Why do it, following Shackleton, from Elephant Island to South Georgia on a sailboat, crossing the island on Shackleton’s route?
It has been done, not very often, hardly as spectacular as in the reenactment by Arved Fuchs in 2000. Everything has been done, our post-heroic age has left us no undone deeds, no untouched places, barely any blank spots on maps and charts.
It is still ardous, hazardous, tedious, there is no guarantee of success—but one will not write history in doing so. Why do it nevertheless?
A Tale of Desires and Obsessions
THE CROSSING TEAM
Andrea Badrutt, Photographer, Climber, Designer
For many years I’ve been faszinated by the the barren, the deserted, the cold. Searching for the deep bond with nature—and finding it in the mountains. South Georgia … sailing across the wildest ocean … crossing a nearly uncharted mountain range. For me, that means experiencing the unknown. Living it. Within a team in which I feel at ease, of course that’s paramount. In this journey I see subjects for my cameras, emotions for my life, stories which will stay with me henceforth, horizons expanding my being. All this is what makes my life exciting, and what motivates me. And last but not least—I’m always in search of soulmates.
Markus Gujan, Alpinist and Moutain Guide
Having grown up in the mountains, living in the midst of snow, ice and rock ever since—and enjoying it—, I’m faszinated by the unknown. A journey south, in the direction towards the pole, has always been my desire, the S.E.A. Expedition finally offers me the opportunity. To discover new worlds and unknown territory. Experiencing the might of nature’s forces on terrain unfamiliar to me. Sailing in wild seas, walking on cold, barren mountain ranges—it fills me with awe. And at the same time it is very motivating to get to travel on such a historical route toghether with good companions. Those are the epiphanies which give excitement to our lifes and enrich our beings.
Wolf Kloss, Captain and Polar Explorer
I’m in search of a like-minded soul, who, like me, saw his aim in life in polar travels. Who had to fight for his longed-for journeys, like me. Who likewise shouldered hardships and sufferings to lead this kind of life. Mutinity on the Santa Maria after a storm in thick ice south of the polar circle. Springing a leak after collision with an iceberg. Casualties after capsizing in the freak waves of the Drake Passage. Pressed onto the lee shore at 70kn off Cape Horn. Nerve-racking meandering, seemingly aimless, in the ice of the Northwest Passage, and time ticks mercilessly against you on your 3000-miles run … I got the crew through situations like these, with motivation and discipline. On the South Georgia expedition I hope to get even closer to Shackleton, learn to understand him more thoroughly, keep this knowledge and pass it on.
Adrian Räz, Moutain Guide and Geographer
South Georgia. Why? A journey to the end of the world. Why? Because we have the chance. To discover new territory. To extend limits. To travel in the ice. To feel the ocean. Ever since my study of Geography, when I delved into the subject of glaciers and snow, I dreamed about the perpetual ice. I thought about a research ship, working scientifically—in the very tradition of the historic polar explorers. The possibility to collect scientific data during the crossing, presumably in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Berlin, is incredibly appealing to me. Furthermore, as a mountain guide I’m intrigued by the quest for the logical way across unknown, untouched terrain. To follow the footsteps of the legendary expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton, is a unique venture and a great endeavor. There aren’t many such void and wild spots left on earth.
Ray Timm, Polymath and Raconteur
Curious, somewhat temperamental, and determined, I am pretty much game and open for any adventure. When Manfred asked me if I wanted to go to Antarctica and South Georgia, I said yes without hesitation since it was a chance to fulfill one of my long held goals. Even though this trip has a plan and a goal, there is not a foregone conclusion that it will be successful. If it were, it would be a planned adventure and that is an oxymoron. I also thought my skills and general knowledge would contribute toward the success of the expedition.
Tina Uebel, Writer, Journalist, Polar Addict
Step by step, I invaded a world untrodden and unknown. Dulled as I was by hardship, I thrilled with the sense of the explorer in new lands, with the thrill of discovery and conquest, quote Frederick Cook, polar explorer. Every inch of the world is untrodden and unknown, as long as you have not walked it on your own. I thrill with the sense of the explorer in new lands, with the thrill of discovery and conquest. I cannot write history anymore, but I write stories. And the polar lands grip the hearts of the men who have lived on them in a manner that can hardly be understood by the people who have never got outside the pale of civilisation. When we talk about the polar regions, we are talking obsession.
Manfred Walter, Father, Mountaineer, Sea-Kayak Guide
Where everybody is, things are too tight for me. Therefore I have to go to places where nobody is, in those parts of our planet which refuse to get cultivated (yet). There I find the silence I want to get impregnated with, just like with the humility in the face of creation, paradise where it is still unimpaired. For the same reasons, I guess, I was drawn into the woods as a curious child, later into the mountains, out to the sea and the polar ice. The child in me and my curiousity stayed the same. And as natural as my wonder about the incredible ability of the Inuit to survive in the hostile Arctic for millenia, I marvel at the compulsion and the boundless will of men like Shackleton, to set out and achieve their dreams, uncompromising and under unbelievable deprivations. Under this auspieces, how could I have said no to joining this expedition?
THE SAILING TEAM
Nikolaus Hansen, Sailor, Editor, Translator
Ever since sailing around the world in tropical waters during the Seventies, and later on in the Mediterranean and the cool Baltic, I have asked myself what it would be like, in the cold, in the ice. As a child I read Slocum’s account of the passage of the Magellanic Strait; 1977 I read Chatwin’s In Patagonia; when in 1995 I got my hands on Caroline Alexander’s book about the Endurance and learned about Shackleton’s incredible achievements, I knew that one day I would have to sail there myself, into this world of ice. In 1998 on the MS Hanseatic I at least encountered traces of Shackleton on Elephant Island; but the South Georgia expedition finally means the true fulfillment of this long-time dream. And the possibility to feel, evoke, experience firsthand something close to what Shackleton and his men must have undergone back then.
Daniel Holleis, Technician, Sailor, Mountain Lover, Freethinker
Having grown up in Austria’s mountains, I took over my father’s eleven-meter sailing yacht nine years ago and sailed in the West Indies for two years. Across the Atlantic and back to Europe single-handed, since then travelling with my partner Beate. After five years in the North Atlantic we took flight south. Since two years at home in Patagonia, a year ago we signed on with the Santa Maria Australis.
And when we are not anchoring in a snowy bay with our little boat, or are out skitouring, we combine everything with the Santa Maria Australis: Sailing, mountaineering, adventure, the encounter with countries and people, wind and waves … a dream of freedom. This time it will lead us to South Georgia, and I am proud to be part of this expedition.
Beate Löcker, Sailor, Snow Sports Teacher, Trained Seamstress
For all my life I was surrounded by moutains, hiking uphill was a natural thing—until, seven years ago, my partner Daniel abducted me into the world of sailing. A world of adventures, highs and lows, and no modern folderol. The only luxury is the enjoyment of nature and environment without any distraction.
It’s nearly inconceivable that 100 years ago Ernest Shackleton brought all his men home, with no fatalities, after wintering twice in the Antarctic. These sailors had an incredible will to survive, and only through their hazardous expeditions and the resulting experience the path into those areas got paved. I often ask myself: How would we fare today without all the discoverers and explorers before our times?
Viktor Nieman, Sailor and Publisher
Growing up at the Chiemsee, I learned swimming and sailing early. Voluntary sailing instructor during school years at the Steinhuder Meer; later sailing in the Baltic, the North Sea and the Aegean Sea until the 80’s. What is calling me to South Georgia … Is it the desire for adventure? No, rather it is about romance and Shackleton! Once more being on a great journey. The interest in the unknown and mysterious, the confrontation with the magic of untouched nature. I guess you’d call it „authentic experience“. I love seafaring, even though you might get wet, sick, and miserable. But captain, crew and faith will prevail.
Jaap Oosterveld, Polar Addict, World Traveller, Sport Teacher
It all starts with the addiction, the addiction to Polar Areas. Hitchhiking to Lapland, as a teenager, is the first step for me. At that time I don’t realize that it’s already „fatal“. I’m lost, it never stops! What’s in the polar emptiness that causes the addiction? I’m afraid I’m unable to explain. „Go there and you might know“, I would say. During the years I spent quite some time north, respectively south, of the polar circles: Spitsbergen, Arctic Russia, Greenland, Northwest Passage, different parts of Antarctica, and sub-antarctic islands like Macquarie, Campbell, South Georgia. Often a sailing ship brought me to these places. Sailing is the most appropriate way to travel, because it keeps me in touch with the world instead of making me a spectator. The rest was done by reading Shackleton’s South, the most amazing and impressive adventure story one can imagine.
Now, what’s a better way to come closer to what happened a century ago around Elephant Island and South Georgia than going there by sailing ship and experience a bit of history … ?!