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First part of Shackleton Epic complete
THE Shackleton Epic adventurers have successfully completed stage one of a historic double challenge.
Following in the wake and footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton, Weymouth sailor Paul Larsen and team-mates have re-enacted an 800 nautical mile voyage across the Southern Ocean and have reached South Georgia Island.
The expedition departed on the second and final leg of their history-making journey over the mountains of South Georgia last night.
Leader Tim Jarvis was grappling with the decision of who went with him on the trek – the same decision Shackleton himself had to make. Royal Marines mountaineer Baz Gray will be on the trek, however, cameraman and mountaineering veteran Ed Wardle who has climbed Everest twice, is now in doubt.
Wardle is suffering from ‘trench foot’ and is hoping for a significant improvement in his condition before the team of three are due to depart. Otherwise, another member of the team will be selected.
In honour of the original Shackleton Double’s 50th anniversary the team are forgoing modern-day kit to complete the next journey using authentic tools from the time.
It was Larsen’s reading of the sun with a sextant last Sunday that prompted early celebrations that the five-strong crew were close to land.
Skipper Nick Bubb broke out the Mackinlay’s whisky and toasted the memory of Sir Ernest and each other when just 23 nautical miles separated their Portland-built Alexandra Shackleton lifeboat and South Georgia Island.
The explorers, and support vessel Australis, then landed in King Haakon Bay.
Air temperature as they made their approach was three degrees centigrade with 15 knots of winds from the north west and a swell of one to two metres.
Team blogger Jo Stewart said the lifeboat’s average speed was just under four knots last weekend. Regardless of the sun’s appearance, the team knew they were approaching land as the birdlife increased dramatically.
She said: “In previous days we’d see the odd albatross or petrel every now and then but now there are hundreds of birds of different species zooming around the boat.
“The crew of the Alexandra Shackleton were pretty elated to a) take a sun sight and b) find out how far they were from landing at South Georgia.
“But this elation was pretty short-lived due to the wind deserting us right at the business end of the sea journey.”
Stewart said it was a real frustration and patience tester being back to sailing at one knot, particularly as the crew were down to the last of their rations.
She added: “I’ve seen these guys at the dinner table before they left – they are eating machines at the best of times, but now they truly had an appetite for destruction.
“But this is what they signed up for and this really is the road less travelled, full of beauty and hardship in equal measures.
“Not many have journeyed upon it for this very reason – it’s soul enriching one day, soul destroying the next.”
Follow the next leg of the journey online at shackletonepic.com