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 Adventurers present (mostly) and past

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Caro
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PostSubject: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Wed 25 Jan 2012, 20:15

How fortunate there is this section here; it allows me to pop in anything I happen to fancy. And what I fancy right now is to ask Nordmann what the reaction is to Jarle Andhoey's proposed trip to Antartica. This has become big news here as he left from Auckland recently apparently to make his way on a commemorative trip to honour the last lot of people who died while he trying to make his way to the South Pole. Some people find it more of a media and publicity stunt - we heard from the sister of one of the people who died last time. She was not praising, but I couldn't work where she lived - a British/South African, but they didn't say where they were speaking to her from. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6315949/Norwegian-adventurer-confirms-he-heading-to-Antarctica

I have heard people saying he has the right to follow in the footsteps of Amundsen but someone who travels often to the Antarctic said Amundsen took all safety precautions and this man isn't bothered by those or by environmental rules. And he is happy to call on rescuers when needed, putting them into danger.

What is the feeling in Norway about this, Nordmann? And were the early adventurers all that concerned with safety? They seemed to have to organised their own rescue operations more. I feel Shackleton, for instance, took a rather gung-ho attitude, for all that people say he never lost lives. (Three of his supply ship men died and the crew were starving most of the time.)

Caro
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Thu 26 Jan 2012, 17:30

Andhøy has received a lot of criticism here for both his insensitivity towards the relations of those who died on the Berserk (he wanted to make a few bucks immediately afterwards with the sale of a "documentary" about the doomed trip but which the TV network declined on grounds of public disquiet about the idea) and for his shameless self-promotion as an "explorer", which he most patently is not. The kinder estimation of him is that he is more on a par with an "extreme sports" star and that one shouldn't be expecting much by the way of intelligence or integrity from him.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Thu 26 Jan 2012, 19:26

Thanks for that, Nordmann. Right now on our radio they are talking to a friend/lawyer of Andhoey's who is trying to explain his motives kindly. Immigration NZ says they told him not to leave, but I don't know what authority they have to stop anyone leaving our shores. Maybe Maritime NZ does.

This man says there is no beacon on the boat.

Don't you think people like Shackleton were pretty self-promoting too, and we don't condemn them?

Caro.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Thu 26 Jan 2012, 19:46

I've never had much regard for Shackleton - at least not as much as recent literature concerning the man would infer that I should. However he was most certainly a man of his time, the time being one of courageous exploration closely connected to national prestige, and commanded great respect amongst his "regular" crews and comrades, some of whom were indeed qualified to be classed as true explorers in that they adopted a scientific and analytical approach to what they experienced. Some of the papers published by these people were cutting edge scientific research at the time, even if Shackleton's contribution (he was never an academic man) was limited.

He was justifiably forgotten after his death and it is only my generation and later for whom he has regained some significance. With regard to being a self-publicist, I would venture to say that he wasn't much of one, despite the publicity that he did undoubtedly enjoy in his time, and in fact if he had been might have avoided the crippling debts which accrued throughout his life.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Thu 26 Jan 2012, 20:19

I haven't read any of the books on Shackleton's voyages themselves that people seem to enjoy so much and make for a lot of respect for him. But a couple of years ago I read Polar Castaways by RE McElrea and D Harrowfield which was about the supply ship for the 1915 - 18 expedition. The whole business seemed very poorly organised with quite random choices made for the crew by Shackleton. People say Shackleton's voyages left no one dead, but three of these men died, the very attractive (at least from the photo) but perhaps not perfect captain, Aeneas Macintosh, the lovely chaplain/priest, and another man. It was a dreadful trip and they had to eat seals, which apparently are not very appetising at first taste, but become more so when you are starving. They had to ignore food which was in the depots as they were for Shackleton and his crew.

It left me feeling a little sour towards Shackleton, and I suppose I should more about his exploits to get a more balanced view.

Oddly, a bit after I read this, I was doing some family research on behalf of our museum and one request was from David Harrowfield, one of the authors.

Caro.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Thu 26 Jan 2012, 20:45

On the other hand Shackleton's determination, courage and sheer endurance (pardon the pun) undoubtedly saved the lives of all the men marooned on Elephant Island in 1915. Many others in his position might have given up - the odds of reaching South Georgia in a dinghy were considerable, let alone the odds of then traversing the island as they must do when they arrived. The three fatalities you mentioned were crewmen of the Aurora and the mishaps which plagued the Ross Sea Party based on that ship could not be solely attributed to Shackleton. McKenzie must also be criticised for his part in the recruitment process, as well of course for letting his ship break anchor. Poor judgement was evident in both cases. But even then it should be remembered that they fulfilled their mission nonetheless, despite the horrendous ordeal to which they were subjected.

The question of provisions was not quite what you infer. They had recourse to provisions from earlier expeditions, as well as seal meat. It was generally agreed that this should suffice for as long as possible since to eat Shackleton's provisions intended for the depots that they were setting up might not do them much more good in the long run but would certainly doom any expedition mounted by Shackleton to starvation. Since they had no way to communicate their success or failure to the outside world they felt obliged to at least strive for success and hope the day did not come when they must fall back on depot food. In that they were proved prudent and correct also (even if, ironically, the anticipated expedition which would use half of the depots laid never materialised in the end).
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Fri 27 Jan 2012, 05:01

It's three years since I read this, and I might not have understood all the technical bits anyway. But I still am not sure I would agree with your last sentence - I can't remember what killed Aeneas Macintosh, but the later two were basically starved to death, or at least ill because of a lack of food. They died not too long before getting back, so perhaps a bit of depot food might have helped.

I have found something I wrote about this book I read (someone must have been talking about Shackleton), still well after the event. I must have written something at the time, but I can't see that.

Last year I read Polar Castaways by NZers David Harrowfield and Richard McElrea, and while it is true that Shackleton and his actual party all got back safely, three men on this ship sent to lay supplies died doing this work. I felt reading this, too, that Shackleton had not been the best of planners - he seemed to appoint people to positions on the ship pretty much on a whim.

But I do think all this was in the spirit of the times - the ideal of the courageous, enterprising amateur was very strong in the British psyche, I think. I do not know what the situation in Norway was like, whether it was the same and Amundsen was an exception, or whether he was typical of people there.

None of this takes away from the courage and sacrifice of the men who took part and who were often in desperate straits and carried on. Somehow the authors managed (without giving a lot of analysis of character and personality) to make most sympathetic two of the men who didn't make it back.


The authors were quite critical of Macintosh; he made wrong decisions and I think didn't get on with everyone, but he was very beautiful and he had a wife and I think children, so it is sad to see people like that die. That is a little shallow, I know. I can't find the lovely photo of him they used.

Caro.




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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Fri 27 Jan 2012, 08:42

I think you missed the point about the supply-laying. If they didn't establish the depots then they were condemning their colleagues - of whom they knew nothing concerning their own difficulties - to a certain death in the future. That is why they avoided at all costs eating the depot-destined provisions. There was also a possibility that an overland Shackleton expedition could later prove their own salvation if they could hang on long enough. Then it would be vital that there were provisions enough for both parties should it occur. That is why they still carried out their mission, even after losing their ship, and why they switched to survival rations so early. It was a long-term strategy, and an intelligent one, even if it cost the lives of some men - two of whom died in fact because their anticipated excursion.of two months turned into six and their own personal provisions didn't last that long. They didn't have access even to the meagre Ross Sea Party rations, let alone the Shackleton rations once they had established the depot which had been the reason for the excursion. Their delay due to hideous weather on the way back was the crucial factor in their deaths.

There was much to be faulted regarding Shackleton's methods and plans, and those of his lieutenants. But an honourable commitment to duty as they perceived it was not one of them. Neither was courage in the face of extreme adversity.

These were men who took risks which they fully understood, and in the end were forced to take some estraordinary risks of which an understanding would only confirm the imminence of their own deaths. Yet they took them, and eventually succeeded in their own rescue. It was Apollo 13 stuff, and an incredible achievement which people of lesser courage, integrity or loyalty to their colleagues could never have achieved.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Fri 27 Jan 2012, 09:57

I think I did understand that, though I'm not sure I remembered them thinking an overland expedition of Shackleton's might save them. I've forgotten lots of the specifics and haven't read generally about Shackleton's trips.

I don't think all the men fully understood the risks they were about to take when they set out; some of them were seasoned explorers but some of them were like the young men off to WWI, expecting a nice adventure, but not really prepared for the absolute realities they would find. And there were some quite young men chosen or offering. One or two of them (the first cook, I seem to remember) lost their minds, or at least suffered badly from depression or some mental illness. I don't think he died - what happened to him?

But I write as a person of lesser courage (or more accurately of no courage at all), not to mention lots lesser fitness, so this sort of behaviour is foreign to me and its effects at times quite distressing. And I live in an era when modern adventures like this tend to be thought of as self-indulgent rather than potentially useful. (Well, it's hard to see what is useful about Mr Andhoy's trip and lots of these other round-the-world sailing, beyond self improvement or some sort of pilgrimage.)

Thanks for your patience, anyway, Nordmann.

Caro.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Fri 27 Jan 2012, 15:35

Well, Amundsen wasn't alone of course - he was following in the footsteps of Nansen (indeed, he was using Nansen's specialist vessel, the Fram) and there were a number of other Norwegian explorers at that time, so perhaps they were better prepared, both physically and mentally.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Fri 27 Jan 2012, 20:02

Thanks for that, Gil (Ian/Urn/Url - what do you want to be called here?).

Caro.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Fri 27 Jan 2012, 20:07

Gil or Ian will do Caro - just don't call me late for dinner, as the old, unfunny, joke has it.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Fri 27 Jan 2012, 20:30

My kids are here at the moment and watch different television from us, so they had Graham Norton on, and it was full of old unfunny jokes. My husband doesn't like it because of something I manage not to know exists - a blue room, or red room or some such thing?

What is this topic? Nothing comic anyway.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Fri 27 Jan 2012, 21:25

If it's Graham Norton, I am glad to say I know nothing about it. As you say, not funny at all in my view.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Sat 28 Jan 2012, 00:59

Slight problem already with Mr Andhoey's trip. He has managed to pick up an unwilling passenger - a Kiwi working on his boat wasn't noticed when they left in a hurry. He hasn't a passport with him, and probably does have an employer wanting him at work and a family who expected him home after his day's work.

There isn't an emergency beacon on board because he doesn't want other people's lives put at risk. Kiwi 'stowaway' might have different thoughts about this, but I suppose some boat will go and get him. Newspaper headline is happy to judge this journey, I note.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6329044/NZer-unplanned-crew-member-on-rogue-boat
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Sat 31 Mar 2012, 18:04

@Caro wrote:

I have heard people saying he has the right to follow in the footsteps of Amundsen but someone who travels often to the Antarctic said Amundsen took all safety precautions and this man isn't bothered by those or by environmental rules. And he is happy to call on rescuers when needed, putting them into danger.


Caro
Caro, That remins me of an incident when I was walking in Northumberland - not quite comparable to amundsen, I'll admit.

My cousin and I had walked from Hexham to Kielder, and through Kielder Forest to Byrness ,which is at the start of the last stage of the Pennine Way leading over Cheviot to Kirk Yetholm. Since it was November we had listened to the forecast and decided it was too dodgy to go to KY and we'd take the bus back to Newcastle in time for a pint before the pubs shut at lunch-time (it was a few years ago).

That evening we were in the pub and had been talking to a couple of farmers and shepherds who agrred it wouldn't be too good the next day. Then in trooped a crowd from the Youth Hostel talking about going over the top the next day. One of the farmers said not to worry, if they got into difficulty they would come up to find them.

Would you really do that ? they said.

Oh Aye said the farmer, we'll come and look for you.

In June.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Sat 31 Mar 2012, 18:09

If it's like the areas I know best, that's fine and dandy - as long as they stick to the planned itinerary. It's once they get off their known route that finding them can become more of a problem.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Sat 31 Mar 2012, 21:38

Foreign people (by which I think I might mean the English, or perhaps Germans or Israelis most) tend to assume tramping/walking here will be like their homeland and it's not. It's remote and mountainous and the weather is very changeable and there is nowhere over the next hill to go and get food and cell-phone coverage is poor. So Search and Rescue are often having to rescue people who didn't take note of advice or didn't even leave details. They have to rescue plenty of NZers, too, of course, who do equally silly things and with less excuse. And perfectly well prepared people have accidents or illnesses.

On smaller walks it can be more difficult - a couple of times people have come into the information centre when I've been there and wanted to leave their details in case they get lost or don't return on day walks. One was a school group who left their phone number and said they'd be back well before we closed but if they weren't... They weren't and I couldn't contact them, and I spent several hours trying to find someone who knew where they were and wondering if S&R should be called etc. Finally found someone connected with the school and they said they just got back late. I learnt a little from this and when three young men said they wanted to know someone was taking notice of them, I gave them my number and the info centre and got all theirs. And they did phone back a few days later to say they were fine. We don't have a good system for this in my town. There's no good people leaving their details if they are just ignored later.

I wasn't quite right, I think, with some of the details of Mr Andhoey. He has said he won't be calling on help if he gets into trouble, and it seems the stowaway probably went willingly. We hear the odd thing about his trip, but he is very unhappy with NZ and its authorities. Says they forced him out to sea when it was unsafe. They say they didn't.
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PostSubject: Re: Adventurers present (mostly) and past   Sun 01 Apr 2012, 21:33

That's odd. Having heard nothing of Mr Andhoey for weeks he led the news this morning. They have been arrested by armed navy people in Chile. He hadn't seen paper work but said it was at the behest of New Zealand. The ministry of whatever didn't comment exactly on this but said Chile was aware of NZ's concerns, so I take that to mean he's right. They are confined to the boat with armed guards, a Chilean authority person has said.

They were apparently heading to Argentina by boat and then flying to their various homes. Without finding the Berserk.
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