Imagine paddling alongside a humpback whale, watching a Gentoo penguin porpoise through the water or seeing a leopard seal haul himself onto an iceberg.
That’s the sort of surreal experience five young people are hoping for, having been selected for Antarctic Heritage Trust’s 2020 Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition.
We can now announce the five young people selected to take part in the 2020 Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition, which will see them kayak parts of the Antarctic Peninsula in March in partnership with Quark Expeditions.
They are University of Canterbury students Sadra Sultani (18) and Anzac Gallate (19) of Christchurch, Wellington’s Laurette Siemonek and Owain John (26) and Ihlara McIndoe (22) of Dunedin.
Two students from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate will also join the team, alongside their deputy principal, for the experience of a lifetime. They are 17 year-old South Auckland students, Jaylee Savage and A’aifou Potemani.
The 2020 inspiring explorers will depart on March 6 and will be joined by expedition leader and Antarctic Heritage Trust general manager commercial and partnerships, Marcus Waters and whitewater Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson.
For Marcus Waters, the expedition will bring with it a sense of nostalgia. In 2001 he and two adventurous friends became the first to complete the southernmost sea kayaking journey traversing the length of the Antarctic Peninsula. The 850km expedition took them 35 days.
“Antarctica has the potential to change lives. It changed mine all those years ago and helped ignite a lifelong passion for exploration. I am so looking forward to returning to the Antarctic Peninsula to share a part of my story with this talented bunch of young people – and watch them create their own stories.”
This transformational aspect of polar travel is echoed by Andrew White, President of Quark Expeditions.
“No one returns from the Antarctic unchanged in some way. Stepping out of your comfort zone is something I’ve valued since my very first polar expedition.
“Part of our Polar Promise sustainability framework is to leverage the transformational power of the polar regions to do good; this is so strongly aligned with the Trust’s mission to engage young people with the spirit of exploration that the partnership seemed like a win/win from the outset.”
The Antarctic Peninsula expedition was first completed in 2019 by a group of eight young people – one being Sir Edmund Hillary’s grandson, Alexander Hillary.
Alexander Hillary says travelling to Antarctica as part of the Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition in 2019 was the journey of a life time.
“It’s one that nurtures leadership, encourages teamwork and challenges your courage. It’s an opportunity for curious and inquiring Kiwis to venture into the last truly wild landscape from which you will return with a fresh sense of perspective and a desire to make powerful change.”
This trip will offer the Trust’s young explorers the chance to push themselves, to connect with experts, and learn about the history, science, wildlife, environment and legacy of exploration in Antarctica as well as Antarctica’s importance to the world. Participants will discover the spirit of exploration in the world’s most extreme environment and experience the spirit of the early polar explorers; a remarkable legacy the Trust cares for on behalf of humanity.