Mike Horn casts off from the Yacht Club de Monaco on his latest expedition, Pole2Pole, aiming to circumnavigate the world.
At 4:15pm on Sunday, 8th of May 2016, Swiss-South African adventurer Mike Horn and his trusty ice-breaker Pangaea weigh anchor in Monaco, at the start of a two year solo expedition, Pole2Pole. On the quayside are his daughters Annika and Jessica, who have supported him in the preparation of this awe-inspiring project.
The purpose of the Pole2Pole expedition is the circumnavigation of the globe, going from the South to the North Pole in the space of just two years, alternating between sailing, skiing, kayaking, and driving an all-terrain vehicle.
Horn, who turns 50 this year and is famous for his extreme adventures, admits that this trip will be no pleasure cruise. “Everything I undertake is a challenge,” he says. “But even when I have doubts, I am surrounded by people who support and believe in me, particularly my two daughters, Annika and Jessica. When you’re afraid of losing, that’s when you’re most likely to succeed.”
HSH Prince Albert II, a friend of Horn’s and with whom he had completed his Antarctica crossing in 2009, was amongst those to wish him well at the outset of this mammoth trek. Another much-travelled sailor, Philippe Poupon, was also on hand to see the Pangaea off. Poupon and his family have, over the last seven years, covered more than 120,000km between the North and South Poles, from the Arctic to Antarctic via Alaska and Polynesia aboard their sailing boat, Fleur Australe.
The Pole2Pole expedition will cover in the region of 42,000km over the two years. From Monaco, Mike sails down to Namibia, and then starts his crossing of the desert in a 4×4, before following in the wake of elephants on foot. The African stage finishes in Cape Town where he was born.
Next stop Antarctica, where if all goes well he will be the first man to traverse the 7,000 km expanse of this continent solo on skis aided by a kite, a leg he estimates will take him four months, before tackling the Pacific, Pakistan, the Himalayas and Japan. The expedition ends in Greenland with another 8,500 km crossing in the North Pole region, before returning to Monaco. Mike expects to arrive back in the Principality on 6th of May, 2018.
We wish him every success with Pole2Pole. See you back in Port Hercule in May 2018, Mike!
All photos courtesy Yacht Club de Monaco; lead image © Franck Solimeïs, all other photos © AFILC