HAMPSHIRE sailor Nick Bubb had to dodge a huge iceberg after embarking on his quest to recreate an epic Antarctic voyage.
Nick and five fellow adventurers are attempting to row 800 miles in a 22ft boat, following the route taken by polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton after his ship the Endurance was crushed by pack ice and sank in 1916.
Hero Shackleton and some of his shipmates undertook the long row from Elephant Island, off Antarctica, to South Georgia, where they arranged for the rest of the crew left behind on the ice to be rescued.
Now the Alexandra Shackleton, named after Sir Ernest’s granddaughter, is attempting to make the same journey with Nick, 33, of Lymington, at the helm.
Tim Jarvis, leader of the Shackleton Epic expedition, said: “In the middle of the night we had to manoeuvre to avoid a collision with a big iceberg that was in our path.
“Regardless we’re trying to enjoy it and had a fantastic encounter with a whale that was about six or seven metres from the bow of the boat. It was quite a magical experience.”
The team has already completed more than 60 miles since setting off from Elephant Island on Thursday.
Nick and his fellow sailors are having to cope with water slopping over the side of the boat.
An expedition spokesman said: “The crew are wet, cold and hungry. They’ve had to do a lot of bailing and pumping – just as Shackleton and his men did aboard their boat the James Caird. The Alexandra Shackleton spent five hours averaging only one knot in unusually light conditions but the wind has now picked up.”
After reaching South Georgia Nick and the team will attempt to recreate Shackleton’s epic three-day trek across its mountainous interior. The explorer reached a whaling station and managed to get help for the rest of his crew, who were still stranded on Elephant Island.
Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Everest, described Shackleton’s journey as “the greatest survival story of all time’’.