Category Archives: Travel

Update from the boat

We are now 5 days out of Cape Town, we’ve been travelling on a south easterly path and have travelled 1100 km’s(check our position from the site noted in my previous post).

The enormity of the southern ocean is really making an impression on me.  When I first read the statistic that 71% of the earth surface is covered in water I was surprised at how high that level was – now I understand it!

Whichever way I look, and for as far as I can sea there is nothing but ocean swell after ocean swell and then I realise that there is water below us to a depth of 4.5km’s as well.

We are now approx. half of the way to Heard Island – the crew have estimated that we have another 6 days of travel at 10 knots before we make Heard Island!
Our daily routine is simple (and repetitive) –
7am – breakfast
midday- lunch
7pm  – dinner

and between these fixed markers your time is your own, but there’s a limited opportunity when you are on a small boat in the southern ocean.  I’ve become reasonably proficient at sudoku, caught up on sleep, and put more sleep in the sleep bank and read several novels from the library.  For me this is a huge challenge, I like to be on the move doing “things”, here there ‘s limited new “things” to do.

But I can’t complain – we have now almost completed crossing the “Roaring 40’s” and I’m reliably told by the crew that it’s been a “calm crossing “, it will be interesting to see what the “Furious Fifties” throw at us…
So for the next week on the boat it’s more of the same, although I’m expecting the conversation will turn to plans for landing on Heard Island, establishing base camp and getting the work programmes underway as we get closer to the island.

Heard Island Expedition Preparations Nearing Completion

Tomorrow we leave Cape Town for Heard Island.

The last 4 days have been a blur. Immediately on arrival in Cape Town it has been a busy period of time pulling last strands of this expedition together.

2016-03-06 13.24.44By the time I arrived the two air beam tents had been erected and were already the subject of much discussion.   They needed cleaning that was very obvious but how and by whom? Thankfully the decision was made to engage a commercial cleaning company. Looking back if we had tried to complete the full pressure wash and interior wipe down they completed for us we would never have achieved our planned departure day and time. As it was out team cleaned every metre of Velcro on the tents to make sure that there was no soil, or worse still seeds attached there.

All of the expedition equipment was emptied from the container that shipped from USA 2016-03-07 10.03.10onto the floor a warehouse floor at Victoria wharf.   All of the cases were opened, contents checked and then ordered on the floor in the reverse order required on Heard Island.   Everything is to be reverse loaded to the BraveHeart today.

Final shopping trips have been launched for all sorts of “last minute” requirements –

  • Gas cylinders for stoves, heaters and cook tops
  • Dehydrated food packs for the field team
  • (More) large stakes to anchor the radio antennas
  • Personal food items from the local supermarket


2016-03-09 14.03.23And this has been going on to with the backdrop of the Cape Towns public Port area. If you live in NZ , think Viaduct area Auckland, if you are in Australia, think Pyrmont Sydney. My first day in the city was on the day of the Argus bike race, the biggest organised bike race in the world. There are so many people in the area.

And with such a resource near by it has not been an unwelcome effort to “drop tools” and take a coffee or a lunch break at one of the many eatery’s in the area.

2016-03-09 20.00.42So today it’s final preparation, all equipment loads to the Braveheart, we get final details of the immigration requirements that we need to complete tomorrow and then one last walk around the port area that we have come to call “home” for the past 5 days.

The Storm Is Clearing, at Last!

Slightly off the travel and outdoor adventure theme but last week’s trip to Newcastle on the NSW coastline did not run to the script.  I was all for some sun and walking on the beaches, sprinkled with an occasional cafe lunch and coffee.

In the end my wife and I managed to time our trip to coincide with 3 days of almost continual wind and rain, and the end result – flooded roads, lot’s of time in the cafes reading newspapers and many cups of coffee.

On day three just as we were leaving to head back to Sydney the sun crept through and we achieved one short walk along the rock wall beyond Nobbys Lighthouse.  The light was awesome and I managed some good photos as the storm clouds were clearing and the wind was whipping the sand of the beach.

Take a look….





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Kathmandu – Thanks for your support!

KathmanduStore-18Thanks Kathmandu for supporting me on my Heard Island Adventure.  I’m excited to be a 2016 Summit Club Adventurer and looking forward to sharing my adventure with you.

In 3 months time I head deep into the Southern Ocean to one of the remotest locations in the world. I am one of very small field science team that will be on Heard Island collecting rocks for a geologist, counting plastic debris for the Tangaroa Blue, standing in cold glacier water to dredge for lagoon sediment, taking photos of the thousands of seals, albatross and penguins that inhabit the island and much more.

And just maybe I can find a previously unknown “something” that will be named after me?

On the 4 March I fly to Cape Town to prepare for departure, and the week long boat trip that is required to get us to Heard Island. Along the way we’ll engage in a bit of whale watching, drop some NOAA Drifter buoys overboard and generally prepare for what is going to genuinely be a once in a life time adventure.

LIKE my facebook page or register here on my blog page (click on the blue “follow TrackMyAdventures” button)to stay in touch with me as I complete my preparations and then set off for an extreme adventure in an extreme location!

Select the HEARD ISLAND EXPEDITION option from the menu bar above to get more information about the Heard Island Expedition.


Gavin Marshall