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M/V Plancius Expedition Ship

Competitors will be housed on M/V Plancius for the duration of The Last Desert. M/V Plancius was originally built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy, a duty which it carried out for 28 years until 2004. It was then refurbished into a 114-passenger expedition ship. The 89 meter / 293 foot ship was built for ice conditions to be able to easily manage the harsh conditions the Antarctic offers - to reach these ice conditions she has a strengthened bow and stern. The hull is thicker and the whole construction on the waterline of the vessel is reinforced by using extra frames.

The Expedition Crew

A team of 4 Deserts Race Series staff will be managing the event. The team includes Founder Mary Gadams, who will be visiting Antarctica for her sixth time, event management team members, course director, medical team, and event photographer.

In addition to the 4 Deserts Race Series management team there is also team of Antarctica experts led by Expedition Leader Kelvin Murray. Other experts include guides that lead excursions for mountaineering, camping, kayaking and snowshoeing. The experts on board will be able to lecture on different aspects of Antarctic history, flora and fauna, and climate, amongst other topics.


Expedition Leader: Kelvin Murray

An accomplished professional diver with over twenty-five instructor ratings plus commercial and technical diving qualifications, Kelvin recently over-wintered in Antarctica as Field Diving Officer for the British Antarctic Survey. Managing the only scientific diving program that consistently dives throughout the Antarctic winter allowed Kelvin to participate in several hundred dives in this challenging environment.

Expedition diving has allowed Kelvin to dive all over the world, on every continent and in every ocean. He has explored polar seas to tropical reefs with high definition cameras and ROV technology. Working in collaboration with Dr. Sylvia Earle's Mission Blue Foundation, Kelvin provides video footage and stills images to the Ocean layer of Google Earth.

Previously, Kelvin was Education Officer for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. In addition he is an ardent advocate for sharks and has dived with several species of these much-misunderstood animals. Kelvin also worked as a marine survival instructor for an internationally renowned training facility, and has extensive first aid, medic and hyperbaric chamber qualifications at responder and instructor level. Kelvin was the Expedition Leader for The Last Desert 2012 and returns to the race for his second time in 2014.

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