site.btaBulgarian Member of Shackleton Mission for BTA: Let’s Pay Attention to Critical Need of Ocean Conservation
Stefan Ivanov, the Bulgarian participant in The Shackleton Mission, gave an interview for BTA after stepping on land for the first time since the records-setting row. On the Tierra del Fuego archipelago at the time of the interview, he said the most significant side of the expedition was to draw attention to the ever more critical need of ocean conservation.
In his words, the high purpose of The Shackleton Mission was to contribute to the conservation of the Southern Ocean. Over 90% of the big fish in the oceans have been destroyed due to overfishing, and ever more species of marine animals are endangered, he underscored. In this relation, the Mission team have prepared a petition urging the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources to designate at least three new Marine Protected Areas around Antarctica of at least 4,000,000 km2 in order to conserve marine biodiversity and increase the planet’s resilience to climate change. Anyone wishing to support the petition can do so online.
Ivanov told BTA that on January 4, he and the other members of The Shackleton Mission team (Captain Fiann Paul of Iceland, First Mate Mike Matson and Brian Krauskopf of the USA, Jamie Douglas Hamilton of the UK, and Lisa Farthofer of Austria) boarded the Polish sailing yacht Selma on which they crossed the dangerous Drake Passage through winds reaching 35 knots and five to six metre waves. Then, using the boat Mrs Chippy, they carried out the first ocean rowing expedition from the Antarctic, following the route of Ernest Shackleton in the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917.
The 754 km row meets all requirements of the Ocean Rowing Society and is categorized as a successfully completed polar rowing expedition. It set six Guinness Book records: the first human-powered expedition from the Antarctic, the first rowing expedition in the Southern Ocean from south to north, the first rowing expedition in the Scotia Sea, the southernmost start of a rowing expedition, the fastest rowing expedition in the Southern Ocean, and the fastest polar rowing expedition.
The team visited five islands (King George, Laurie, Coronation, Signy, and Livingston) and three Antarctic bases (Poland’s Arctowski Station, Argentina’s Base Orcacads, and Bulgaria’s St Kliment Ohridski) before returning on board the Selma across the Drake Passage, the Screaming 60s, and the Furious 50s latitudes of the Southern Ocean, Ivanov said.
He described as more important than setting Guinness Records the fact that the expedition flew the flag of The Explorers Club, founded in 1904. It was under its flag that the first expeditions to the South and North Poll, Everest, the Moon, and the bottom of the Mariana Trench were conducted.
Ivanov also told BTA that he cannot wait to be back with his family and friends in a warm and cozy place. The first things he wants to do once he returns home is to kiss his family, dive into a hot mineral pool, spend an entire evening with friends in front of a fireplace, and go to the theatre.
Stefan Ivanov 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.