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A one-of-a-kind route to Antarctica

A one-of-a-kind route to Antarctica

Water got in after the silicone seals separated from the holes where the cables ran from the bow to the stern. To patch the holes, he had to remove the cables that fed the systems that measured water temperature, depth and wind speed.

For 12 days he sailed towards the northeast, increasingly limited by damaged navigation systems. By the time de la Rosa arrived in South Georgia, he had covered 2,380 km in 26 days through the roughest seas on the planet. He has covered almost twice the distance that Shackleton faced from Elephant Island to South Georgia and is even more in awe of the 1916 feat than before.

“With Shackleton’s boat, it would be brutal,” de la Rosa told me. “It must have been a terrifying journey.”

The White Continent continues to draw people south, despite the dangers. According to the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO), 73,670 people visited Antarctica on cruise ships in the 2019-2020 season. They estimate that the 2022-2023 season could return to pre-pandemic levels.

Even with tens of thousands of people visiting the region, de la Rosa was happy to see no rejections on his oceanic expedition or in South Georgia. Dolphins occasionally followed him, and petrels sailed by, giving him quizzical looks.

“Even though people seem to leave our mark everywhere, I barely saw it here,” de la Rosa said. “It’s something we should be proud of and show the rest of the planet that it’s possible.”

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