Four young New Zealanders are about to embark on a journey others only dream of – to Antarctica. The group has been hand-picked from more than 100 applicants for the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s second Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition and includes some well-known Kiwis.
William Pike is a sought-after inspirational speaker who lost his leg during the 2007 Mt Ruapehu eruption. He is now the director of the William Pike Challenge Award, a youth development programme for years 7-9 students. William lives on Auckland’s North Shore. Isobel Ewing is a journalist working in the press gallery at Parliament for Newshub who is an avid skier, tramper and qualified open water diver. Isobel grew up in Tamahere, south of Hamilton. Film-maker Simon Lucas lives in Greenhithe. His short film ‘Paddle for the North’ has won several awards at international film festivals. It tells the story of Simon and five of his friends as they paddle 1,500-kilometres on canoes from Canada to Alaska. Kumeu’s Sylvie Admore is an officer of the Royal New Zealand Air Force who is passionate about New Zealand’s outdoors, teaching alpine skills courses and is a keen mountaineer.
In partnership with adventure cruise company One Ocean Expeditions the group will be led by Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson. Expedition members depart New Zealand in mid-February 2017 when they fly to Ushuaia in Argentina before boarding the Akademik Ioffe, a 117-metre vessel, which will take them to the Antarctic Peninsula for two weeks. Nigel Watson says it will be an unbelievable trip.
“The Peninsula is a very special part of Antarctica –the wildlife and scenery there is incredible. It is also home to several international research stations.”
Nigel Watson says the peak of the trip (literally) will be an attempt at climbing a mountain. “If the weather permits, the group will attempt a guided ascent of Mt Scott. In climbing the heavily glaciated 880m peak, the young explorers will celebrate and continue the legacy of famous early explorer Robert Falcon Scott, from whom the mountain takes its name.”
Part of the Trust’s work is conserving heritage sites in Antarctica, including Captain Scott’s huts. It most recently restored Sir Edmund Hillary’s Hut at Scott Base. The Inspiring Explorers’ initiative is about encouraging young people to connect with Antarctica’s history and the spirit of exploration.
“All of our participants will be working hard to share the story of their Antarctic adventure both online and in person –it is this outreach that we hope inspires other Kiwis to make the most of this fantastic world we live in,” says Nigel Watson.