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Reports / Crossing the Southern Ocean

Video and Text by Dirk Collins

Video and Words by Dirk Colins

Exploration by Mike Horn

I believe Jules Vern would have been amazed by Pangaea, for she represents much of the futuristic vision depicted in his famous vessel The Nautilus (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea). A ship that sails the world, that can go where no others dare. A ship of dreams, built for exploration and designed to operate outside boundaries perceived by most. 1,500 miles south of Cape Town, slowly battling through icy waters and dense sea ice it is fairly easy to imagine this. I am at the bottom of the world and about as remote as one can be without actually leaving the planet.

This journey began with @mikehornexplorer. I’ve joined him on his boat, Pangaea, for a crossing of the Southern Ocean – from Cape Town, South Africa to East Antarctica. The journey is part of Mike’s #Pole2Pole expedition – a circumnavigation of Earth via both the North and South Poles. This particular leg of the quest is really a 2,500-mile open ocean pre-expedition that will land Mike on the edge of Droning Maud Land and the Antarctic ice shelf. The dangerous endeavor will position him for his real objective, a solo, self supported 3,200 mile crossing of the Antarctic continent.I believe Jules Vern would have been amazed by Pangaea, for she represents much of the futuristic vision depicted in his famous vessel The Nautilus (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea). A ship that sails the world, that can go where no others dare. A ship of dreams, built for exploration and designed to operate outside boundaries perceived by most. 1,500 miles south of Cape Town, slowly battling through icy waters and dense sea ice it is fairly easy to imagine this. I am at the bottom of the world and about as remote as one can be without actually leaving the planet.

This particular leg of the quest is really a 2,500-mile open ocean pre-expedition that will land Mike on the edge of Droning Maud Land and the Antarctic ice shelf. The dangerous endeavor will position him for his real objective, a solo, self supported 3,200 mile crossing of the Antarctic continent.

Very few have sailed to Antarctica in this manner (think Shackleton, Amundsen and Scott) and nobody has ever succeeded in crossing the continent on a route as long or aggressive as Mike has planned. Adding an immense amount of difficulty and risk to the continental expedition is the Southern Ocean crossing. There is really no need for it. Mike could have flown to a research base in East Antarctica – saving time, money and risk, thus making the entire mission much easier. He could have also flown off the continent should he succeed in the crossing. But this is Mike Horn, and once you know him this is not surprising. It is expected. “Where is the adventure in flying”. He says, smiling, “That would be easy, I want to get to the Antarctic like Shackleton did, like Scott,”

The true journey lies on the other side of the horizon, far beyond sight. Sight can be limiting, but the mind is not.
We are the only ones on this lonely ocean.
—Dirk Collins

Mike continues one evening as he and I sit in the pilot house contemplating our adventure. Raising a glass he turns to me and adds, “The test is always to go further than the eye can see. The true journey lies on the other side of the horizon, far beyond sight. Sight can be limiting, but the mind is not.” Our glasses clink in contact and the sound seems oddly loud – like we are the only ones on this lonely ocean.



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