2019 expedition blog

Jun 20

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20 June 2019 15:42  RssIcon

Welcome to British Exploring Society’s Summer 2019 expedition blog

You will find all the updates from our Summer expeditions as and when they are received. Please be aware that there will not be an update every single day.This blog will be the first place that any updates are shared, so make sure you check back in for news and save this page in your bookmarks. Please note that we receive varying levels of content from our expedition teams depending on the communication limitations of each location.

Dangoor Infinity update 29/08/2019
We've landed! Having spent the night at anchor in a bay off the island of Arran, we headed off in the launches for an exploration of this beautiful island. We enjoyed the sight of trees along with the comforts of civilisation.

Cold! That was the consensus of the water. How amazing jumping off the ship and going for a swim is! The water really drew all the heat out of us, climbing the relatively short ladder back to the deck felt like ascending a high cliff carrying a huge weight.

Following our exciting day, we wound down with a BBQ on deck in the Scottish evening sun. Music playing, all explorers dancing till bed at 10. 

Dangoor Infinity update 28/08/2019 
The days that I have had on this expedition have, in many ways, been life changing. The relationships formed have been one of a kind and the experiences I’ve had have changed the way that I see and value the world - how could it not? Especially after witnessing animals that some of us had never seen before in their natural habitat, such as dolphins, whales and jellyfish (as we approached Northern Ireland).

Seeing the dolphins approach the ship and swim just below the surface and then jumping above the water frequently made me question why there are so many people who are either “okay” or indifferent towards the concept of hurting the planet, believing that whatever happens in terms of climate change or Global warming won’t affect them - because quite frankly we only get one world. Just because it won’t affect the country, or area in which you live in, doesn’t justify not working to fight the problem if it so clearly will affect other people in other areas or other parts of the Earth. For those who are unaware of the magnitude of the problem this trip has allowed those, few people, to put into perspective issues such as the contamination of plastic in our oceans.

Each day we have had a talk from a member of the crew on a topic related to the oceans. Today, the talk is about Marine Biology related to Bioluminescence - We haven’t heard it yet but I expect it to be good. I think that everyone should at some point in their life engage in an experience like this so that they really understand more of the world, or at least see it from a different perspective.

Alternatively, one of the biggest lessons that I have learnt on this trip…is to recognise that the world is bigger than just the little bubble that we individually experience - at least in my case. Throughout this trip many young explorers have gotten worked up or stressed with the pressures of the real world, such as finding out exam result from their GCSEs or A-levels, which is understandable because we are so often told that our futures are determined by these very results.

Nothing that you experience in life is the end of your world, because I guarantee that there is more of that world, of which you haven’t seen and more opportunities that you didn’t previously know existed. In terms of developing relationships and enjoying this experience it’s weirdly terrifying to think that in a few days everyone will be returning to their own life and I will no longer be living with these amazing individuals - many of whom I’ve learnt a lot from. Thus, a second lesson that I have learnt is that it is worth living in the moment and appreciating everything as it comes.

“If you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl but whatever you do keep moving forwards”-Martin Luther King Jr

Update of the game Human Cluedo or Assassins: ¾ of the crew have been massacred. 

Dangoor Infinity update 22/08/2019 
The last few days have been kind of rough for the team at sea, large waves, biting winds and a shortage of custard creams in the biscuit boxes (especially this one) have led to low morale across the board. Luckily for us the Leaders have set up a good rotation of interesting talks from knowledgeable people around the ship. For example, yesterday, we received from the third mate a talk on the different types of lights we would see at sea at night, which range from the simple ship under motor, to the more complicated lights involved in a ship constrained by its draft.

Talks from the crew such as this combined with the current game of human "Cluedo" raging across the ship - a story worthy of a blog post of its own - keep us busy, tired but most importantly constantly learning new things we wouldn't otherwise know. Not only about sailing or hiking, but ourselves and the limits and restrictions we thought we once had which, one by one, have been cut away as if ballasts. I think I've written a bit too much so this is Dan H, from Forward Starboard Watch, signing off. 

Amazon update 22/08/2019 
Bullet Fire have been on an 8-night tour, carrying their own kit and sleeping in hammocks at night. Very strong team who have been testing their GPS navigation skills and carrying out science projects – having recently seen tapir and howler monkeys. They checked in with Basecamp last night and the team are all regrouping this evening. Bullet Fire will then walk back to Basecamp in the morning to finish their tour.

Dangoor Infinity update (land) 22/08/2019
Motto - " Thriving not surviving"
After 3 days of trekking, having covered 20km we are at "Dyngy Junction"

These are our thoughts so far;
- Today I'm thankful for the sun.
- I'm enjoying that we've seen no-one else walking in the opposite direction.
- Some of the most memorable views I've ever seen.
- It's been an eye opener how far I can push myself with the challenges put my way.
- Enjoying the expedition games we play that bring us closer together. - The opportunity to reflect is very much welcomed.
- Enjoying the peace and quiet and having complete silence.
- Crystal clear glacial rivers to bathe in (brrrh!). - The opportunity to be away from every day life has been beneficial.
- Life affirming, joyful trekking through lava fields with snowy mountain views.
- I've enjoyed this exped because on the first night I had a candle-lit dinner!
- I had a good hot dog today.
By Iđun Fire Charlie M, Becca, Nicole, Adam, Amy, Niamh, Iqra, Wil, Kieran, Zoë, Clare, Nick and Bel.

Poem from Dangoor Infinity 20/08/2019

Hello my name is Hoor
And I am on the sea
If you want to know about sickness
Then come and talk to me

The sea is rough and bumpy
Throughout the day and night
The cooks make delicious food
But you can’t take a bite

Your head is in a bag
As time passes by
And after 24 hours
You will definitely want to die

We have found some whales floating
Floating on the sea
And this has made us happy
As happy as can be

Climbing up the rigging
Is really really fun
When you see the view from the top
You would probably want to run

Now it’s time to sign off
From the Aft starboard team
So farewell and goodbye
As we have decks to clean 

Dangoor Infinity update 19/08/2019
Cold here today but drier, with a few light showers. Weak sunshine and some rainbows. Both Fires out of Base Camp. Sol Fire heading to the waterfalls. Lounn Fire now known as Iden (the former spelling is a corruption of the Icelandic name) are headed south. Askja has been ruled out as a destination because of the amount of snow and the lack of drinking water near the mountain. Streams there have dried up, even as we watched them last week! Elsewhere water is not an issue. The ptarmigan chicks are now flying, Merlin and a gyrfalcon also sighted along with many geese. – Base Camp update 

Dangoor Infinity update 18/08/2019
Three days ago, the two sides of the expedition briefly met as we switched over from land to ship. The next afternoon we set sail. Almost immediately some people began to feel the sea sickness. Last night the midnight watch got to see the Northern Lights for about 20 seconds before they disappeared. Pulling ropes on the ship is my favourite thing to do so far, but eating food that hasn't been freeze-dried is a close second.

Additional update from Roland Arnison, BES Leader on board Tenacious: After some challenging adventures in the remote wildlands of northern Iceland, the good folk of Hoor and Skuld Fires have joined forces to become a lean mean sailing machine aboard the good ship Tenacious. Battling sea sickness and fatigue, while also suffering the warm bunks, hot showers and excellent food, we have tamed the mighty Tenacious and are now forging our way south through the wild empty seas of the north Atlantic, our only company the acrobatic fulmars dancing above the waves to port and starboard. Day, and night we work, and Scotland beckons, a long, long way beyond the horizon. 

Dangoor Infinity 15/08/2019
Smashed out a 22km trek home across the lava fields from Askja. Finished the trekking phase with a 30km walk to the wondrous waterfalls of Ullafoss and Alderjayfoss. In under a day we will be setting sail. 

Amazon update 15/08/2019
Bullet Fire are off on a major trek: 8 nights on the trail. they leave in good spirits having dined on pizza cooked in the clay oven they built in camp; next task Jaffa cakes. The Trainee Leaders are off too, on their greatest mission yet and they hope to stay in their hammocks. Later they will run their own mini expedition and sleep out solo.

Dangoor Infinity update 15/08/2019
Today is the 12th day of our expedition. We are currently preparing to dock into Reykjavik. It has been an eventful day in which we swam in Icelandic waters. The temperature was 10 degrees, but it felt like it was sub-zero. It did not put any of us off despite many of the permanent crew telling us that we were mad! This experience was rather terrifying, yet it was the highlight of the day.

We have all had our kit checked and are packing ready to continue our expedition. We have been told that we will not have any shore leave today. Later we will dock and go through immigration leaving little time for much else. We have braced the yards and put up some of the sails so we set sail. However, we later took them down as we were going too fast. We are all very much looking forward to stepping on dry land again (as dry land does not move or splash us!). - Dictated by Renee, typed and added to by Niamh

Dangoor Infinity update 14/08/2019
Passing through Base Camp for resupplies two days ago we realised it has been almost a week since we left for our expedition. In that time we have navigated our way through lava fields, camped on black sands, climbed halfway up a volcano, eaten hot dogs in the mist and walked on and on through rain and wind.

That's just the surface story. Underneath all that we've dug deep to find inner strengths to carry on. We've been challenged to consider others before ourselves and we have laughed and laughed until we can laugh no more. Skuld Fire is a flame with spirit, friendship and fierce determination. 

Himalaya update 14/08/2019
Enjoying our time in Zara. Had a fantastic and adventurous second tour. Looking foward to attempting another summit in the near future. 

Dangoor Infinity update 13/08/2019
During this watch we are looking at a view of the lovely surroundings of the mountains and sea. We spent last night at anchor near Reykjavik, a couple of the Young Explorers set up a fishing rod at the aft of the ship but sadly did not catch anything. Today we were celebrating one of the permanent crew's birthday and chef Ian made him a delicious chocolate cake. One of the Young Explorer's quote of the day is 'Up the top of the mast is like a seesaw.' – By Becca

The views coming into Iceland have been utterly amazing and I have never seen anything like it. Now that we're coming to the end of the boat phase I'm trying to enjoy all the moments I can, even the midnight to 4am watches. – By Charlie Batten

Dangoor Infinity update 12/08/2019
Waves are weird, one minute you'll be watching them rock and roll and you'll feel at peace with the whole universe. You'll just stare, mesmerised! However, in a matter of seconds the ocean can become a churning monster; storming towards you. Your heart is pounding. It's all consuming. But then. Everything changes again! – By Roesie

Dangoor Next Generation Iceland 12/08/2019
Team DNG have packed up Basecamp and will be leaving base camp on route to Myvatn campsite ready for their final night. Both Fires are out on a 15km hike. The Fires and Basecamp team will have an evening of celebration and wash up. During the final day tomorrow, teams will wash up, reflect and will also be able to explore the lava fields in the local area.

Landmark Saimaa Lakes, Finland 12/08/2019
The team all well at Wild Canoe camp in Anttola. The sun is now shining ready for their departure in the canoes. Heavy downpours last night. All participants are well, positive and in good spirit. The team are setting off shortly in the canoes. The weather was poor yesterday, so they weren't able to get on the water for practice.

Himalaya update 12/08/2019
Shan Fire Made pizza and played French cricket at 4800m. On tour 2, aiming for 5600m peak. Picas provide constant entertainment. Found more tinned cheese!

Dangoor Infinity update 11/08/2019
This is day nine of the Dangoor Infinity expedition. We spent a lot of yesterday inside due to the strong northern wind. It is still very choppy and we can see the Snaefelljokull mount on the west coast of Iceland two points starboard off the bow (right hand of the ship). There have been many birds circling the ship for days now and we also had a new voyage crew member whilst on watch last night. A Tern was on the stern. The weather has calmed since yesterday but is due to increase in wind speed. We hope to reach the Fjord of Akureyri in around six days. By - Amy and Adam

Dangoor Next Generation Iceland 11/08/2019
It would be so very easy to say these past few weeks have been eventful, causing me to feel tired, fed up and most of all exhausted. However, it has also helped me to prove to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. Without a doubt, some days were harder than others but with the support of my team members I easily managed to pull through making every second of this trip worth it. The first week I didn't stop crying or moaning that I wanted to go home, yet now I don't even want to leave; this has most definitely been the experience of a lifetime. And one that I don't want to end. - Explorer, Dragon Fire

Himalaya update 10/08/2019
Off on an expedition tomorrow for seven days to follow river to its source. Previously walked on snow this week. Lots of wildlife seen. Spagbol for tea tonight.

Dangoor Infinity update 10/08/2019
Today is the 8th day of expedition in which we are continuing to sail to Iceland. With it brings the gentle kiss of sea spray and the hopes of a glimpse into the Arctic Circle. 

The day started with a reasonably calm sea and then came forth the gradual introduction of waves of a moderate height of 2-3m. This urged nearby birds to seek shelter alongside the ship seemingly joining us in our voyage. Amongst these were Fulmars, Skuas, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Puffins, and Guillemots in large flocks. This was one of those experiences that transports you to a mystical realm.

It should be noted that while I am writing this, my hands are freezing and the ship is pitching a lot. But alas! It is such experiences that grow you as a person and stick with you for a lifetime. Therefore, the freezer like temperatures enveloping the ship are worth it absolutely. – By Renee, Young Explorer, Fire Sol

Landmark Saimaa Lakes, Finland update 10/08/2019
All safely arrived at Wild Canoe and putting up tents in the evening sunshine! Tired but excited. All good here.

Dangoor Infinity update 08/08/2019
Last night we had a good nights sleep, well, sort of, the waves never know when to stop slapping. Also, Josh's very excitable wake-up call didn't seem to balance out Charlies' monotonous call on the sighting of some whales. Besides from that it's quite interesting, we put down some of the sails, had a talk about sails, tried to remember all the low frequency jargon, just been told we've another one coming - sextants! which is an instrument used to measure the angle between the horizon and a heavenly body, for example, stars.

Onto bigger priorities, the cheese and ham toasties for lunch were quite frankly delicious. Chef Ian puts Gordan Ramsay to shame. Becca decided to have Weetabix for her tea yesterday as we've discovered life on ship is what you make it and cereal before bed seemed like the right thing to do. Kieran and Becca climbed to the top of the main mast which is very impressive. We're currently on our first watch of the day, the sun is looking beautiful with an extraordinary view of the sea that we'll never tire of looking at. Safe to say we are all very much enjoying our time on the ship and looking forward to reaching Iceland. By Iqra, Kieran, Becca & Charlie....+ Graham 

Peruvian Amazon update 08/08/2019
All Fires are enjoying a rest day today, that said the team are looking forward to a change of pace in the following days, with a lot of activities planned, including Tours and Elective activities for all Fires.

Dangoor Infinity update 07/08/2019
This is day 5 of the Dangoor Infinity Expedition. We have just passed the Faroe Islands and are in Danish waters. We had a late-night watch last night and the wind was gusting at 28 knots. This meant we had to take the T’gallant sail down which was very hard work. Today the wind is not to strong and we are having a pleasant sail. The T’gallant has been put back up. Only one person has been sea sick today so far. The food on board is very tasty and we are all having loads of pudding (especially the sticky toffee pudding)! The dolphins that we saw yesterday have not returned ☹.

However, there are plenty of birds to keep us company.

Watch duty is becoming very repetitive with the occasional fishing boat and ferry sighting becoming ever more exciting. From Aft Starboard Watch: Amy, Niamh, Wil, Elizabeth, and Adam

Dangoor Infinity update 06/08/2019
Skuld Fire: Arriving at the airport the wait was finally over, or so we thought. We soon came to the realisation that ahead of us was another long coach journey. Though the ride at first was nerve wracking, surrounded by people I didn't know, by the end of the 8 hours we had bonded through a multitude of games. We were united in our quest to explore the Icelandic wilderness.

Quote of the day "Over the edge..... over again" Eager to take on the unknown world.

Tomorrow we set off on our 9 day journey to the Askja volcano - it should be a nice climb weather permitting.

Hoor Fire: Today we began out intrepid adventure. We meandered upstream to a small outpost called Botni hut before the challenge of crossing the lava field. We navigated the alien landscape to our camp, pitching tents on sand which required ingenuity and rocks.

Fire Sol: On Tuesday 6th August 2019, I woke up at 8am and went down to the lower mess. Afterwards we had a watch meeting with Peter, Nando, Rebecca, Mike, Charlie, Renee and Josh. After the meeting we went to get our harnesses on to climb the mast and out along the yards. Afterwards we had a hot chocolate and two chocolate cookies.

At 11.50am we had a delicious lunch of pasta made by Ian, the cook. At 12.30pm we went upstairs to the bridge and switched with the other watch and with help from Rebecca I took over helming/steering the boat which was incredible fun. We have travelled 308 miles since leaving Leith Harbour and we have 9 sails up and have been sailing for 3 days. - By Nicole Marsland-Smith

Enjoying the trip so far, food is delicious which we did not expect, and liking the people. The best part of the day is playing cards. I am now starting to enjoy the watches. - By Charlie Batten 

Canadian Yukon update 06/08/2019
Fire 4 out exploring near Mt Cameron. Eating bilberries and cooking up ration packs.

Canadian Yukon update 05/08/2019
Fire 4 reached the Mount Cameron ridge and intend to explore over into the adjacent valley system. Back in Basecamp at some point over the next few days (dependent on how much further basecamp can get food stocks tomorrow).

Fire 3 are spending their third night up around Ramblers Hill. Back in Basecamp tomorrow. Fires 1 and 2 are circumnavigating Lake Ladue in opposite directions and aim to meet for a fire together tomorrow evening. Back in Basecamp Wednesday. Fire 5 safe and well - camping for 2 nights.

Dangoor Infinity update 04/08/2019
We’re off! The Dangoor Infinity 2019 expedition to Iceland is underway. Sailing aboard SV Tenacious is a team of 47 drawn from the British Exploring Society and the Jubilee Sailing Trust. We’re a combination of mixed-ability Young Explorers, Leaders, Watch Leaders, Volunteer Crew and Permanent Crew.
We’re sailing a tall ship (Tenacious) to Iceland, to swap places with a team that’s been trekking for two weeks on land. At time of writing, we are just west of the Isle of May, 27 nautical miles out of Edinburgh. We are beyond excited (who wouldn’t be!). So far, we’ve stood watches, steered the ship, acted as lookouts and braced the yards. And we’ve seen puffins, seals, gannets, cormorants and a lot of gulls. Here’s what some of Lounn Fire (Aft Port Watch) have to say about things so far…

”Fun, but feeling a bit queasy!”
“Fun, and NOT not feeling queasy!!”
“I haven’t eaten this much food in ages”
“It’s spectacular – I don’t know exactly where we are, but it’s beautiful”
“Everyone’s in wellies”
“Not enough puffins yet”
“Light winds, calm seas, a fantastic team and adventures ahead – who could ask for more?!”

Canadian Yukon update 04/08/2019
Fires 3,4 and 5 all out exploring and have reported safe and well. Fires 1 and 2 in Basecamp for a rest day after being out on Ramblers Hill and Lake Mcquesten respectively. The next few days are very busy out and about but Basecamp is beginning to think about the close down in a weeks time. 

Indian Himalaya update 03/08/2019
Fire Changu have been hitting 5000m peaks, spotting wild horses and surrounded by awesome views everywhere. Spirits high. 

Peruvian Amazon update 01/08/2019
All Young Explorers are well and Fires (groups) are heading home from their first tour. The Basecamp Team have made them chocolate cakes to welcome them back from the wild. They have seen lots of wildlife, including monkeys swinging overhead in the trees, dolphins, snakes and mosquitos. Tomorrow, 2nd August, the team will have a rest day back at basecamp before they head off for a 4 day tour, with teams planning to explore south of basecamp and around the cocha.

Indian Himalaya update 01/08/2019
Following their long journey from Leh, the team have arrived safety at basecamp

Canadian Yukon update 31/07/2019
The Yukon Land Teams have had a good first couple of days up at basecamp, wild swimming in the lake and completing some skills training before heading up into the hills. Over the next couple of days the teams will begin recce missions to look for suitable paths for future tours as well as completing heavy metal surveying.

The Paddle team have started their journey down the river!

Indian Himalaya Update 31/07/2019
Shan Fire #tinnedcheeseaddicts. Flower gazing and star botany at 4200m. Geology is amazing!

The whole expedition team are currently in Rumtse as they continue their acclimatization phase on the approach to basecamp.

Yukon update - Neil Harvey, Basecamp Manager 26/07/2019
“All Young Explorer are well and have worked hard to get ready. They were interviewed today by Canadian Broadcasting Channel (CBC) with a piece to camera and a radio interview which should have gone out tonight. We were also visited by the Chief of the local first nation community who presented us some of the history and traditions.”

Update: Listen to the interview by clicking here.
Neil Harvey, Basecamp Manager, refers to wildfires in his section. Subsequent to interview, Neil and Chief Leader Ian were pleased to confirm that wildfire no longer poses a threat to our basecamp area.

HQ Office Team update 26/07/2019
We have had messages through from our Yukon, Amazon and Dangoor Next Generation Iceland teams confirming that they have arrived safely in country. 

HQ Office Team update 24/07/2019
Our Yukon, Amazon and Dangoor Next Generation Iceland expedition parties are all travelling from London airports today. All teams checked in and in the air. 

Himalaya update - Ben Sullivan, Media Leader 23/07/2019
Eating, sleeping and acclimatising. After a long journey, our Explorers were able to catch a few hours sleep before lunch today - a much needed rest. This afternoon we've been taking things slow with a few workshops and sessions about our weeks ahead. It'll be an early night for all.

Office team update: 19/07/2019
Our summer expedition season is now underway! Advanced parties for our Himalaya, Iceland, Yukon and Amazon expeditions have arrived safely in country, with the majority of expedition teams travelling in the next week.

Image – Whitehorse sunrise by Neil Harvey, Base Camp Manager, Yukon 2019

<November 2019>