Expedition Blog

2041 was founded by polar explorer, environmental leader and public speaker Robert Swan, OBE, the first person in history to walk to both the North and South Poles. Swan has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica by the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change.

International Antarctic Expedition 2016

The International Antarctic Expedition 2016 will be an exhilarating and unpredictable adventure, and a life-changing experience for the international group of men and women joining Robert Swan and the 2041 Team to the last great wilderness on earth. The following itinerary outlines a typical daily program you can expect on a 2041 Expedition, with examples of Antarctic locations and sights we may visit along the way.

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Surrounded by Ocean - Cross the Drake Passage!

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Day 1 at sea.
After entering the Drake Passage in the middle of the night we woke up this morning to be surrounded by ocean, no land in sight.

Graced by calm conditions so far with swells of around 4 metres, the team attended lectures on Glaciology, the history of Antarctica and penguins, as well as heading out on deck to try and spot whales, a few of their air blows were even sighted on the horizon, now we have water, wind and whales, all we need is ice.

Some inspirational words from our IAE Team Member Othman who has joined us from Kuwait

انا بحياتي ما كنت أدري عن مدى قوتي وتحملي. التجارب الي مريت فيها قوتني وعلمتني الصبر. واكثر شيء غير حياتي تجريبي مع أبوي. شفت العالم بمفهوم اخر.

الحياة ثمينة وما نحس في قيمتها الا لما تحوشنا صدمة. تعلمت أحب الحياة واستغل كل لحظه.

الواحد مهما كان صغير في الحجم ممكن انه يغير ويأثر في العالم. أبسط مثال الباخرة الي احنا فيها حجمها ولا شي بالنسبة للمحيط ولكن نرى أمواجها لمسفات طويلة.

حلو ان الواحد يتحدى نفسه ويواجه المصاعب ليتعلم اكثر.  الحياه  جمي

“I honestly did not know my own strength. Not too long ago… my father was diagnosed with leukemia. It was hard to say the least but I had the privilege of looking after him in the hospital for over a year. The experience I have been through made me who I am today. It opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on life.

We often take life for granted. We all breathe yet only a few actually live. I learned to cherish every second. I became stronger, wiser and more patient than ever.

As we cross the Drake Passage we still see the ripples miles away from our relatively small vessel in comparison to the massive ocean. Never underestimate our power to impact others.

The choices we make and risks we take shape us as individuals. I had to go out of my comfort zone when I decided to come on this expedition. Being away from the world standing on the deck looking out gives us a better perspective on where we stand.

Get out there challenge yourselves and believe its possible. We only get one chance at life so lets make it count! Share, listen, and learn always. Just remember everyday is a great day.”

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Most team members on board know Adrian "Jumper" Cross as the man who summons everyone in the morning with "wakey, wakey eggs and bakey!". But we sat down with our fearless expedition leader to learn more about how he got involved with 2041 and what he finds so magical about Antarctica.

He had a distinguished military record, and is a highly experienced, deep ocean sailor. He helped guide and facilitate, as a volunteer, the voyage of 2041. 220,000 nautical miles over 12 years and.

"He would appear as only jumper could, in really strange places unannounced to rescue the situation." - Robert Swan


What is your role on the expedition?

My role on the expedition is purely and simply, one thing and one thing only, get everyone down there and everyone back safe and sound and having had the most fantastic journey of their life.

What is your backround?

Born in Leicestershire, Ashby-De-La-Zouch, in a year I’m not willing to disclose.
I was educated in a small town school but due to limited opportunities at the age of 15 I decided to join the Royal Navy as an aircraft engineer. During that period I diversified into aircrew, worked on commando helicopters and specialized in training aircrew from all NATO forces in the Arctic on how to survive, as a part of mountain and arctic warfare cell, based in Bardufoss, in Northern Norway.

I had a spell as a 19 year old in the Falkland Islands, and sat on a beach one day looking south and said I’d go to the Antarctica, and it took me until I was 47 until I reached that goal.

I must have now spent a year on the ice counting all IAE’s together.

When did you first go with Rob?

First time was by yacht with Rob in 1997. Where we photographed the first 16 global warming indicator sites by yacht, and did some work on tidal counts.

You have a strong accent, some of the team members have asked what language you speak?

I speak Double Dutch, If anyone can understand my accent, they are very lucky, no one understands what I say, which is fine.

What is the most dangerous animal we will encounter?


Most of the animals in the Antarctic are not that dangerous, it is humans that are dangerous around the animals; most go about their own business and are not interested in what you’re doing.

We are in their world, we are the most dangerous animal down there, it’s their world.

We are in the middle of the Drake Passage, how many times have you made this crossing?

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve crossed the Drake, but with IAE I have done 25 trips, so that is 50 crossings, but I also spent some time in the 1970s, on a British ice patrol vessel in the area and the drake passage in particular, so I couldn’t tell you the exact figure to be honest.
It’s 550miles each way with IAE, so 25 time makes 27,500 miles in the Drake Passage.

What is your top safety tip?

1.If you’re standing still, you’re not going to get hurt, so if you listen to the professionals, before you move and act then life is perfectly safe.

What are your favorite locations in Antarctica

I have 2 favorite places in the Antarctic, Deception Island is one for some unknown reason; it is ice, volcanic, and still active, all the extremes of nature in one place, and I love it to bits. It has human involvement, historic importance for many reasons.

The next one is Paradise Bay, where I spent on a yacht several days, without any engine, no noise…total silence. I think Paradise is where in the middle of the summer season, to be sitting in a small rubber dinghy in the middle of paradise bay at 3am in the morning, is the first time in my life I learnt was silence was. There was no animal calls, not a breath, you could hear the blood pumping through your own veins, it the one place I’ve experienced total silence.

What is the biggest swell you have been in?

Today we’re experiencing a normal Drake Passage, on an old ship of ours, the Ushuaia, we were hit by a freak wave, it ripped a metal plate from the ship and moved it along the ship. That was the worst sea I’ve experienced in my life, was I scared, no, because I trusted the skipper, I trust the professionals around me, I have faith in the vessel and the quality of the people I work with. I wouldn’t be down here if I didn’t!

There are certain times in life where you know everything is perfect, the team, the ship, the crew the captain, it all comes together sometimes, and it’s important that you allow those people to do their jobs.

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Top Row - Matthias Malessa, Robert Swan, Nigel Paine Bottom Row - Chris Lambert, Don Kent, Xavier Riera-Palou

Today, after so much waiting; multiple years of it for some, we finally boarded the Ocean Endeavour, our new home for this incredible adventure. Before then we had the first series of lectures in Robert Swan’s “Leadership on the Edge” program, delivering a fantastic mixture of inspiration, environmental knowledge and Antarctic history.

Each speaker has a vastly different background and will continue to deliver their talks throughout the program as the expedition continues. We are very excited to have all of these highly accomplished individuals with us to help our team members develop in many areas. 

Matthias Malessa, founder of MMalessa Consulting and previously the chief human resources officer of the Adidas group. He will be focussing on Leadership and Inspiration

Nigel Paine, with his many years of experience in learning and development, promoting creativity and innovation will also be working with Team members on Leadership

Chris Lambert, a keen adventurist in Polar Regions, he is the current director of Westminster Energy. With his vast knowledge of climate policy and the Antarctic treaty, he will be helping
everyone develop their strategies for when they return home.

Xavier Riera-Palou is our Climate Change specialist, working at Royal Dutch Shell as their CO2 Strategy manager, he can provide great insight into the corporate perspective on climate change, and the very relevant business decisions and how they’re made.

Don Kent, an experienced grass-roots activist will focus on action, how to act on promises and commitments made during the expedition, difficulties that will arise, and methods to overcome them.

And of course Robert Swan, through his renowned stories from his adventures across the globe he will share the lessons he learnt on leadership and action, often the hard way.

Between these 6 speakers, we hope to end the expedition with our team members being fully inspired to lead, have a working knowledge of policy, government and business and be ready to take action towards creating measurable change. Inspiring others along the way.

Now we’ll hand over to two of our participants who have shared their experience of the day.

Ben Cullen Williams, 28 - London based Artist and Designer 

“Everyone was in one room after weeks of anticipation - the parts of the puzzle were beginning to clarify as the 2041 team took to the stage.  With all corners of the world represented, the cumulative effort of the congregation this far south crystalized - lets get sailing. 

As the team fought the wind on the march down the pier seeing the reality of the Antarctic was coming closer. The team photos with the boat as a backdrop were a unique moment of global flags, global faces, flattering hair, matching jumpers and photographers climbing up poles to get that perfect shot. The time to embark was here.”


Avani Awasthee, 18 - Student at Flame University, Pune India 

“Today has been the most incredible day. All of us have been waiting for TODAY for the longest time. Its been 4 years and finally HERE I AM!!!

I am scared nervous, so happy, petrified - all mixed feelings. But that moment that the ship left, all of us on the deck together hooting and laughing, thats when I thought - It all comes down to this.  All those late nights, reading articles, raising funds, this is what I was waiting for. 

All kinds of people from different cultures and countries, 30 in total, it is such a pleasure to be here. To top it all off the thought of seeing the penguins, makes me so excited. 

All the speakers where so amazing and Rob speaking is always a pleasure listening to him. He had dinner at our table tonight and that is what made my day perfect. 

It’s so nice being here. I am desperately looking forward to tomorrow.”

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The ship left dock to an almighty cheer, emotions running high as so much work had finally paid off and the reality set in, we were headed south. Cruising out of the Beagle Channel, the team was all together on the top deck watching as Ushuaia faded into the background, the sun poking through a dramatic chorus of clouds. Our international team united, all here for the same reason.

Next stop Antarctica..


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Video Update : The Team Meets Robert Swan

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The Adventure Has Begun



The adventure has begun.

Team members have arrived with tales of long journeys, sleepless nights and the occasional lost bag. However these minor hardships evaporated when the reality of arriving in the most southerly city in the world, Ushuaia, kicked in. We watched the storms come and go over the Beagle Channel, named after the ship HMS Beagle during Darwin's hydrographic survey of the coasts of the southern part of South America from 1826 to 1830.

Today was a day of welcoming team members and final preparation. Robert Swan was on hand to settle any nerves and for some, finally put a face to the name of the man who gathered this international group together with his infectious energy and determination.

The team settled in, stretching their legs on hikes in the mountains behind the city or doing last minute equipment shopping. 

The storms came and went as we gazed out over the Beagle, rain blowing horizontally one minute only to be replaced by rainbows moments later. gering beauty here, we can only imagine what awaits us as we venture South.

Tomorrow the "Leadership on the Edge" program begins.

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