|Expedition Icebound: Weekly Diaries 1995:|
I learned about Mawson when I was in school in Adelaide, South Australia. Mawson was from Adelaide too. He became a sort of hero to me and I always wanted to visit Antarctica. One day after I finished the 1990/91 BOC Challenge, a single- handed around the world yacht race, it dawned on me that I had a yacht that was strong enough to sail to Antarctica. I began planning a trip.
It took a lot of planning and a lot of savings but finally in January 1993 I was ready. I had a month's holiday. I found three guys who wanted to go with me.
On 2 January 1993 we sailed out of Sydney, Australia bound for Commonwealth Bay, 2,560 kilometres south of Hobart, Tasmania. We sailed through the "roaring forties," and through water filled with iceberg and growlers to 68 degrees south which is south of the Antarctic Circle. This is a really rough piece of water called The Southern Ocean.
We had 200 bears on board, teddy bears. These brave bears were with us to raise money for a local children's hospital and they were the first bears to make an expedition to Antarctica.
We only got to spend two weeks in Antarctica and the weather was so bad that we only got ashore for three days! We all enjoyed the time we had there and the bears posed for photos with the seals and penguins. It was a great trip and I knew then that I wanted to spend more time there.
Many people who have visited Antarctica get this special feeling about the place. It is almost as if something captures you and you feel the majesty of the last wilderness on earth. I knew I wanted to go back. When I got home and told my wife, Margie, about it and showed her the photographs. I was really happy when she agreed to come with me next time.
So, here we are at the beginning of a year long expedition. It is going to be different and I want to share all that we see and hear and feel with you. I want to learn about the wildlife, the weather and the change of seasons.
I want to understand what Mawson and the other early explorers felt when they were alone facing the elements. I want to know what it is like to live alone in isolation, to film, to photograph and to write about what I experience.
Some Details About Expedition Icebound
Seven of us are sailing "Spirit of Sydney," to Commonwealth Bay. The five crew members will help us set up our expedition survival hut and establish ourselves. They will then sail back to Australia leaving us "Together Alone" for all of 1995.
In 1996 "Spirit of Sydney" will be sailed by Ian Kiernan to collect us. Ian Kiernan started a campaign to clean up our environment. It began as "Clean Up the Harbour" in Sydney and now it is "Clean Up the World". We have worked with Ian over the past years and have a "nil environmental impact" attitude ourselves. At the end of Expedition Ice-Bound when we leave Antarctica we will leave no trace of our year long stay. We will take ALL our waste material away with us. Yes, I mean all waste including human waste. We will filter our dishwashing water to remove all oils and food particles. We are very concerned about keeping Antarctica just as clean as we find it.
We plan to have some fun too. We have cross country skis, snow shoes, a sled and a tent with us and we plan to go on a camping holiday. We'll have the seals and penguins for neighbours and our satellite telephone to keep us in touchwith the world. We will be able to write to you each week and maybe even talk with you from Antarctica thanks to Telecom New Zealand.
Telecom New Zealand are very enthusiastic about Expedition Ice-Bound and are helping us to keep in touch with you.
I know that you have just come back to school and I hope that you will join me every week for details of life -- way, way down under! There aren't any corner shops in Antarctica so I have to go now and make sure that my special stash of chocolate bars and Milo is packed! Just think for a minute about what you'd want to take with you if you were going away for a whole year. My lists are endless and the space on "Spirit of Sydney" is really very limited.
Copyright © 1995-1996 Don and Margie McIntyre.
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