Showing posts with label Solo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Solo. 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.

Belgian Explorer wins European Adventurer of the Year

Last week, the award for European Adventurer of the Year was announced and I'm happy to say it went to someone whose expeditions we have covered many times here at The Adventure Blog. The award, which was handed out at the ISPO sports show in Munich, was given to our friend Louis-Philippe Loncke for his solo treks across some of the most challenging deserts in the world.

The award has been given out every year since 2009, and past winners have included the likes of mountaineer Simone Moro, Amazon walker Ed Stafford, high-altitude skydiver Felix Baumgartner, and mountain runner Kilian Jornet, amongst others. The awards is given to "a person for outstanding performance in the concept of adventure. The purpose of this award is to clarify the adventure as a phenomenon and highlight the human desire and motivation to implement and achieve their dreams."

Loncke embodied this concept by taking on his Three Deserts Challenge, which involved trekking solo and unassisted across the Simpson Desert in Australia, Death Valley in the U.S., and the Salt Flats of Bolivia. To do this, he carries an extremely heavy pack filled with all of the water and supplies that he needs to trek for days in environments that are hostile to life. After years of perfecting his strategies for surviving in these desert places, he has now been able to accomplish multiple long distance treks that have never been done before.

According to a press release announcing the awards, Lou-Phi has plenty of plans on where to go next. He is reportedly contemplating solo crossings of the Namib and Atacama Deserts, as well as trekking across Iceland and Antarctica too.

Congrats to Louis-Philippe on receiving this honor. It is well deserved my friend.

Belgian Adventurer to Attempt Simpson Desert Crossing in Australia

Belgian adventurer Louis-Philippe Loncke is about to set out on another expedition across Australia's Simpson Desert. Back in 2008, he mad a similar journey spending 36 days traversing the "Dead Heart" of the continent solo and unsupported. This time out, he hopes to repeat his success, although he is taking a completely different approach.

Stretching out for more than 176,000 sq. km. (68,000 sq. miles), the Simpson Desert covers parts of Australia's Northern Territory, Queensland, and South Australian states. Marked by a dry, sandy red plain and towering dunes, it is one of the most forbidding places on the planet, and home to the longest parallel sand dunes on Earth.

When he completed his crossing back in 2008, Loncke pulled a specially built cart that carried his gear and supplies, including water, behind him the entire way. This time out, he'll leave the cart behind and carry all of his equipment in his backpack instead, something he did while crossing Death Valley last year. His route will be a bit different this time out as well, as he'll travel west to east starting from Old Andado station in the Northern Territory and ending at Poeppel Corner via the geographic center of the desert itself. All told, he expect the expedition to cover about 280 km (174 miles).

The challenges that Loncke faces on this journey are numerous. The desert is extremely hot and dry, so dehydration, heat stroke, and exhaustion are real possibilities. Since he's carrying all of his supplies and gear with him on his back, equipment failure is a serious concern too, as is the fear of potential injuries. On top of that, he'll have to contend with snakes, dingos, and wild camels too, not to mention a host of annoying biting insects. In other words, this won't be a walk in the park, but a seriously difficult expedition through an unforgiving environment.

Loncke says that if he crosses the desert successfully, and still has enough supplies to continue on, he plans to push another 135 km (84 miles) past his end point to the town of Birdville instead. That would bring the entire journey up to 415 km (258 miles), although he'll have to wait to see how he feels physically before making that decision.

Loncke departed for Australia from Belgium yesterday and will spend a few days preparing for the journey before setting out. He should get underway next week, and have quite an adventure in the desert. Stay tuned for updates on his progress.

Good luck Lou-Phi!