The long 2016 Antarctic season may finally come to an end today, as Swiss explorer Mike Horn is expected to finally regroup with his crew aboard his ship the Pangaea and leave the frozen continent at last. Weather permitting, horn and his crew will sail for the city of Hobart, Tasmania, a voyage that is expected to take about six days to complete.
As you may recall, Mike reached the Antarctic coast early last week, having completed his 5100 km (3168 mile) traverse of the continent – via the South Pole – by kite ski. That journey took 57 days to complete and except for enjoying a few meals at the Pole with some of the researchers there, he was solo the entire time.
The original plan was for the Pangaea to pick him and proceed towards Australia. But the ship suffered some issues while waiting for him to arrive, so it had to sail to Tasmania to get repairs. Now, those repairs are apparently finished, and the crew has returned to pick up Horn and his gear and move on to the next phase of his expedition, which will eventually involve sailing north to the Arctic, where he’ll traverse the ice cap there, once again kite skiing to the North Pole.
Over the past week, Mike has been staying at French research station while he awaited pick-up. He admits that it has been nice to have the company of others and have plenty of food and shelter, but at times he says that he misses the solitude and challenge that comes with living in his own tent as well. The past few days have seen massive storms with 200 km/h (124 mph) winds, and those conditions actually made him wistful to be back out in the elements. Such is the make-up of an explorer who thrives on adventure and pushing himself to the limit.
Hopefully now the weather has improved enough for Horn to rejoin the crew of the Pangaea and begin sailing north. As difficult as this expedition has been at times, he’s only halfway to his goal.