Join traveller Zay Harding on an epic adventure to the ends of the earth, from the southernmost tip of Argentina to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the South Shetland Islands, and on to Antarctica. He sails along the Antarctic Peninsula before returning all the way to Cape Horn in Chile.
Following in the footsteps of explorers, adventurers, and conservationists from Scott to Shackleton, Zay ice climbs, kayaks, camps and even plunges into the ice cold Antarctic waters. Along the way, he meets today’s pre-eminent scientists working in the field – like the British Antarctic Survey’s Jonathan Shanklin, the man who in 1984 discovered the hole in the earth’s ozone layer, and American biologist and global warming expert Jim McClintock.
Zay marvels at a stunning array of wildlife including killer whales, king penguins and weddell seals, albatrosses and giant petrels. It’s an unforgettable and humbling experience – it’s the trip of a lifetime.
We find Zay already in Antarctica at Cuverville Island. He is boarding 60 foot yacht The Spirit of Sydney, embarking on a journey like he has never before experienced. As well as his usual duties as presenter and traveller, Zay will be expected to work as the yacht’s crew!
After a peaceful first night in Paradise Harbour Zay wakes up to clear blue skies, the perfect day for sea kayaking. The only thing he hasn’t banked on is the first hand effects of global warming. Glacier’s calve, – or break off – in front of him every few minutes creating dangerous ocean swells. Next, he gets up close and personal with penguins, discovering that all you have to do is sit still and watch and their amazing daily ritual unfolds… An adult gentoo penguin chases off a hungry skua, chinstrap penguins routinely make a perilous trek up and down a steep and icy slope to find food.
Getting back onboard the yacht Zay sails on to the UK historic site Port Lockroy. It is here that he delves into the iconic story of Scott and Amundsen’s race to be the first to reach the South Pole.
Next up we visit Ukrainian science base Akademic Vernadsky and get a first hand glimpse into what life is like for scientists working in the Antarctic. In driving snow, Zay follows biologist Igor Dyky on field work studying the Weddell Seal.
Ice climbing is something you don’t want to get wrong in Antarctica but Zay attempts that next, with an assault on Mount Scott. Deep crevasses make the journey too hazardous to complete. Half way up the mountain, the weather closes in and Australian mountain guide Chris Jones falls waist high into a bottomless crevasse.
Zay’s last stop on the peninsula is at American science base Palmer Station where he meets leading biologist Jim McClintock. Jim reinforces our worst fears about global warming andexplains the plight of the Adélie Penguin, a species now under threat.
The final part of the programme is also the most challenging for Zay (and the crew!), as they sail over 1000kms from Antarctica and back to the South American mainland. Crossing the most perilous stretch of water in the world – Drake Passage – Zay learns what it is like to sail through a force 8 gale and be seasick for three days straight. It is little wonder that he is compelled to kiss the ground when he finally reaches dry land: Cape Horn.
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