“We believe in the spirit of adventure – being self-propelled, self-responsible, the need for an unstoppable attitude, the need for challenge. We believe that the world is a better place for those who are prepared to confront the improbable and defy the odds.” (mission statement of the Antarctic Peninsula Sea Kayak Expedition)
In January 2001 three men set out to paddle down the length of the Antarctic Peninsula, the point below South America where the Antarctic continent points a finger north. It was to be the southernmost sea kayak journey ever attempted, a 528-mile expedition through the freezing waste of ice, rock, and ocean that makes this one of the most inhospitable coasts on earth.
Their book, The Frozen Coast, describes this ultimately successful journey, undertaken by three New Zealanders: Graham Charles, Mark Jones, and Marcus Waters. Beginning at Hope Bay on the northern tip of the peninsula, they spent the next five weeks battling down this perilous coastline, negotiating huge expanses of broken ice, avoiding collapsing icebergs, dodging the potentially lethal katabatic winds, and constantly struggling with the cold and wet. Eventually the trio succeeded in reaching their goal – the Antarctic Circle at 66 degrees South.
This book has been described as “a gripping account of a great adventure and a fascinating insight into one of the most extreme sea kayak expeditions ever undertaken”.
And my Mum gave me a copy of their mission statement, as she thought it summed up perfectly what I am about to do.