THIS is the moment Hampshire sailor Nick Bubb successfully completed the first leg of an Antarctic expedition inspired by an epic battle for survival.
Nick and five fellow adventurers raised their arms in triumph after taking just 12 days to sail 800 nautical miles from Elephant Island to South Georgia in a 22ft boat.
They now face the equally daunting task of crossing countless crevasses as they trek to the other side of South Georgia.
Nick was the skipper of the Alexandra Shackleton, named after the granddaughter of polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who made an identical voyage after his ship the Endurance was crushed by pack ice and sank in 1915.
Members of the expedition landed at Peggotty Bluff, the same spot where Shackleton’s boat the James Caird came ashore almost 100 years ago.
Last night Nick’s wife Sophie, 31, said: “I’m relieved that bit’s over. It all went extremely well and I’m incredibly proud of Nick – he’s done a great job. But Nick’s a sailor and the land crossing is probably the biggest challenge for him. He’s got a huge task ahead.”
Nick and the other adventurers gave a loud cheer and engaged in a group hug as they stepped ashore on South Georgia after battling severe weather and sub-zero temperatures.
Expedition leader Tim Jarvis, 46, said: “I’m immensely proud of this crew. They all performed incredibly well under dire circumstances, and the fact that we managed to sail 800 nautical miles in such a small vessel really shows how solid they are individually and how well we worked together as a team.”
Tim also praised the performance of the Alexandra Shackleton but added: “There was just no way to keep dry.
“Below deck the boat was constantly damp and being on watch meant you were directly exposed to the elements. On a few occasions a big wave washed over the deck and down the hatch, soaking everything below.”
Shackleton and his crew were left stranded on pack ice after the Endurance sank in the Weddell Sea. They climbed into three lifeboats and managed to reach the uninhabited Elephant Island. Shackleton and five other men then continued on to South Georgia and eventually found a remote whaling station, which arranged for their shipmates to be rescued.
Now Nick and his fellow adventurers are attempting to re-enact what has been dubbed the greatest survival story of all time.
Three members of the expedition will cross South Georgia using old-fashioned equipment. Nick and the other two men, using modern gear, will follow with a film crew.
They hope to arrive at the site of the old whaling station at the end of the week.