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M/V Plancius Expedition Ship

Competitors will be housed on M/V Plancius for the duration of the event. 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

There will be a team of 8-10 RacingThePlanet Staff on board M/V Plancius including our Founder, Mary Gadams who will be visiting Antarctica for her fifth time; the event management team Sam Fanshawe and Riitta Hanninen; Course Director Carlos Garcia Prieto who is himself a 4 Deserts Club member; our medical team headed up by Dr. Avi Patil; and a photographer.

In addition to our RacingThePlanet management team there is also team of Antarctica experts.

Expedition Leader: Kelvin Murray
CAn 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.

AEL & Mountaineering Guide: Christoph Gnieser
Academic-turned-guide, Chris Gnieser, enjoys a satisfying and enduring love affair with both polar regions. Research expeditions, tour guide engagements or private adventures have lured him one way or the other at least for some time of each year ever since 1985. He holds degrees in Geography, Geology and Cultural Anthropology. Research engagements for a Master's degree investigated the impacts of industrial development on permafrost dynamics. His Ph.D. and later research emphasis, however, focused on Recreation Ecology of Polar Ecosystems - investigations on the environmental consequences of recreational activities at both ends of our planet.

In another career - or whenever Chris takes time off to play - you will most likely find him mountaineering in one of two backyards he calls home: the European Alps or the Canadian Rockies.

(Camping) Guide: Andrew Bishop
Andrew grew up on King Island, a small Island off Tasmania Australia before moving to Hobart to further his studies in 1993. He graduated with a bachelor of science in 2001 majoring in geology and geography. He has since travelled throughout Australia and overseas working as a geologist, research assistant, dolphin 'shooter' and for a short period as a deckhand on his father's fishing boat. His work as a geologist has enhanced his love of the outdoors and has taken him to some very remote and very hot areas of Australia. Andrew became interested in Antarctica while studying at university and made his first trip south in January 2009. Since then he has returned several times as a rather enthusiastic guide.

(Kayak) Guide: Louise Adie
Louise is a keen water girl, having logged thousands of miles as a kayaker, including solo expeditions of up to 6 weeks. Her parents were Norwegian and Scottish and the family spent all their spare time sailing or skiing. Louise teaches outdoor fitness to private clients throughout the year. She has more than 30 years' experience as a guide and teacher for outdoor pursuits for private outfitters, ski resorts, primary schools, colleges and universities. Louise is a former nurse, holds a teaching certificate with British Canoe Union and rescuer certification with Wilderness First Responder in the US. This is her seventh season as a kayak guide, lecturer and zodiac driver in the Polar Regions. Close encounters with leopard seals and humpback whales are at the top of Louise's list of favourite moments in Antarctica.

(Snowshoe) Guide: Ali Liddle
Ali has lived in the Falkland Islands for fifteen years. She shares her working hours between teaching at the Primary School and working as Education Officer with Falklands Conservation. In 1997 she lived for ten months at King Edward Point, Grytviken, South Georgia where she ran the Post Office and took every opportunity to hike, ski and explore the surrounding peaks and coastlines. She has published three books to date: one on flora (Plants of the Falkland Islands) and two arts and crafts books for children, which were inspired by her love of penguins and albatrosses. Ali is a keen runner, having completed three Falkland Marathons and enjoys hiking and camping trips to remote corners of this South Atlantic archipelago. She is also a keen amateur photographer and wildlife artist. In recent years Ali has been working as a guide and lecturer on small expedition ships to South Georgia and Antarctica.

Guide / Lecturer: Henryk Wolski Henryk Wolski, born in 1951, studied at the Technical University of Poznan (Poland). After gaining his degree as an engineer he worked for some years in a company making engines for ships. Having been an enthusiastic sailor since boyhood, Henryk gained his master's license for ocean-going yachts during his studies at the university and founded his own company in 1989, which particularly promotes what Henryk calls "concept sailing": He undertakes sailing trips mostly under historical mottos like "Following the tracks of Ulysses" - to give just one example. In 1994, Henryk organized his own expedition called "Following the Tracks of the Vikings". He successfully navigated the rivers across the European continent from Riga to Odessa. After this historic voyage he had a replica Viking ship built for future expeditions, the "Welet".

In 2000, he was one of the four members of Arved another expedition, this time following the tracks of the most famous expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton using a replica of Shackleton's lifeboat "James Caird". They sailed from the Antarctic continent via Elephant Island 900 nautical miles to South Georgia. Following the landing, the team crossed the island, and by doing so, retraced Shackleton's historic voyage. About the expedition Henryk published the book "Fortitudine Vincimus - durch Ausdauer zum Sieg".

Henryk has been sailing on a lot of different ships in different areas of the world. In total, he has around 140.000 nautical miles to his credit, which is equal to circling the equator 6 times.

Since 2000, Henryk has been working regularly as an expedition leader and/or as a lecturer on expedition ships in both the Antarctic and the Arctic, the Amazon, and other areas of the world.

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