Explorer Journeys: Mike Dawson

Inspiring Explorers Expedition: Antarctic Peninsula 2019 and 2020

“I believe exploration is something people should maintain throughout their lives. It helps us to learn a lot about ourselves and even make changes for the better.”

Olympic kayaker, Mike Dawson, joined two Inspiring Explorers™ Expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula as a kayaking mentor, which reinforced his belief in the importance of exploration.

Kayaking the icy waters surrounding the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula is a highlight of every Inspiring Explorers™ Expedition. The young explorers are immersed in the incredible sights and sounds of this pristine, isolated environment. They get close to vast mountains covered in snow and ice, and amazing wildlife such as Minke whales and seals breaching the water’s surface. They hear the deep roar of calving ice, the gabble of a playful penguin colony, and the screech of an albatross flying overhead.

World class Olympic white water kayaker and extreme kayaking adventurer, Mike Dawson, has been an inspiring mentor to young explorers on two expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, helping to ensure they get the most out of every kayaking experience.

He says the personal growth of the young explorers as they willingly push themselves beyond limits they didn’t know they had, is the most powerful aspect of the expeditions. “They go into it with a great attitude and willingness to dive into the experience. There is so much learning and growing going on. It is also important for the young explorers to relate their experiences back to the historic exploration of the Antarctic region, and to build relationships with each other.”

One of Mike’s personal highlights from the 2020 expedition, was when 16 year-old South Auckland student, Jaylee Savage, who had never kayaked before being selected for the expedition, decided to stay on the water, when the rest of the explorers landed on the continent. “The cloud had dropped in and it was snowing. The water was so calm and mysterious and Jaylee was in her element, taking it all in as we went on a long paddle around an island.”

He says Jaylee’s experience is a great example of the spirit of exploration, which is all about stepping outside your comfort zone, being curious and growing from your experiences.