Showing posts with label Circumnavigation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Circumnavigation. Show all posts

Aussie Antarctic Solo Sailor Dimasted in Rough Weather in the Southern Ocean

Way back in January I wrote a post about Aussie Lisa Blair, a sailor who was embarking on an attempt to complete a solo circumnavigation around Antarctica along the Southern Ocean. Now, some 72 day after she set out on this epic adventure, Blair has run into trouble amidst bad weather, high winds, and freezing temperatures.

Earlier today, Blair sent out a PAN PAN, which is a signal that she was facing imminent danger and was in need of assistance. Her ship, the Climate Action, ran into trouble when it was hit with 40 knot (46 mph/74 km/h) winds, which broke a mast and knocked the vessel over at least once as swells grew to 7 meters in size.

At the moment, Lisa is no longer in any immediate danger and is preparing to make her way to Cape Town. She was approximately 895 nautical miles (1029 miles/1674 km) from that point when she ran into trouble, but according to reports Blair will now rig an emergency storm sail and motor her way to the South African city for repairs. She'll be met and assisted by another ship that is registered in Hong Kong.

When she embarked on this voyage back in January, Blair was hoping to become the first woman to sail solo and unsupported around Antarctica. She left from Albany, Australia with the intention of breaking the speed record for such an attempt. That record is currently held by Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov and stands at 102 days, 35 minutes, and 50 seconds. Lisa had set her sights on doing it in just 94 days.

By all accounts, Blair is safe and uninjured by the storm, but her ship is now crippled. Barring any more bad weather, she should be able to limp it into port in Cape Town where the damage will be assessed further. For now though, this is the end of her solo attempt. Whether or not she can repair the ship, restock her supplies, and try again at a later date remains to be seen.

At this point, it will be a number of days before she arrives back on land. Search and rescue teams in Cape Town have been notified of the situation and are standing by to lend assistance if needed.

American Team Enters Volvo Ocean Race

Later this year, a new edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will kick-off from Alicante, Spain, where several sailing crews will begin a difficult journey to see who can be the fastest to race around the world. The event is a brutal one, demanding determination, grit, and fortitude to see it through to the end, as the teams cover more than 46,000 nautical miles (85,192 km/52,935 miles) as they cross four different oceans and visit six continents along the way. To say this event is a unique blend of adventure and endurance challenge would be an understatement.

While I was away sailing the Southern Ocean an co-sponsorsed American and Danish team threw its hat into the ring for this year's race. The Vestas 11th Hour Racing will be taking part in their second consecutive Volvo Ocean Race, with experienced skippers Charlie Enright and Mark Towill leading the way. The two men are now working on building a competitive crew, and plan on making several trans-Atlantic crossing in April and May to serve as training sessions prior to the October 22 launch of the round-the-world race.

Enright and Towill served as the skipper and race director for Team Alvimedica in the 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. They hope that experience will prove helpful this year as they set out to challenge the other teams that will depart from Alicante in a few months time. So far, there are three other crews entered in the event. They include the Dutch team of AkzoNobel, the Dongfeng Race Team from China, and Mapfre from Spain.


When Vestas hits the water they'll be carrying an important environmental message with them. Not only does the team's sponsor create sustainable energy solutions for use around the world, but the team is also stressing the importance of protecting the marine environment as well. In their first venture into the VOR, Charlie and Mark saw first hand how pollution and plastic debris is impacting the world's oceans, destroying many species of fish and making the waters uninhabitable in some parts of the world. They've made it their mission to bring attention to this issue, even as they race through those waters.

The Volvo Ocean Race first began back in 1973, and it has occurred approximately every two years since. It ranks among sailing's "Big Three" events, along with America's Cup and the Olympics. For many sailors, it isa dream come true just to compete in the event, let alone win it.

The 2017-2018 edition of the event will feature an incredibly challenging course. After setting out from Alicante, the ships will sail for Lisbon before proceeding south to Cape Town. After that, they'll brave the Southern Ocean to cross to Melbourne, before turning north to Guangzhou and Hong Kong. That will be a brief foray into the Northern Hemisphere however, as the teams will then turn south once again on their way to Aukland. They'll then sail round the infamous Cape Horn in South America as they make their way to Itajaí, then on to Newport, across the North Atlantic to Cardiff, on to Gothenburg, and to the finish line in The Hague. It should be quite a journey.

We're still more than six months away from the start of the race at this point, so expect more teams to join the competition in the weeks ahead. In October, the real excitement begins. But until then, you can keep tabs on race developments at VolvoOceanRace.com.

Aussie Woman to Attempt Solo Sailing Circumnavigation of Antarctica

Aussie sailor Lisa Blair is about to set out on a very difficult sailing expedition. So much so, that no woman has ever accomplished it solo before. Next week, she will attempt to become the first female – and only third person ever – to sail solo and unassisted around Antarctica, navigating the challenging Southern Ocean, which remains treacherous even in the 21st century.

The journey is expected to take about three months to complete. She'll first depart from Albany in Western Australia, and will head south into the waters off the coast of the Antarctic. In order to maintain her solo and unassisted status, she'll need to spend the entire voyage onboard her ship, without making land stops of any kind, nor having personal contact with another person. She'll also have to sail completely without assistance.

In order to write her name in the history books, Blair must keep her ship below 45ºS latitude at all times. She'll also have to pass three of the most treacherous spots of land on Earth in the form of Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn, and Cape Agulhas. Along the way, she hopes to set a new speed record for the Antarctic circumnavigation, besting the time set by Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov back in 2008. He managed to sail around the frozen continent in 102 days, 56 minutes, 50 seconds, covering some 16,400 miles (26,393 km) in the process.

Blair had intended to set out by now, but weather and upgrades to her ship have caused a few delays to the start of the expedition. The countdown clock on her website indicates that she will now get underway on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, provided there are no more unexpected interruptions. When she does depart, she'll also be taking part in the Antarctica Cup Ocean Race as the lone competitor. The race is actually between Lisa and the clock, although she will try to stay in one of three electronically mapped "lanes," each of which have 18 individual "gates" that she'll pass through along the course.

Hopefully all will go according to plan, and Blair will start her epic voyage next week. You'll be able to follow Lisa's progress on her website as she makes her way through this wild and uncharted part of the world. It should be an amazing trip.

This Cyclist Want to Ride His Bike in Every Country in the World

Over the years, there have been a number of cyclists who have quite literally ridden around the world on their bikes, circumnavigating the globe under their own power. We've even followed a few of them on their adventures here on this blog. But, German rider Patrick Schroeder is setting an entirely new bar for others to follow, by attempting to ride his bike through every country in the world. All 195 of them.

Over the holiday break, the team over at Gear Junkie posted a story about Patrick, sharing his goals to pedal his way across the globe. Ten years ago, he set out from his home country at the age of 19 to see where he could go on his bike. At the time, he didn't really have any goals for his ride, nor did he have a plan. But over time, and as the years, passed, he decided that he wanted to pursue his goal of cycling through every country on Earth.

Patrick says that after he completed school and military service, he spent a year traveling around the world. After that, he got into bike touring, with his first big adventure being a ride from Germany to South Africa. He also rode from Germany to China – and back – as well as Argentina to Canada. Along the way, he has now ridden his bike in 141 countries, leaving him 54 more to go.

In the Gear Junkie article, Patrick talks about the equipment that he takes with him, his current bike (a custom MyBoo Densu), as well as ones he has used in the past, his favorite pieces of gear, and more. He also talks about the things he's learned on his bike journeys, the hardest place he's traveled through, the extraordinary things he has seen during his travels, and the things he hasn't done yet that he would still like to do.

Perhaps most interesting is his list of gear that he has taken with him, both on his 2008 bike expedition and on his 2016 journey. As you can imagine, things continue to evolve over time, with new and better gear being released regularly. For instance, on his 2008 list he has an iPod Nano, but now he uses a smartphone instead. His gear has been reduced in weight nicely too. In 2008, his kit weight about 55 pounds. Today, it's down to 26 pounds. That's some impressive gains to say the least.

If you're interested in long-distance bike travel, this is a story that you'll want to read. But beyond that, it is just really interesting to see what Patrick is doing. No word on where he is headed next, or how he'll knock off those remaining countries, but follow him on hit Facebook page to stay updated.

Mike Horn's Pole 2 Pole Expedition is About to Truly Get Underway

If you've been reading my updates from the Antarctic so far this season, you've probably seen me mention Swiss explorer Mike Horn on more than one occasion. That's because not only does he have an impeccable adventure resume ( climbed four 8000-meter peaks without oxygen, explored the Arctic during the winter, swam the length of the Amazon), but he is also about to embark on one of the most ambitious expeditions of all time. Horn is attempting to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe north-south (rather than east-west), passing through both Poles along the way. And soon, he'll launch the first critical phase of that journey, which will see him traverse Antarctica on foot.

Currently, Mike is aboard his ship the Pangea just off the Antarctic coast. According to his dispatches, he and his crew are slowly making their way through the ice to his drop-off point on the Antarctic continent. Remember, most of South Pole skiers are dropped off at Union Glacier, prior to flying to their starting points at Hercules Inlet, by the professional crew at ALE. In Mike's case however, he's sailing independently as part of his round-the-world journey.

The Pole 2 Pole expedition – as Mike calls it – has been a long time coming. I first told you about his plans back in 2014, but it has taken two years to get this adventure truly underway and off the ground. The journey began when the South African-born explorer set out from Monaco back in May, and began sailing out of the Mediterranean Sea and down the coast of Africa.

Along the way, he spent some time exploring the Namib Desert and visiting the Okavango Delta, before traveling overland to Cape Town, where he dove with sharks and conducted research on those ocean-going predators. Now, he has ventured across the Southern Ocean on his way to the Antarctic. Once there, he'll don a pair of skis and pull a sled across the frozen expanse just like all the other skiers heading to the South Pole. But after he reaches 90ºS, he'll continue on to the coast once again (possibly to Hercules Inlet) where Pangea will be waiting to pick him up.


The expedition hardly ends there however. As tough as his Antarctic crossing will be, it is nothing compared to what lies ahead. After he finishes at the bottom of the world, he'll set sail for the top. Heading north through the Pacific Ocean, where he'll first spend some time traveling in New Zealand and Australia, before continuing on into Asia. After that, Horn will continue heading north, where he'll then set his sights on traversing the Arctic on foot as well, an endeavor that is far more difficult and dangerous than crossing the Antarctic.

If he succeeds with that plan – one that has become increasingly more difficult in recent years – he'll then move south once again, traversing Greenland on foot, before sailing back to Europe and ending his expedition back in Monaco where it began.

Obviously there is a lot to accomplish before he is done, but it certainly will be interesting to follow along. I'm particularly interested in Horn's attempt at crossing the Arctic, which we've seen many people try and fail at in recent years. He has all the credentials, and I'd never bet against him, but the Arctic has become an unforgiving place with little margin for error, and it will probably be the toughest expedition of his life skiing to the North Pole and onward.

For now though, Antarctic awaits. If things go according to plan, he should hit the ice in the next couple of days. And then that stage of his adventure will truly begin. I'll be posting updates throughout the season on his progress. It should be interesting to follow for sure.

Arctic Explorers Bring Bad News After Sailing Northwest and Northeast Passages

One of the most ambitious and interesting adventures of the summer has been the Polar Ocean Challenge. Led by famed explorer David Hempleman-Adams, the objective of the expedition was to sail both the Northeast and Northwest passages in a single year, circumnavigating the North Pole and taking stock of the arctic sea ice along the way. A few days back the crew of adventurers, sailors, and researchers completed a major milestone of their journey, and they brought back some sobering news about the state of ice in the Arctic Ocean.

The sailing ship Northabout set sail from Bristol, in the U.K. back June, making way for Norway before proceeding on to Russia to the start of the Northeast Passage. The ship ran into a delay at that point due to pack ice still blocking the route. That isn't too uncommon in the early part of summer, as it generally takes a few weeks before the passage clears. From there, they navigated on through the icy waters of the Arctic before exiting into the Northern Pacific and crossing over to Alaska. The next stage of the journey was through the Northwest Passage above Canada, which is the section that was just completed. Now, the plan is to sail on to Greenland, and then back home to Bristol.

By successfully navigating through the both the Northwest and Northeast passages, the crew proved that those once mythical routes are now fully open, and accessible. They also became the first ship to make such a journey in a single season, although they certainly won't be the last. Climatologists now predict that both passages will see increasing numbers of commercial traffic before the middle of the century, even by ships that are not hardened against ice.


On the Polar Ocean Challenge website the team posted a press release a few days back sharing the news of their successful completion of the Northwest Passage, which took just 14 days to finish. That's an incredibly fast time through that part of the world, but the team revealed that they had encountered almost no ice along the entire route. In fact, in the two weeks that they spent there, they came across ice only twice in 1800 nautical miles (3333 km/2071 miles).

This news is both astonishing and troubling at the same time. It now seems pretty clear that both the Northwest and Northeast Passages will soon be open for longer periods of time each year, and that they will be safer than ever to pass through. The Arctic sea ice is a bit like the canary in the coal mine, giving us an indicator of just how much impact climate change is having on our planet.

The crew of the Northabout is on the home stretch now, having completed the most difficult sections of their voyage. The team's website shares some important information about their expedition, which has now been at sea for more than 20 weeks and covered over 13,500 nautical miles (24,076 km /14,960 miles). Perhaps the most startling statistic of all however, is that researchers about the ship have recorded a 13.4% drop in the sea ice levels, which is a faster and higher rate than was expected.

I suspect these kinds of reports will become the norm moving forward. It is still troubling to read however.

Video: GoPro Camera Captures Hyperlapse Images of Solar Impulse Flight

Yesterday I posted a story about the Solar Impulse aircraft completing its round-the-world journey using nothing but the rays of the sun to power the flight. Today, I have a great video that was captured by GoPro camera throughout the expedition. The short clip is a hyperlapse of final legs of the excursion, giving us some impressive views of the trip as seen from atop the plane itself. This was a wonderful achievement to say the least, and this video helps to put the accomplishment in perspective.

Russian Adventurer Sets Record For Fastest Circumnavigation By Balloon

I'm still working hard to catch up with some of the big stories that broke while I was away in Mongolia. Most have been covered now, but there was at least one more that I wanted to share. This past weekend, Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov completed an epic round-the-world journey in a hot air balloon, covering some 33,000 km (20,506 miles) while setting a new speed record in the process.

Konyukhov first set out on his journey back on July 12, taking to the air at 7:30 AM local time at a point located just north of Perth, Australia. He touched down just 11 days later in the town of Bonnie Rock, located in Western Australia at about 5:00 PM in the evening.

In completing the journey, the 64-year old Russian becomes just one of four people to successfully circumnavigate the globe in a balloon. He is the second to do so solo. Konyukhov circled the planet in a carbon fiber pod that was not pressurized, as he cruised along at speeds in excess of 150 miles (240 km) per hour, at an altitude that often reached to 30,000 feet (9144 meters). His speed record is two days faster than the previous mark, which was set by Steve Fossett back in 2002.

This latest achievement is just one of many for the Russian, who has scaled Everest twice, climbed the rest of the Seven Summits, and has skied to both the North and South Pole. He has even visited the Pole of Inaccessibility in the Arctic Ocean, and crossed the Pacific Ocean in a rowboat. An accomplished sailor, Konyukhov has sailed around the world four times, a skill that served him well in the balloon too.

Some of the challenges that he faced while flying around the globe in a balloon included bad weather, a frozen valve on his oxygen tanks, and a storm that froze over the balloon, adding enough additional weight that the flight was in serious jeopardy for a time. At one point, he even strayed far enough south that he was nearing Antarctica, just as his onboard heater was struggling to continue working. This put him into "survival mode" as he strayed into serious jeopardy for a time. Thankfully, he was able to overcome all of those obstacles, stay in the air, and still set the new speed record.

Congrats to Fedor on such an impressive accomplishment. Truly a great adventure for the modern age.


Solar Impulse Completes Round-The-World Flight

Solar Impulse, the innovative aircraft powered only by the rays of the sun, completed its historic flight yesterday by landing back in Abu Dhabi, the city from which it departed from back on March 9 of 2015. In doing so, the solar-powered plane became the first to circumnavigate the globe without the use of any form of fossil fuels. 

The entire journey was broken down into 17-stages that covered a distance of more than 42,000 km (26,000 miles). The flight path crossed four continents, three seas, and two oceans, beginning and ending in the United Arab Emirates. The longest leg of the expedition took place between Nagoya, Japan and Hawaii, covering some 8924 km (5545 miles) of Pacific Ocean in the process. That stage alone took 118 hours to complete, giving pilot Andre Borschberg the record for the longest solo flight. 

Throughout the flight Borschberg split time at the controls with fellow pilot Bertrand Piccard, who was at the helm of the Solar Impulse when it made the final flight from Cairo, Egypt to Abu Dhabi yesterday, bringing an end to the 17-month odyssey that proved clean energy can be used to power an aircraft. The two pilots has hoped to complete the journey in a much shorter timeframe however, but a catastrophic failure of the aircraft's battery system caused it to be grounded for 10 months while repairs and upgrades were made. 

The Solar Impulse has a wingspan of over 72 meters (236 ft), which is larger than even a 747 commercial aircraft. Those wings contain more than 17,000 individual solar cells, which collect power and store it in onboard batteries. Those batteries can than be used to power the aircraft even at night. 

While this was an impressive demonstration of technology and the steps being taken to improve the use of clean energy, don't expect the Solar Impulse to have a dramatic impact on the commercial aviation anytime soon. Solar cells will need to improve their efficiency drastically before that can happen, as it is currently impossible to power a large aircraft using just the light of the sun. Still, this is a step in the right direction, show us a potential future where clean aircraft could whisk passengers off to remote destinations without having a dramatic impact on the environment. While that vision is still in the distant future, it is good to know that we're taking small steps towards making it a reality now. 

Solar Impulse 2 Resumes Round--the-World Flight

Its journey around the world may have been delayed for 10 months, but the historic flight of the Solar Impulse 2 has resumed at long last. The solar powered aircraft took off from Oahu in Hawaii yesterday, and is now flying towards California on what is arguably the most dangerous leg of the entire project.

The innovative plane features a wingspan as large as a 747, yet it has a very small and cramped cockpit. Most of those large winds are covered in solar panels, with large batteries onboard that cover the rays of the sun into energy and store it for use while inflight. The aircraft carries absolutely no fuel, which is why flying it around the world is such a major achievement.

The Solar Impulse 2 took off from Abu Dhabi in March of last year, flying on to China with few problems. Once there however, poor weather kept the plane on the ground for several weeks, and when it did take off it was forced to land in Japan, where it suffered damage on the ground. The crew repaired that damage, and Swiss adventurer/pilot Bertrand Piccard pressed on to Hawaii.

But while on that leg of the journey, the plane's batteries overheated, damaging the electrical system en route. Safely on the ground in Hawaii, the team reviewed the issue and discovered that it would take some time to repair the Solar Impulse and get it back in the air. The aircraft needed two new batteries and an improved cooling system, which took some time to get in place. It remained in Hawaii until yesterday, when a weather window opened that allowed the plane to take off and resume its journey at long last.


Over the next few days the solar-powered aircraft will make its way to San Francisco, before continuing across the U.S., making several stops along the way. From there, it'll fly across the North Atlantic, visit Europe and North Africa, before proceeding back to Abu Dhabi sometime in the summer. If successful, the Solar Impulse will be the first aircraft to circumnavigate the globe using nothing but solar power.

Hopefully this is the last of the delays, and the airplane can now continue along on its journey without any further delays. There is still a long way to go, and it is far from out of danger, but the team behind this project is happy to see its aircraft back in the air once again.


Sarah Outen Arrives in Montreal, Won't Row Atlantic Ocean Again

Last week I posted the news that round-the-world adventurer Sarah Outen had been forced to abandon her attempt to row solo across the North Atlantic due to an impending storm. The British woman was picked up by a ship called the Federal Oshima, which was bound for Montreal Canada at the time, although we knew it would be a few days before the vessel reached that destination. On Saturday,  Sarah was delivered safely back to dry land, and has finally had a chance to share her feelings about having to not only give up on her Atlantic crossing, but also abandon her rowboat in the middle of the ocean.

Sarah spent 143 days out on the water, on what would have been the final leg of her London2London via the World expedition. She has spent the better part of the past four years attempting to circumnavigate the globe under her own power. During that time, she has traveled by bike, kayak, and rowboat through some remote areas of the world, and the Atlantic crossing would have seen Outen return home to where the entire journey first started. Unfortunately, Hurricane Joaquin had other plans, and now Sarah is back in Canada, where she set out from back in May.

The row across the Atlantic was originally expected to take about 120 days to complete. But traveling west to east in a rowboat brings different challenges, and as a result it took much longer than expected. Ocean currents worked against Sarah's efforts, and heavy storms often kept progress to a minimum or negated it altogether. As a result, 143 days in she was still 1000 miles (1600 km) from the finish line, with time quickly running out.

As anyone who has followed Sarah's adventures knows, she has experienced similar issues in the past. While crossing the Pacific back in 2012 she was hit by a storm as well, smashing her boat and forcing her to call for assistance than too. But unlike then, Sarah now says that her expedition is over. In an interview conducted after her arrival in Canada, she says “I don’t have the resources, financially or physically, to take on another trip.”

The journey isn't completely over just yet though. Sarah will fly home to the U.K. today, and will then ride her bike from Falmouth, England to the finish line in London, completing a portion of the final stage of her journey. That ride will cover about 400 miles (643 km).

It's a shame that such a grand adventure had to end this way. Sarah has overcome a lot in the past few years, and for her to be so close to finishing before this latest setback is crushing I'm sure. But as always, she'll make the best of the situation, and solider on the end. Mostly, I'm glad she's safe, and on her way home at last.

Sarah Outen Forced to Abandon Atlantic Crossing

If you've been following Sarah Outen's London2London via the World expedition over the past few years, you know she's faced some tough challenges in her attempt to circumnavigate the globe completely under her own power. This weekend she may have reached her biggest hurdle yet however, as the 30-year old adventurer saw the final stage of that journey hit with a major setback. One that threatens to put an end to the entire project.

Sarah was 143 days into her Atlantic ocean crossing in a rowboat this weekend when she was forced to call for help by a passing boat. The seas had become incredibly turbulent and winds as high as 60 knots (69 mph/111 km/h) were being recorded as hurricane Joaquin took aim at her position. The storm, which is raging in the North Atlantic now, put Sarah in jeopardy, forcing her to call for assistance even as she was closing in on London, the starting point for this epic round-the-world adventure that began more than four years ago.

On Saturday, Sarah was safely retrieved by a passing ship called the Federal Oshima. That vessel is currently bound for Montreal, Canada and is scheduled to arrive there later in the week. Unfortunately, Sarah's rowboat – Happy Socks – was damaged in the rescue and had to be left behind on the Atlantic Ocean. That leaves her now heading in the wrong direction, and without a boat to complete the journey home.

The expedition first started back in the spring of 2011. Sarah paddled under the London Bridge on the Thames River, than set out across the English Channel to France. From there, she rode her bike across Europe and Asia, eventually returning to her kayak long enough to reach Japan, where she intended to row across the Northern Pacific Ocean. Her first attempt to complete that stage met with a similar setback when a major storm hit the region, forcing the British woman to call for a rescue, and abandoning another rowboat. She was able to recover from that challenge, and returned a year later to finish the crossing of the Pacific, reaching the Aleutian Islands in Alaska in 2014. Sarah than paddled the Aleutians to the mainland, returned to her bike, and rode across the U.S. and Canada, arriving in New York City this past March. After waiting for spring to arrive, she set out on the last leg of the journey – the crossing of the Atlantic.

It's hard to say where this puts Sarah's circumnavigation attempt now. As you can imagine, she is heartbroken over having to call for assistance, and leaving her boat behind. Whether or not she'll be able to raise the funds to buy another boat remains to be seen, but I have no doubt that she'll still want to see this undertaking through to the end.

We should know more once she reaches Canada in a few days. It'll probably take some time to sort out the logistics, but I suspect she'll find another way to overcome this obstacle in time as well.

London2London via the World Update: Sarah Outen Nears Half-Way Point of Atlantic Crossing

The last time we checked in with Sarah Outen, she had just wrapped up her crossing of North America on a bike, and was enjoying some time in New York City. That was back in the spring, and since then she has pedaled her way north back into Canada, and more importantly launched the final stage of her expedition, as she is now rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, and making her way back home.

For those who haven't been following Sarah's fantastic journey, it all began back in 2011 when she set out from London to circumnavigate the globe under her own power. She first started by paddling a kayaking down the Thames River in London, followed by a crossing of the English Channel. From there, it was on to her bike for a long ride across Europe and Asia. After that, she returned to the water, making a crossing of the Pacific that took a couple of tries to complete. Eventually, Sarah made it to Alaska, where she returned to the bike for her ride across North America. She has spent the better part of this summer rowing across the North Atlantic on her way back to where she started in London.

Originally Outen believed it would take roughly two years to complete her round-the-world adventure, but a series of unforeseen incidents have stretched that time much further. For example, back in 2012 she was caught in a massive storm in the Pacific that forced her to abandon her attempt at rowing that section. It took some time to recover from the loss of her boat and schedule another attempt, but eventually she was able to finish that section as intended.

Sarah has now been out on the ocean for 90 days, and has just received a resupply in the middle of the ocean from some French sailors. She wasn't in need of any assistance at all, but three sailboats were going to be passing along her route, and they decide to rendezvous to deliver some treats, including beer, bread, salami, and chocolate, to help make the remaining leg of the trip a bit easier and more enjoyable.

As of this writing, Sarah is about 1700 nautical miles (3148 km/1956 miles) away from England. When she arrives at the shores of her home country, she will get on her bike one last time, ride it to the Thames once again, and kayak back up the river on her way to the finish line at the London Bridge. That is probably still a few months off, but she is closing in on the end at long last.

Follow Sarah on her voyage at her official website, where she is posting daily dispatches from the water.

Solar Powered Plane Making Way Around the Planet - Slowly

One of the big adventures that is taking place at the moment is the attempt by the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft to fly completely around the world using nothing but solar power. The plane first took off from Abu Dhabi in March and has been slowly making its way around the globe, having made stops in Oman, India, Myanmar, and China along the way. The aircraft was expected to launch its longest, and riskiest, leg of the journey next, but has now run into some difficult which will delay that attempt.

The latest stage of the journey was to see the Solar Impulse take off from Nanjing, China yesterday and head towards Hawaii as pilot Andre Borschberg attempts a dangerous crossing of the Pacific Ocean that was expected to take about five days to complete. Not long into the flight however, the aircraft was forced to land in Nagoya, Japan today due to impending bad weather. The large vehicle isn't as quick and agile as other planes, and so it must take extra precautions on its journey.

The plane was forced to wait until 10 PM local time before touching down in Nagoya. Because of its size, conditions must be almost perfect to complete the landing. Winds must be below 10 knots, and all commercial aircraft must be out of the area as well.

It is difficult to say how long the next stage of the journey will be delayed. The Solar Impulse team will watch the weather forecasts and look for a good window that will allow Borschberg to continue his flight. For now though, they'll sit and wait for good conditions to return, and will no doubt receive all kinds of extra attention while they layover in Japan.

When the journey is complete, it will have covered more than 35,000 miles (56,300 km) circumnavigating the globe. When the plane leaves Japan it will proceed to Hawaii as planned before moving on to Phoenix, Arizona and New York City. From there, the solar-powered aircraft will proceed across the Atlantic Ocean, with a planned stopover in Europe and North Africa, before returning to its starting point in Abu Dhabi. If all goes as expected, the aircraft should reach the finish line sometime in late July or early August.

You can follow the Solar Impulse on both Facebook and Twitter to get updates on the plane's progress.

Adventurers Complete First Circumnavigation of Lake Baikal in Winter by Motorbike

Awhile back, two adventurers complete a journey through one of the coldest environments on Earth when they circumnavigated Lake Baikal in Siberia by motorbike in the dead of winter. The expedition was undertaken as an exploratory mission for a potential new extreme trip sponsored by The Adventurists, but also to raise funds for charity, and to prove that it could be done.

Matt Prior, Dennis Malone, and a team of other crazy travelers embarked on the 2000 km (1242 mile) journey around the frozen lake beginning and ending in Irkutsk, Russia. It didn't take them long to discover what they were in for, as they faced temperatures that plunged below -30ºC/-22ºF, as they battled winds that approached 80 mph (128 km/h). That would be challenging enough under any circumstances, but to do it on a motorcycle is unthinkable.

Located deep in Siberia, Baikal is the largest and deepest lake on the planet. It covers more than 31,000 square kilometers (12,248 sq. mi), and plunges to a depth of 1642 meters (5387 ft). It is also know for its extreme weather, which is owed much to its location. The lake was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1996 due to its value as a natural resource.

Despite the harsh conditions, it was actually an unseasonably warm winter along the lake, which made ice conditions challenging at times. Matt and Dennis had to cautiously move forward at points, as certain sections weren't even safe for walking, let alone driving a motorcycle. At one point, one of the bikes even broke down, forcing major repair work to be done in the field in order to keep moving forward. It didn't help much that the motorcycle was a vintage Russian Ural with a sidecar that was left over from World War II.

Despite the challenges, the expedition – which was sponsored by GoPro, Klim, and Powertraveller – was a success in more ways than one. The duo managed to raise funds for some important charities, including Help for Heroes, Soldier On, Plan UK, and Cool Earth.

If the name Matt Prior sounds familiar, it's because I've written about his initiative to launch the Adventure Academy in the past. That is his brilliant idea of providing would-be adventurers with the skills they need to launch their own expeditions by taking them on a journey that is equal parts learning experience and cultural immersion. You can learn more about the concept in the video below.

Congrats to Matt and Dennis on completing this Siberian odyssey.


Matt Prior Adventure Academy Main Promo from Matt Prior Adventure Academy on Vimeo.

Freya Hoffmeister Completes Circumnavigation of South America by Kayak

One of the major events that took place in the world of adventure while I was away in Egypt was Freya Hoffmeister's completion of her attempt to circumnavigate around South America by kayak. The German paddler reached Buenos Aires, Argentina on May 1, bringing to conclusion at long last her nearly four-year long effort to become the first person to accomplish that feat.

Freya originally set out from Buenos Aires back on August 30, 2011. Traveling south along the Atlantic coastline, she eventually navigated through the treacherous Strait of Magellan and around the infamous Cape Horn, to reach the Pacific Ocean. At that point, she turned north and paddled all the way up South America's Pacific Coast before turning east to pass through the Panama Canal. From there, she managed to return to the Atlantic, and started the long arduous journey back to starting point.

Regular readers of this blog will know that this isn't Freya's first circumnavigation of a continent. She also managed to paddle completely around Australia back in 2009, becoming just the second person to do so. But that epic journey wasn't enough to keep her off the water for long, and she soon hatched an idea to circle her second continent by kayak. The South American journey got underway two years later, and now it is finally finished.

Upon arrival at the finish line last week, Freya was met by an array of Argentine dignitaries and will-wishers. Several ships escorted into the harbor in Buenos Aires, where a small crowd was on hand to welcome her.

It is unclear if this will be the end of Freya's waterborne adventures at this point, but I wouldn't put it past her to be planning another epic journey in the future. For now, I'm sure she's happy to have completed this expedition at long last, and is enjoying a bit of rest and relaxation.

Congratulations to Freya on a job well done. She is an inspiration to many.

Freya Hoffmeister Approaches End of Kayak Journey Around South America

German paddler Freya Hoffmeister is approaching the end of her epic journey around South America in a kayak. According to her most recent updates, she is now less than 350 km (217 miles) from reaching the finish line in Buenos Aires, the city she set out from nearly four years ago.

According to her own estimates, it should take Freya about 18 more days to complete her expedition. That seems like a conservative estimate however, as she has been making good time recently, and is likely to finish ahead of that schedule. I'd expect her to press on to the end in a little more than two weeks, as she wraps up what has been one incredibly long and difficult journey. By the time she is done, she'll have circumnavigated the entire continent – including passing around the treacherous Cape Horn – by kayak, covering some 24,000 km (14,912 miles) in the process.

Freya is no stranger to long distance journeys by kayak. Previously she has paddled around Iceland and New Zealand, and even became the first woman to circumnavigate Australia as well. After completing that massive challenge back in 2009, she started looking for other places she could paddle as well. Somewhere along the way she came up with the idea of traveling completely around South America, and in August of 2011 she set off to do just that.

In her original estimate she expected it would take about 24 months to complete her expedition, beginning and ending in Buenos Aires. It has taken considerably longer than that however due to logistical challenges, taking some time off to go back home, and overcoming personal obstacles along the way. But now, the end is in sight, and Freya is poised to make history once again.

Normally I would have waited until she was a bit closer to the finish line to post an update on her progress, but at the end of the week I'll be leaving the country once again, and it is likely that Freya will finish her impressive journey while I am away. So, with that in mind, I'd encourage everyone to follow her progress at FreyaHoffmeister.com. Her final journal entries should prove memorable, as will the dash to the end.

It is always interesting to see these long expeditions wrap up at long last. I've been following this one since Freya set out all those many months ago. I'm glad that she is closing in on the end at long last. I'm sure the sense of relief and accomplishment that she'll feel will be overwhelming.

London2London Via The World Update: Sarah Arrives in New York City, Atlantic Ocean Lies Ahead

It has once again been far too long since we checked in on Sarah Outen, the British adventurer who has been making her way around the planet completely under her own power. Since my last update on her progress, she has completed a six-month long cycling journey across Canada and the U.S. – much of it in winter – and is now preparing for the final stage of her journey, a crossing of the Atlantic by rowboat.

You may recall that Sarah launched her London2London via the World expedition four years ago by first paddling down the River Thames in London, and then across the English Channel to France. From there, she then proceeded to ride her bike across Europe and Asia, encountering many interesting people and adventures along the way. Eventually she arrived in Japan where she intended to cross the North Pacific by rowboat. That was back in the summer of 2012, and soon after she embarked on that ocean crossing she encountered a nasty storm that damaged her boat, and sent her back to shore. Undaunted, Sarah returned a year later and rowed from Japan to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. Then, last year she kayaked through the islands to the Alaskan mainland, where she returned to her bike for a long ride across North America.

On March 15, Sarah rode her bike into New York City, essentially wrapping up the final cycling portion of her journey. She will eventually tack on another 400 miles (643 km) to the ride when she heads for Cape Cod in a few weeks, but for now she is enjoying some time in NYC, where she has been catching up with old friends, making new ones, and starting to prepare for the next stage of her grueling journey.


In May, Sarah will set out across the North Atlantic in her rowboat. The plan is to cross the ocean and row back up the Thames, passing under the London Bridge, which was her official starting point those many long months ago. If everything goes as planned, the Atlantic crossing should take roughly 4-5 months to complete, putting her back home in London sometime in the fall of this year.

While the journey has taken longer than Sarah had anticipated, it has been quite the experience and challenge. Circumnavigating the globe completely under her own power is an impressive accomplishment, and now just the Atlantic Ocean stands in the way of her achieving that goal. Outen is no stranger to ocean rowing however. In addition to having rowed across the North Pacific, back in 2009 she also rowed solo across the Indian Ocean as well. When she launches her Atlantic crossing in May, it'll feel like old times I'm sure, although this time she's heading home.

Over the next few weeks, Sarah will be dealing with logistical issues, resting, and getting her boat ready for launch. The weather needs to improve and stabilize before she begins rowing the Atlantic, but by mid-May or so she should be about ready to go. There are still thousands of miles of ocean ahead of her, but London is calling and the journey is nearing an end at long last.

Freya Hoffmeister Reaches Rio in South American Circumnavigation Kayak Expedition

It has been far too long since we last checked in on the progress of Freya Hoffmeister, the German paddler who has spent the better part of the past four years kayaking around South America. A few days ago Freya reached a major milestone on her quest to circle her second continent when she reached Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. She is now ready to start the final leg of the journey, which will return her to her starting point in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Freya reached Rio on February 8 and has already returned to the water as she continues her slow, methodical march towards the finish line. So far she has spent 775 days on this expedition, of which roughly 550 have been spent out on the water. To date she has covered approximately 24,400 km (15,160 miles), averaging roughly 45 km (28 miles) per day. It has of course been grueling at times, with plenty of unique challenges, but the latest leg of the journey has seen improved conditions. She now finds herself with beautiful beaches to camp on most nights, and the heat and humidity has dropped in recent days as well. 

You may recall that Freya became the first woman to kayak around Australia a few years back, completing that expedition in record time no less. She was able to complete that voyage in 322 days, of which 245 were spent paddling. That journey included a 575 km (371 mile) open water crossing across the Gulf of Carpentaria that managed to shave days and kilometers off of her time. The only other person to have completed a circumnavigation of Australia is New Zealander Paul Caffyn, who did it 361 days.

After wrapping up that impressive expedition, Freya took some time off before deciding what she wanted to do next. She didn't stay at home for too long however, and in August of 2011 she set out on her attempt to circumnavigate South America. The journey first took her south along the Atlantic Coast, where she eventually rounded the treacherous Cape Horn. From there, she passed into the Pacific and turned north, eventually passing through the Panama Canal. She has since been making her way back along the Atlantic side of the continent as she pushes towards Buenos Aires once again.

At this point, she is approximately 2300 km (1430 miles) from the finish line. If she maintains her average speed, she should return to her starting point in early April. We will of course keep an eye on her progress as she nears the end of what is turning out to be yet another impressive padding expedition. 

Expedition 720 Degrees: Circumnavigating the Globe East to West, and Pole to Pole

An ambitious new expedition is about to get underway in the next few weeks that if successful, will set a new standard for human powered journeys around our planet. Adventurer Angelo Wilkie-Page is  about to attempt a double-circumnavigation of the globe, first going east to west, and then north to south. He has dubbed this amazing endeavor Expedition 720 Degrees, as he'll not only pass through all lines of longitude in his travels, but latitude as well.

The 29-year old South African will start his journey in Los Angeles in just a couple of weeks, and he'll first head north by bike across the U.S. and Canada, before arriving in Anchorage, Alaska. From there. From there, he'll travel by sea kayak across the Bering Strait, then ride his bike once again across Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Monaco, France, and Spain, before eventually arriving in Lisbon, Portugal. On the third leg of the journey, Angelo will row across the Atlantic Ocean from Portugal to Brazil, where he'll then ride out of Rio toward the southernmost tip of South America, before turning back north toward his starting point in L.A. When he reaches that point, he'll then be halfway finished with the expedition.

The next phase of the journey will start in New York City, with Angelo traveling north into Canada, and eventually on to the North Pole, before turning back south and arriving in Norway. This stage will be completed by bike, rowboat, and on foot, as the South African attempts to complete the very difficult task of reaching 90ºN under his own power. Once he has reached Norway, he will then cycle across Europe and Asia, turning south into Thailand, where he'll once again start rowing through Malaysia, past Australia, and eventually ending in New Zealand. From there, he intends to hop across the Southern Ocean, and begin a traverse of the Antarctic via the South Pole. When he has completed that arduous leg, he'll cross over into Ushuaia, Argentina, and ride his bike back to New York City, completing the final leg of his journey.

Angelo estimates that he'll cross through 48 countries on this expedition, covering a total distance of 115,000 km (71,457 miles) along the way. He'll row or paddle across four oceans, and nine seas, while also crossing six deserts, including the five largest in the world. Along the way, he hopes to set a new record for east-west circumnavigation, and become the first person to complete a Pole to Pole circumnav that crosses four antipodal points and four Equator crossings. He also is looking to become the fist to complete both circumnavigation attempts under his own power, and set a record for the most distance covered along the way too.

At the moment, Wilkie-Page is getting ready to launch the expedition, and will be in the U.S. soon to start his amazing journey. While he is of course looking forward to the adventure, he is also making this attempt for a cause as well. Angelo hopes to raise $1 million for Heifer International, a nonprofit looking to stamp out poverty and hunger in developing nations around the world.

You can follow Angelo's progress on his website and Facebook page. This will certainly be one incredibly undertaking. Good luck!