yep yep yep

sailing from the Clyde riverThey are young and beautiful, and have decided to spend a few weeks on a sailing boat at the ends of the earth with the Young Explorers’ Program.

 

The idea seems simple, but not just anyone can become a YEP. You need to get through a selection camp held at the Oex Château in Switzerland (the Mike Horn Expedition Centre base camp). Here you pass between outdoor activities, initiations in survival techniques, sailing, photography and mountain raids. The verdict is delivered three weeks before the departure of the next expedition with Mike Horn on the Pangaea. The name symbolizes “the untouched world as it once was” according to Mike this is how we call a hypothetical super-continent that included all the landmasses of the earth before the Triassic Period 200 million years ago.

Here we meet a couple of elected team members who tell us of their thrilling experiences.

 

 

Hugo Clément 18 years old, from Chamonix, France

HKG : Which of Mike Horn’s expeditions did you participate in? When was it? What did you do there?

 

Hugo : From the 1st to 26th June 2010. During this incredible and unique expedition I experienced living at high altitude. We trekked for an entire month on the Baltoro glacier finally arriving at the summit of a virgin peak more than 6000 m high, that we named Pagaea Peak. This expedition showed us the beauty of this part of the world and we discovered a lot about our bodies and also how to function as a team in difficult psychological and physical conditions. We also took topographical studies of various mudslides along the slopes leading down to the trek departures. During our descent onto the glacier we collected rubbish from all the different base camps.

 

What was your motivation for wanting to become a part of this project?

 

Ever since I was young I have spent time in the mountains with my family, and I have recently started rock climbing and alpinism. Protecting the environment is one of my priorities. This project was and will remain my personal life’s philosophy.

 

How did you benefit from this experience?

 

This expedition has enabled me to learn how to live in a group in difficult conditions. I discovered many facts about the other YEPs and Mike Horn’s team who were with us, and also about myself. Meeting the locals was also very fascinating for the whole team and we learnt a lot. This expedition taught me a great deal about glaciers and this mountainous region. It opened my eyes and made me want to protect this unique beauty.

 

Do you have any exploration plans now?

 

I would love to travel around the world to discover other magnificent places and to share and make other youths aware worldwide. But I mustn’t forget my higher education studies that I’m doing which takes up a large part of my time.


 

Saraya D’Ath 16 years old, from Brisbane, Australia

 HKG : Which of Mike Horn’s expeditions did you participate in? When was it? What did you do there?

 

Saraya : I took part on the 7th Mike Horn Pangaea expedition to Kamchatka, which is the far Eastern Peninsula in Russia. This expedition was held in December 2010 for 3 weeks. Kamchatka is known as the land of fire and ice because of its 160 volcanoes and minus zero degree temperatures. The first part of the expedition took us on a hike to the geysers. The geysers periodically shoot hot water and steam hundreds of feet into the air and you become completely blinded for about 10 seconds, it’s incredible! It’s amazing to think that all this energy and power is a natural occurrence of the Earth and it is all happening right underneath our feet. We visited the Mutnovskaya geo thermal power station this power station is situated in the mountains to the south of the capital and supplies the city with 70% of all its power needs. Whilst in Kamchatka it was our responsibility to collect snow data for the University of Munich in Germany, we tested the snow temperature, analyzed the size and structure of the snow and its concentration of water, all the data collected would go towards a report study of Kamchatka’s climate, biodiversity, eco tourism, global warming, renewable energy and natural occurrences. Our next stop on the itinerary was dog sledding because we were there to advocate environmental protection we thought using these half huskies half wolves was the perfect combination to travel fast without polluting the environment. It was really interesting after spending nearly 7 days with your pack of dogs you formed a special bond with them. It was a two-way relationship. And the outside air temperature was about minus 35 degrees Celsius! Once we went to sleep we had to be very careful because if you slept for longer than 4 hours straight your extremities would start freezing off, so it was best to wake up every 2 to 3 hours and wriggle your fingers and toes to avoid getting frostbite! 

 

What was your motivation for wanting to become a part of this project?

 

I first read about the Young Explorers Program in an article published in an airline magazine in February 2010 at this stage I was still 14 years old and the age requirement was 15 to 20 years so the first expedition I was eligible to apply for was Russia. The first time I read the article I knew I would love to do – sailing, adventure and exploration and caring for the environment. I grew up sailing with my parents travelling across the Pacific Ocean and I was always taught not to throw rubbish on the ground because it ends up in the ocean. This program was just perfect for me as it was how I was brought up to live. My biggest motivation was the long-term sustainable message to preserve the environment, because the selection camp/expedition is to provide you with the understanding, respect and knowledge for the environment, then the ball is in your court.  The environment becomes our responsibility, we are provided with all the necessary resources and support to go home and ACT! This word ACT holds a very strong meaning in the Pangaea dictionary, meaning you have to open your eyes and look at your local community and identify what needs the most attention then begin to organise local act projects with the youth in your community.

 

How did you benefit from this experience?

 

The opportunities that these expeditions gave me were countless. Once I returned home from the selection camp I was so motivated and enthusiastic about the expedition that was coming up in 4 weeks, I was training and preparing myself to survive the cold Russian winter. I believe I grew as a person, the experiences I gained helped me to become much more independent from travelling alone to these foreign places. Through this I became an individual, I felt as though I didn’t need to rely on other people to help with my future projects, but if they did that was great! However if it wasn’t something they were interested in that’s fine too, not everyone is going to be the same and have the similar interests- we are all different. One of the most valuable benefits that come from the Pangaea expeditions is uniting the World’s younger generations, the young explorers that you meet on these expeditions are unique people who have a zest for adventure and a passion for the environment. Even though they live on the other side of the planet you know in your heart that they will support you. I believe that these young people have shared experiences with you that cannot compare to normal teenage life and each memory you have with them is special and one that should never be forgotten. 

 

Do you have any exploration plans now?

 

Since I returned home from the Pangaea expeditions I have never felt such an urgent need to protect and preserve the planet. I have conducted many projects here such as; clean up days, tree planting days, fundraising activities such as; cupcake and drink stalls, sock drive and wristband sales to raise money for the Young Explorers projects. I went to New Zealand to support Mike Horn’s Arktos film in the New Zealand Mountain Film Festival which was a great success as it won an award, I also set up a Pangaea promotional stall selling a canvas print from the Kamchatka expedition and distributing brochures and posters about the Young Explorers Program (YEP) and explaining Mike Horn’s mission. Currently we are working on an extension Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in Cairns in Northern Queensland.


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