site.btaWorld's First Rowing Expedition from Antarctica Heads to South Georgia Island
The Shackleton Mission, led by Captain Fiann Paul, with Bulgarian participation on board, headed across the Southern Ocean to South Georgia Island on the Explorers Club-flagged boat Mrs Chippy, the crew said.
After final preparations on Wednesday, the team reported from King George Island that it was feeling in good spirits, the boat was loaded and already en route with six rowers and the expedition leader.
Over the next few days, the crew will row around the clock 850 nautical miles (1,574 km) through some of the most fearsome waters on the planet to South Georgia Island in 1.5-hour three-man shifts, so that everyone is on the oars for 12 hours a day. Along the way they are expected to encounter waves the size of buildings, icebergs, freezing winds, high humidity, freezing temperatures, sleep deprivation, starvation, risk of injury and illness, and exhaustion.
After riding through winds reaching 35 knots and five to six metre waves in the Drake Passage on the sailing yacht Selma, the rowers reached the Polish polar station Arctowski and are now rowing ahead onboard the Mrs Chippy.
One of the mission's goals is to right the historic injustice that deprived Harry "Chippy" McNish of the Polar Medal by receiving this world award for polar exploration and awarding it posthumously to Chippy, one of the most competent crew members of Ernest Shackleton's legendary sailing voyage during the 1914-1917 Transantarctic Expedition in which 28 people were rescued, and whose itinerary the current mission is following.
Paul and the team launched the Shackleton Mission from the Antarctic Peninsula, they will pass Elephant Island, the starting point of Shackleton's lifeboat route, and will end their journey on South Georgia Island.
Stefan Ivanov, the Bulgarian member of the crew, is a financier, adventurer and lover of endurance challenges. He has swum the English Channel and completed many ultra-marathons and races such as UTMB-PTL (300 km), Vitosha 100, Ironman, etc. Together with his son Maxim he built the boat NEVEREST; the two crossed the Atlantic in 2020.
Shortly before leaving for South Georgia Ivanov told BTA what the must-haves on such a journey are: "Food, waterproof equipment, navigation and communication devices, and last but not least - a lot of drive to fight the elements around the clock."