Firstly the team of 20 British young explorers from BSES aged between 18 and 23 were dramatically rescued from HMS Endurance yesterday when it suffered mechanical failure off the coast of Chile.
The group made up of 13 young explorers and 7 leaders, members of the ‘Southern Endurance’ Expedition with youth development charity British Schools Exploring Society (BSES Expeditions), were airlifted to safety after a power failure left the ship incapacitated. The expedition had been onboard since the 9th December after returning from South Georgia, an island deep in the South Atlantic.
Secondly it had already been an exciting few weeks for the explorers having become some of the youngest people to have ever completed the notorious Shackleton Crossing in South Georgia. The crossing originally made famous by Ernest Shackleton in 1916 after a failed attempt to cross the Antarctic continent saw the group tackle crevasse riddled glaciers, high mountain passes and sub zero temperatures. The 30 mile journey, attempted by only a handful of explorers previously, is a daunting prospect for seasoned adventurers let alone 18 23 year olds, many of whom have little or no experience in this environment
Commenting - Paul Rose, Explorer, Broadcaster and Expedition Leader for the BBC2 and Discovery Oceans television series said “The Shackleton Crossing is another great expedition success from our young explorers. Well done! I encourage us all to get out there and "ground truth" our planet. It's especially important for the next generation to experience adventure and what better way than with the British Schools Exploring Society?” Commenting - Will Taunton-Burnet, Executive Director of BSES said “I am extremely pleased about the success of this expedition. It is amazing what such a young group can achieve when inspired and well led. It is activities like this that help to keep the British Schools Exploring Society at the forefront of youth development and exploration”
The charity’s aim is to help develop young explorers by pushing them both physically and mentally to achieve things they might otherwise not think possible. However, it seems the charity’s usual high standard of achievement on expeditions has been raised to even greater levels by these latest accomplishments.
Alongside this once in a lifetime achievement the group has also been conducting a range of scientific research projects on the Falkland Islands and South Georgia including surveying elephant and fur seals and investigating the populations of king penguins. The expedition had been made all the more unique as the group had travelled to and from these remote islands on the Royal Navy Ice breaker the HMS Endurance Patrol Vessel - a rare experience in itself.
The British Schools Exploring Society (BSES Expeditions) is a non-profit UK-based charity which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2007. Founded in 1932 by the late Surgeon Commander G Murray Levick, a member of Scott’s final Antarctic Expedition of 1910-13, the BSES is one of the longest running organisations of its type.
Based at The Royal Geographical Society in London, BSES Expeditions has provided opportunities for young people of all abilities between the ages of 16 and 23 to take part in adventure projects that involve science research in wilderness areas
The aim of BSES Expeditions is to help the personal and social development of young people, through the challenge of living and working in remote and demanding areas of the world.
Ernest Shackleton was a Polar explorer who became stranded in the Antarctic in 1915. He set out on a rescue mission to find help which took him to the Island of South Georgia. It was here that he attempted the now notorious Shackleton’s Crossing to reach the other side of the island. For more information please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Shackleton
BSES Expeditions will be running several expeditions like this throughout the year to Greenland, the Peruvian Amazon, Indian Himalaya and Arctic Norway. The spring of 2009 will see their next adventure - the ‘Extreme Arctic’ expedition depart for the frozen archipelago of Svalbard, arguably Europe’s last remaining true wilderness. Any young people inspired by this opportunity, brave enough to take on the challenge and keen to experience the adventure of a lifetime should see www.bses.org.uk for more details. The deadline for joining this exciting expedition is January 12th 2009 and there are still a few places available