RETURN TO 60° SOUTH
Ocean racer Nick Moloney fulfils a long held ambition to explore the deep south with a voyage to Antarctica
The dense silence is broken only by the sound of snowflakes landing on my protective clothing, as my eyes struggle to adjust to the landscape that surrounds me. It is so beautiful, so diverse, and so beyond anything that I have ever previously seen.
I am standing on the top of a small, low lying, snow capped island that is skirted by open ocean, islands and wide bays. Looking seaward, there is a cluster of huge icebergs that stretch north towards a horizon that’s now entering twilight. Below me lie wooden rowing boats, abandoned in 1915 and preserved under snow for the majority of the year but, for now, clearly exposed. These are small iceboats that originally serviced the whaling ship Governoren, which lies in the backdrop, wrecked in the shallows of Enterprise Island. Our yacht is tied alongside her decaying steel hull.
The Governoren’s fate was determined nine days after Shackleton’s famed Endurance was wrecked, when she was performing her duties around Foyn Harbour as a floating whaling factory. On this particular voyage, the crew threw a party, a lamp was knocked from a table and the ship caught fire. The Governoren was full of whale oil and the fire quickly grew out of control. The captain grounded the ship and all 85 crew escaped without injury, to be later rescued by another whaling vessel.
I’m standing in a place that I once promised myself to do all that I could to visit: I am in Antarctica.
Antarctica is the coldest, windiest and driest continent on Earth and these elements create