I read a book once about Australia’s greatest Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson. It was a great book to read about their incredible strength both mentally and physically. Unfortunately we have lost this toughness over the years. It is like reading a science fiction story, this can’t be real, no one can go through an ordeal like this and survive. I had the same thoughts and could never imagine the hardships they suffered.
In 2003, at the age of 50 I had the chance to find out. I sailed on a 43 Cole fibreglass yacht to Douglas Mawson’s Hut across the Southern Ocean to Commonwealth Bay Antarctica – one of the most isolated places on earth. I sailed with my very good friend Tony Mowbray. We followed in Mawson’s footsteps and arrived home after nearly five weeks at sea. Icebergs, angry mountainous seas, blizzard conditions, a couple of knockdowns and a few broken ribs just to make our fight for survival that much more interesting.
I have just released a book on that expedition ‘Safe Return Doubtful‘. I was surprised by the reaction to my first book, receiving comments like “thrilling”, “nail biting”, “couldn’t put it down” and of course the most asked question – “why would any sane person do that trip?”, considering it was my first time on a yacht, the answer is, I just had to find out if I was strong enough to cope! You will have to read my book to see if I was successful.
Through extremely hard work, many long hours, periods where we struggled to find wages for staff and many times going without to ensure they were always paid first, my wife and I built a successful Facility Management Company in the Hunter Valley, Gabes Cleaning Services. Today my two children run our company and I have to say they do a better job than I ever did. With their involvement and my retirement my wife and I have been fortunate to travel extensively and with my love and passion of adventure I have been to many incredible places.
Apart from my Mawson’s Hut trip, I have sailed back to Antarctica again from South America, canoed down the Amazon, trekked through the Andes and Patagonia, hiked up a live Volcano in Chile, ridden adventure motorbikes through India, Nepal and Tibet, and travelled to Mount Everest to the second base camp. See my Past Tours.
I am now 65 and the adventures don’t stop with age. I am now taking adventure tours around the world with our local travel agent Travel and Tour Hunters for small groups up to fifteen people. Check out my Future Tours to see where I am off to next, which includes bike riding trips as well.
See you on the road!