Does anyone know who Trevor Robertson is? I stumbled upon this traveler's blog a long time ago, but only recently discovered that despite the fact that the American Cruiser Club awarded him the Blue Water Medal in 2009, he is not a very famous person. He himself did not popularize his incredible (extraordinary, crazy ... - choose your own epithet) trips, that is, he did not tell the general public anything about them, and only in 2011 he began to write a blog about the affairs of the past days. This post was written based on materials from hisha, a small part of it, in order to acquaint sail lovers with this man. But if English is not a problem, I recommend reading the original -Iron Bark "s travels . All photos are from there too.
Trevor Robertson. 1949 year of birth. Born in Africa, raised in Western Australia. An oil geologist by education, he worked on offshore drilling platforms. He started sailing at the age of 20. As he himself says, he always went - "when there was a boat and money for food." In 1976 he sailed on a 34 foot wooden sloop from Australia to East Africa via the islands of Rodrigues, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Then, around the Cape of Good Hope to Brazil and on to the Caribbean, where he was wrecked and lost his boat in 1978. For a couple of years he worked in the Caribbean in a charter companyai, then went back to work on the oil rigs to earn money for a new boat.
Having saved some money, I bought a dead IOR half-ton, 30 feet. He repaired it and in the period from 1985 to 1991 passed on it the traditional round-the-world trip in the trade winds. The boat got him not expensive and was cheap to operate. It had a 15 hp suspension as a motor. She maneuvered and controlled perfectly, so the engine was very rarely taken out of the locker.
The round-the-world trip, albeit on the simplest route, was not without adventures. Once the boat was laid down, the porthole was knocked out by a wave and it took on water above the level of the sofas in the cabin. Near Yemen, he was caught in the crossfire of the belligerents, and four months later, rusty streaks appeared on the sides of the boat from shrapnel stuck in them. He also survived a lightning strike, which disabled all the electrics. Fortunately, the latter consisted of two ceiling lights, a running tricolor and an echo sounder, and it was not difficult to restore it.
Upon his return from the circumnavigation, he sold a half-ton and began building his current boat, the Iron Bark.
The name Iron Bark comes from the name of a very hard-barked eucalyptus species native to Australia. The boat project is Wilo 2, a steel gaff tender, 35ft, designed by Nick Skeates. Iron Bark was launched in 1997. It would seem that a person has a boat, there are some means - sail yourself to the warm seas and enjoy life. But the strange Australian went straight from New Zealand to Antarctica. Sailing on a small sailboat to the ice continent can already be the adventure of a lifetime. But Trevor did not think at allswarming...
... after spending the summer in Antarctica, he stayed there for the winter. Alone, in a small boat, no sponsors, no fanfare, no additional supplies of food and fuel - only what he took on board in New Zealand. He also did not take the radio on purpose, because he did not feel the moral right to ask for help and endanger someone's life. And he didn't die. Moreover, after the polar winter, he spent the whole summer in Antarctica and, only when the ocean began to freeze again, he went north, to the tropics. But not for long. He has two more winterings in Greenland, one of themalone. Why is he doing this? I think it's hard to explain. But not for money and fame. He spends his own money, has no sponsors, and wrote about the wintering of 1999 in Antarctica in his blog only in 2011, 12 years later. There are almost no comments on this blog. Maybe I don’t understand something - even someone reads and comments on my notes about ordinary vacation voyages. Or maybe they read it, but do not comment, because there is nothing to say. Wintering in Antarctica. 1999 In November 1998, Trevor left New Zealand and arrived in Antarctica in January 1999 with the intention of staying there.and winter. He spent the summer exploring the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and chose Alice Creek, Port Lockroy on Wiencke Island in the Palmer Archipelago, at the very tip of the Antarctic Peninsula (64°50'S 063°32'W ) as a wintering ground. Iron Bark arrived there in early March 1999. The first British Antarctic base is located nearby, turned into a museum, which is open during the summer months.
Already in mid-March, signs of the approaching winter became noticeable. The penguins in the nearby colony began to molt, and the last ship sailed north, before a new navigation that would not begin until eight months later.
In anticipation of winter, Trevor insulated the bulkheads separating the living cabin from the forepeak and aft lockers with 32 mm thick polyurethane foam plates, specially captured for this purpose, and inserted additional glass into the windows. I drained the water from the tanks, because with the onset of summer I did not want to have 100-kilogram blocks of ice inside them.
From the very beginning, in preparation for wintering, he knew that he could not have enough kerosene to heat the boat. And, although there were many moments of temptation to turn on the heater for at least a few hours, he was forced to conserve fuel for the stove. Primus was the basis of survival, without it it would be impossible to melt the ice and defrost food. To dilute the primus, it was necessary to heat up kerosene with alcohol, in turn, alcohol, in order for it to catch fire, often had to be heated on a candle flame.
The days were getting shorter and shorter, the temperature was getting colder. Trevor has a daily routine. In the morning he quickly dressed, lit a candle, made a stove and heated water for breakfast, consisting of muesli, powdered milk and coffee. After cleaning up, he went to the shore, where he kept a daily record of the fauna. Returned for lunch. Lunch, usually pancakes or tortillas with milk and egg powder. They are very colorful and do not require a lot of fuel for cooking. After dinner, chores and, if the weather allowed, again went ashore. Rice for dinnerears, beans and dried onions. Once a week, he turned on the heater for eight hours, heated six to seven liters of water, washed himself and washed clothes that he dried near the heater.
In early May, skuas, terns and giant petrels flew north for the winter. Fur seals gathered on the rocks in groups of 30...40 individuals, young penguins, already grown up and independent from their parents, finished molting. The gentoo penguins spend the whole winter here, but they do not like thin or broken ice and try not to walk on it. For almost a week they did not go to the sea, until hunger made them more courageous. The snow petrel, the most mysterious bird, also appeared in early May. Most of the plovers and kelp gulls flew to South America,but some of them remained for the winter. Weddell seals began to make a lot of noise underwater, apparently during the mating season. They emit a series of three downward whistles followed by three to four dog-like sounds. Their voices resounded loudly inside the hull of the boat.
Every evening, Trevor filled out the logbook so as not to lose count of the days and read by candlelight for a couple of hours. All of his books were soaked with condensation and leaking hatches in the stormy southern seas and now froze to death. When reading, he had to take off his right glove and warm up the right page with the palm of his hand, slowly reading the left, then quickly reading the right page to turn it over before it froze again.
During March, April, and most of June, the water in the bay froze when the sea was calm, but the oncoming storm carried away the ice. Storms were frequent, averaging twice or thrice a week. Trevor couldn't wait for the bay to freeze completely so he wouldn't worry about the drifting ice. The moving ice made a lot of noise and peeled off the paint from the hull as it was blown back and forth by the wind. Often the ice was quite thick and it was difficult to move to the dinghy, but usually it was possible to break through the channel by pulling on the mooring lines.
At the beginning of May, the sun was hidden behind the mountains to the north, but, as Port Lockroy is a hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, at noon it was above the horizon for several minutes, and even in the dead of winter illuminated the tops of the mountains. All winter, around noon, twilight lasted for about four hours and it was possible to work without a lantern.
With the onset of cold weather, the penguin colony began to look neater, as the dirt and droppings froze and were covered with snow.
The boat also froze. The hold and lockers froze, we had to think in advance if something needed to be taken out of them. The ceiling in the cabin was covered with frost, the floor became slippery with ice. The cabin looked like a gloomy ice cave, Trevor could hardly fall asleep, his hands and feet were freezing.
Finally, on July 19, the ice in the bay seemed to freeze completely. The ice between the shore and the boat was nine centimeters thick. Thin enough to walk on, but too thick to cut a channel for a dinghy. Trevor crossed to the shore on the boards from the cans, pulling himself up by the mooring lines.
When Iron Bark finally froze into ice, life became easier. Now the mooring lines did not hold the boat, and all that remained was to make sure that they did not freeze into the ice, to pull them out of the snow every day and break off the ice.
Less pleasant was the need to cut the ice from the bow and stern every four days. Contrary to popular belief, the ice into which a ship freezes pulls it down and does not push it up. Ice grows from the outside due to the snow falling on it. Snow with its weight melts old ice, soaks with sea water and freezes, forming a new layer. The cycle is repeated many times and the old ice sinks deeper and deeper. If there are any protrusions on the hull of the boat that are frozen into the newly formed ice, then when it sinks, it will pull them along. On Iron Barkle and water stay - a chain running from the stem at the level of the waterline to the bow of the bowsprit, froze into the ice, so Trevor chipped the ice around them with a crowbar and a pickaxe and cleared the formed pool of ice chips. During this work, his clothes froze from splashes and became similar to knightly armor. At the end of the winter, he relaxed a little and allowed the waterstay to freeze so that he could not free it. As a result, the bow of the boat sank 30 centimeters. It was not very convenient, but not dangerous.
In the midday twilight it was very difficult to move around, the light did not cast shadows and the surface covered with snow had little contrast. Trevor often fell into invisible pits. It was much easier to walk by the light of the moon, when the sky was clear, then all obstacles cast shadows. He was waiting for the return of the sun, as only one who survived the polar night can wait for him. July came, the sunlight brightened the nearby mountains every day, and finally, on a quiet clear day on July 21, the sun appeared briefly over the glacier in the north. By mid-August, itappeared for several hours. It didn't get any colder anymore and Trevor gained confidence that he would survive, unless of course something happened. In the spring, when the days get longer, he hoped to make routes on the ice and along the coast, but Antarctica is a very windy place and the ice in the Neumeer Strait, outside the bay in which the boat was parked, often broke and was impassable. It was very tempting to walk along the glacial plain starting immediately at Port Lockroy, but after falling through the cracks twice, he decided that in Antarctica there were enough opportunities to part with his life.t, and it is not necessary to invent new ones.
In late August, early September, the ice of the outer part of Port Lockroy was still strong enough and Trevor could walk to the neighboring Dorian Cove, crossing the narrow spur of the ice. He was so glad to be able to visit something else besides the bay in which he stood, that he went there almost every day, as long as conditions allowed.
Dorian Cove was partially covered in thin ice, which would likely break the first storm. Amir Klink wintered in this bay in 1990-1991, one of two people who did it alone for the first time. At the same time Hugh Delignieres wintered in Antarctica, on Pleno Island. I wonder why Amir Klink chose Dorian Cove and not Port Lockroy, which is much better protected?
On September 9, the appearance of the first offspring of Weddell seals marked the onset of spring. One seal was born very close to the boat. He fell on the snow and the mother calmly watched as he helplessly crawled around in search of her nipples. He went full circle until he found them.
Six pups were born on the ice around Iron Bark, most of them during the last week of September. Trevor could distinguish each of the seals individually by the spots on their skins and watched the pups grow until they became independent at about six weeks of age. Not long before weaning, the puppies were given their first swimming lesson. They didn't seem to want to leave the safe ice and dive into the ice hole. One of the mothers, having discarded the ceremony, simply pushed the cub into the water. It looks like only five seal pups survived to be independent.In fact, perhaps the sixth was dragged off by a leopard seal while he was learning to swim.
In early September, there were more penguins around. The thick pack ice that covered most of the Neumeier Strait made it difficult for them to get ashore, and they clustered around Dorian Cove. On September 13, the penguins returned to Cape Jugla, having walked more than a kilometer on the sea ice, marching in four columns of 500-1000 birds each. We walked carefully, carefully avoiding the gray and broken ice. The sea leopard rushed to catch up with the last column, but could not catch up and comically rushed across the ice from impotent rage and disappointment. The next day they passed itstanding back up to the water to feed. During the day, the ice broke and was carried away, so in the evening they were able to swim to the very shore. Penguins began to claim their territory, although their nests, in the form of small piles of pebbles, were still not visible under a layer of snow. For the next few weeks, they thawed out the nests.
Dominican gulls clung to the rocks where they nest, the first terns appeared, snow petrels began to fly further south. The blue-eyed cormorants have returned and have begun trying to rebuild the nests built last year. The onset of warmth and spring tides dispersed the ice in the Peltier and Neumeier straits.
On September 22, the first drops of melt water appeared on the rails of Iron Bark. They immediately froze into icicles, but it was already clearly getting warmer. In the brighter light of the day, it became clear how dirty the boat looked inside. Ceiling, as in a refrigerator, in hoarfrost mixed with soot from candles, countertops and floors covered with a mixture of ice and spilled food. Do the cleaning without risking that the sponge will freeze to the surface, which you can wash only when it gets warmer. The lockers were still frozen and extracting cans from them was still not a quick matter.
On October 4, it became so warm for a short time that the familiar smell of penguin droppings from the rookery began to be felt. The sea ice at Port Lockroy was still solid and the Goodyear Island penguins had to walk quite a distance to reach the water. It often snowed, but it was too light to cover the boat.
October was windy and snowy. Storms constantly broke the ice outside of Port Lockroy. The penguins cannot walk on broken ice and at times have been unable to reach the sea for days at a time. On other occasions, they had to walk two or three kilometers over firmer ice to reach open water. It was still quite cold, while working on the street, the beard froze into an ice mask.
In the first days of November, cormorants actively built nests. They laid their first eggs on the 4th of November and on the 7th the first skuas appeared. The penguins had their first egg on the ninth, but the season had not yet arrived and then there was a lull for several weeks. Peak laying season for gentoo penguins was in early December. They lay two eggs, the second being much smaller than the first. In a difficult year, only the chick hatched from the larger egg usually survives. In a good year, both. The previous summer in Port Lockroy was verydifficult, only one chick survived from the clutch, and only half of them managed to live to the age when the plumage grows back. This year was good: almost all the first chicks and almost half of the second ones survived.
On November 14, 1999, the first ship of this season arrived. It was James Clark Ross who brought in Dave Burkett and Norm Cobley to work at the museum on Goodyear Island. Trevor had known Dave since last summer, he was one of the last people in Antarctica to use dog sleds. Norm was an ornithologist, a treasure trove of information. The next day, the first cruise ship arrived, they lowered the ladder onto the ice and the passengers went to Goodyear Island, and a few people to Iron Bark. It was a small Russian motor ship Molchanov, rented by Greg Mohr's company.Ymer, one of the most famous climbers in Australia. Greg Trevor also knew from last year, he invited him on board, have dinner, take a shower, chat with passengers. This is how the next seven weeks went. Iron Bark was still frozen in solid ice, and cruise ships arrived in a continuous procession in Port Lockroy. Dave and Norm were guests on board every night, Trevor usually too. The transition from complete loneliness to an active social life turned out to be instantaneous. Trevor had no problems with psychological adaptation.m, but his immune system, after an eight-month vacation, could not cope with the invasion of microbes and he caught the flu.
The snow on the beach began to melt quickly. Trevor retrieved the sails that were hidden on the shore and raised them to make sure they were all right. On the inside of the boat's hull there was a layer of frost, more than 100 millimeters, it also began to melt. Since the bilge pump was still frozen, the water had to be bailed out with a tin can. On December 2, the first sailboat of the season arrived - Jerome Ponset's Golden Fleece moored to the ice edge at Port Lockroy. By this time, there was almost always a cruise ship there, sometimes two at once.
After Christmas, the ice near the coast melted, and dinghys had to be used to get on land to overcome the last few meters. The boat was already afloat, there were several centimeters of clear water around it. The bilge pump began to work, the water in the sink began to drain, the water tanks thawed. On January 4, 2000, the ice drifted astern to the sea, Trevor was able to get out of Ellis Creek and stand on clear water for the first time in six months.
The penguin chicks started hatching on January 6th. Three volunteers from the charter sailboat Tooloka and Trevor went to Iron Bark in Dorian Cove to count penguins.
The mooring lines at Ellis Creek were still frozen into the thick ice on the shore. Trevor did not want to leave before extracting them so as not to leave any trace of his presence there. In addition, the wind helmsman Aries was lying somewhere on the shore, under snowdrifts, and, despite numerous thawed patches, he could not yet be found.
On February 2, the last moorings and wind pilot were finally removed from the ice, and on the 3rd, a strong storm broke out, during which the British sailboat Alderman came to the port of Lockroy. Trevor spent a couple of days in their company, after which he went to the Argentine Islands. On the 6th he encountered a large flock of killer whales near Lemaire Strait. There were two sailboats in Stella Creek, which had been ice-free only four days earlier. He visited the new Ukrainian team at the Vernadsky station and two days later made an attempt to break further south through the Gran Strait.didier. There was a lot of ice and almost zero visibility, he quickly gave up and turned back. Trevor promised Rod Downey to help with the second seasonal penguin count, so on February 10 he returned to Port Lockroy again. Two days later, she and Rod, with the help of three passengers on the charter schooner Oosterschelder, counted the penguins at Cape Jugla, and on the 15th and 16th, with the crew of Alderman, the colony at Dorian Cove.
As new ice began to form, Trevor decided it was time to leave. On February 18, he tried to leave Port Lockroy, but in the Neumeier Strait he stumbled upon powerful solid ice. An Argentine icebreaker advancing reported that the ice was so thick that, on all six working machines, their speed had dropped to three knots. I had to return for the night back to Dorian Cove, now around midnight it was already dark for several hours. The next day there was less ice and Iron Bark, maneuvering among the iceberg debris, moved to the port of Andersen on MelchiorNew Islands, and on the 20th, having spent several hours pulling out mooring lines from under blocks of ice, went to the Falkland Islands.
In five days of fine weather with light and moderate winds, he reached the latitude of Cape Horn. A short southeasterly storm was not very pleasant, but not dangerous, then a strong southerly wind gave it a thrashing off Staten Island and north of Stanley Port in the Falkland Islands, where Iron Bark moored at 18:30, February 29, 2000.
Provisions and fuel were needed, but first a transfer of money had to be arranged to the local bank to buy it. This took three weeks, during which Trevor looked around, installed a new wind pilot, who had been sent to the Falklands in advance, gave twenty empty fuel cans and simply put the boat in order.
On March 24, he left the Falkland Islands for Trinidad, where he hoped to find work. The passage took 55 days, including a two-day stop at the island of Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil.