Tuesday 17th March

It was a flurry of wildlife today with sightings of whale spouts in the distance, more Albatross, Petrals and Sheerwater birds staying close to the ship.
It feels strange for me to be in the middle of an ocean, this is the longest voyage I’ve ever been on, over 600n miles.
We had zodiac training today and boot issue. A zodiac is a small ribbed inflatable boat with an outboard motor, designed for short fast excursions and landings away from the ship. These would prove to be an essential piece of equipment over the next few days of the expedition without these we wouldn’t have access to Antarctica.
We spotted our first iceberg today, some distance on the horizon estimated at 70m high and 2km wide this was an exciting moment for all, this really was Antarctic waters with snow peppering our faces.

Later today around 15:00 we spotted land…..Antarctica, this feels amazing, I’m excited to be here, it feels cold as the temperature has dropped to just 2 deg and Humpback Whales are now approaching the ship, I feel privaliged to see these animals in there own environment.

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Monday 16th March

we started our voyage across the Drake Passage with 5-6m swells, needless to say this has the effect of me pretty much staying in bed doing my best not to throw up, even with seasick pills. It did calm down to a barmy 2m which for some was calm but really didn’t change much for me.
With nowhere to go the schedule was full of lectures and getting to know individuals on the expedition. Presentations on wildlife, climate change and Antarctic history, I didn’t make them all. I did begin to get to know people and discover why they were there.? With varied stories of inspiration it was obvious to me that talking was going to take up a lot of our time together.
Our first sighting of a wondering Albatross wetted our appetite for what was to come later in the trip.

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Final Post

We leave the fringe of the inhabited world for the Antarctic today and the price we pay for entry is the drake passage – YouTube it!

The risk of incident in Antarctica is low if you follow safety procedures but if it occurs the consequences are extreme, for example if you fall in the water you can be dead in seconds depending on how your body reacts to the cold shock.

All communications cease as we leave Ushuaia when we lose satellite coverage so most likely this will be the last blog entry until we return to Argentina in 9 days but the 2041 team will keep their blog updated and you can track the ship as well from www.2041.com

Hasta luego

Stuart

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No Internet!

Ok it looks like any internet during the expedition is going to be really limited at best, so rather than spend my time getting frustrated and spending alot of time infront of the PC i’ve decided not to.

I apologise but it i’m sure you would prefer me to spend my time experiencing as much as I can with the tasks set before me.  Understand this………from the briefings we have just had the slightest mistake will be magnified 1000 times over in Antarctica.  So being focused looking after myself and concentrating my efforts to get the most out of this experience I feel is my priority.

Please please follow www.2041.com they have an excellent blog and will be updating theirs on a regular basis through the ships satellite communications.

Bon Voyage!

Just a few quick words about our crossing today.  The program starts very soon with further lectures and briefings before we depart for the Antarctic.

I have to share i’m feeling a little apprehensive about the crossing the Drake Passage, all the stories i’ve been told include the words ‘sick’ ‘you love it’ and I don’t mean sick good I mean sick messy!

We are taken from the harbour through the Beagle Channel out to sea by a local pilot, then the captain takes over for the voyage through the Drake Passage then onto the Antarctic peninsula.

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Martial Glacier

Your going to get tired of me saying …another eventful busy day packed with lectures team building hiking talking…..there is so much to do it is none stop from breakfast until 10pm approx.  Then you might find a small amount of time to sit down and blog, before the day is over.

We had several lectures today, all inspiring and thought provoking, they included Rob Swan introducing the 2041 expedition and some of the things he’s currently working on, Anne Kershaw (CEO 2041) explaining the reasons why she continues to work with 2041.  Then a very good lecture on leadership, what makes a good leader, how to improve and show by example.  We will have more lectures on this subject when we get aboard the ship ‘sea spirit’ tomorrow and over the next 10 days.  Dr David Hone from Shell gave us a lecture on climate change and how we should be making canges now to help improve te environment including carbon capture and storage CCS.

After a quick lunch we took a hike up to Martial Glacier to see the effects of global warming, this glacier has receeded some 150m in 7yrs and is the only source of fresh water that supplies Ushuaia.  They are currently working on a solution as the whole glacier could be gone within the next 10yrs.

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First Hike

The programme started today. We had a morning of keynote speakers ranging from carbon emissions experts from Royal Dutch Shell to motivational gurus like the ex head of HR at the Adidas group. On top of it all Robert Swan himself delivered a masterclass in audience captivation with the tales recounting his altruistic projects over the past 3 decades.

After the morning of talks we set on our first trek, in Ushuaia , to the glacier that sits in the mountain above the city. This is receding each year due to global warming. This hike served to test our kit and give us our first experience of the conditions we would face as we depart for Antarctica tomorrow. It didn’t disappoint – we had four season in forty minutes atop the mountain – from sun to cloud and fog, onto hail and wind so vicious it hurt your face and left you raw then back to sun in under an hour.

Weather closing in fast - Hail and Wind

Weather closing in fast – Hail and Wind

When we returned we were given the first of our safety briefings about Antarctica – the quote that sticks in my mind is that “Antarctica wants you dead”. Only if we work together as a team and support each other will we survive it.

There are more photos on the official blog at http://2041.com/expeditions/blog/latest

Spot the photo of me talking about leadership.

 

Arrival Day

Rob Swan did not disappoint my expectations, he’s enthusiastic, motivational, his energy is infectous, he has an opinion and isn’t afraid to express it and he has a vision.
Within minutes of meeting Rob we were discussing how we can use his expertise and as importantly his team to achieve our goal for our business.  Throwing us straight into the mix with ideas and suggestions for team building back in the UK, he knows what it is we require and clearly is prepared to help.  Now for Rob to single us out and spend a few minutes sharing that with us to me shows he cares, he’s committed to helping us, specificly out of 80 other high profile deligates………..he’s targeting us from the start.

Tomorrow is the real start of the program, we have breakfast around 7am and start briefings and further introductions around 8am, rest assured there is no place to hide when Rob is about.  After the initial introductory meeting we will be deligated into smaller groups for a team bonding exercise and walk into the nearby mountains to a glacier, where we will be set some individual and group tasks throughout the day.  Beyond that I do not know what lies ahead.

I have also been single out by the outdoor activities expert within his team, Jason who has kindly ask me to assist in some of the tasks he’s been charged with later in the program, obviously its early days and I don’t know much detail.  As some of you know I am a qualified mountain leader and climbing instructor which he says are not common on this type of expedition and is pleased to have someone else around with that depth of knowledge and experience.  I’ve also discussed with the program manager to collaberate with Jason on doing a presentation on leadersip skills required for mountainous areas and adventure.  Little discussions like this will without doubt push me out of my comfort zone and develop my skills in several aspects, public speaking, leadership, teamwork and other things Rob and his team will help me discover.

I already have alot to do and i’m looking forward with anticipation to the forth coming days in Antarctica.

After such a long day travelling myself and Stuart took the opportunity to have a quick look around Ushuaia, get some local currency, stretch our legs and fill our lungs with crisp cool fresh air.

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As we suspected we its not 28C around here, feels more like home with a moderate high 8C.

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We have been discussing photography with the expedition camera and video man Kyle, who reassures us we are amateur and he will provide us with plenty at the end of each day. Phew! So enjoy these ‘snaps’ they may be few and far between.

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Day 0

Arrived safely and on the first shuttle to the 2041 base. As one of the first we’ve started by helping Rob Swan coordinating the bringing of the team together.

The official programme starts tomorrow with opening conference and beginning of safety training and preparation to cross the most feared stretch of water in the world… The Drake Passage less than 60 miles from Cape Horn.

Here is a taste of the view over Ushuaia and its bay.

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21hrs Done

Roughly 21hrs into our journey myself and Stuart are fairly tired now, barely keeping our eyes open. It’s the strange surroundings of a South American airport or the armed police wondering around that is keeping our senses on edge.

We’ve travelled approximately 8000miles so far with another 2k to go.  Both our flights have been pretty good but as you can imagine spending nearly 13hrs in one spot is testing, but I have to say the in flight service was excellent and take off/landings were smooth, all went well.

We now have stop over of 8hrs before our final stretch from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, so a quick update at an opportune moment. The taxi journey was a white knuckle ride with 120km/hr on the speedo and 4ft from the car in front, with the craziest of motorcyclists weaving in between whenever they see a gap and I use that phrase loosely.

Temperature here is pure tropical a very lazy 28C at 11:20pm I am sure we’ll soon cool down tomorrow when we arrive in the most southern city in the world,Ushuaia.