protection of the Antarctic and the marine environment- as an environmental scientist Jarvis will use the latest scientific data to compare climactic conditions the modern day crew face with those Shackleton and his team faced 100 years ago. Shackleton Epic’s conservation partner, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) will benefit from funds raised through the expedition that will support the charity’s vital work to protect some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and species on the planet. Fauna & Flora International (FFI) protects threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science that take account of human needs.
Operating in more than 40 countries worldwide – mainly in the developing world – FFI saves species from extinction and habitats from destruction, while improving the livelihoods of local people.
How can the public participate?
The expedition and Shackleton centenary activities will be promoted from 2012-2016 via global media coverage, the Shackleton Epic social media outlets, which include:
· Facebook http://www.facebook.com/shackletonepic
· Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/ShackletonEpic
· Pinterest http://pinterest.com/shackletonepic/
· YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/ShackletonEpic
· Written and video blogs will be posted on the Shackleton Epic website – www.shackletonepic.com
Those who would like to follow the expedition can subscribe to the Shackleton Epic expedition newsletters and YouTube channel, follow the Shackleton Epic Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.
Are there additional crew positions available on the Alexandra Shackleton?
All crew has been finalised, including a reserve crew member.