At precisely 4.15pm, Swiss-South African adventurer Mike Horn cast off on his ice-breaker Pangaea (35m) from the quay in front of the Yacht Club de Monaco. Watched by his daughters Annika and Jessica who have supported him in preparing the project, his departure marks the start of his latest expedition, Pole2Pole.
The challenge: to circumnavigate the world via the two poles (direction South / North) in just two years, alternating sailing, skiing, kayaking and driving an all-terrain 4×4.
A first in adventure – 360o in two years
For the man famous for his extreme adventures, who will be 50 this year, the trip will be no cruise, but a bid to complete the circumnavigation in two years with the help of his partners, including Mercedes-Benz.
“Everything I undertake is a challenge,” acknowledges this conqueror of the impossible who admits to being a man like any other. “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.”
With 25 years of extreme adventures behind him, the explorer has one motto: discipline. And to cover the 42,000km of terrestrial adventure ahead of him, supported by Pangaea for the ocean legs, he’s going to need it in spades. From here he sails down to Namibia, then starts his crossing of the desert in a 4×4 before following in the wake of elephants on foot (“they know where the water is”), the African stage finishing in Cape Town where he was born.
Next stop Antarctica, where if all goes well he will be the first man to traverse this continent’s 7,000km 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 8,500km crossing in the North Pole region, before returning to Monaco in 2018.
Mike expects to arrive back in Monaco on 6th of May 2018: on the dot, like a Swiss watch.