1 x TV hour documentary
Five mates do Antarctica (the hard way)
Even with his closest friends, Ben Wallis found it hard to talk about his day job. How do you keep a straight face when people ask what you do for a living and the honest answer is “I captain expeditions to the Antarctic”?
Try using that for a pick up line and no one will believe you.
When Ben invited a carefully selected group of mates for a meeting at a local Bondi pub one day, most of them thought he was going to announce his engagement to his long-time girlfriend and sailing partner, Skye Whelan Marr.
Instead, he told them he wanted them to understand the other half of his life and the frozen world he loved so much.
Ben told them he had access to a boat and there was a short window of time before the summer expedition season began, so he could take four of them with him and Skye to see Antarctica up close and personal for the first time. The boys didn’t think twice. They were in.
Adventure of a lifetime doesn’t even begin to explain this journey. Ben had grown up on sailing boats and had been sailing back and forth from the Antarctic with his dad since he was a teenager, so he knew the journey well, but as any seasoned sailor knows, the Antarctic was hardcore at the best of times, and off season was not the best of times.
What Ben didn’t tell his mates was that the boat was a small sailing boat salvaged from a South American farmyard and they would start their journey from Cape Horn, known as the Everest of sailing before heading south into the waters where two oceans collide.
In order to make it back they would unexpectedly experience what it was like with no nav lights, no radio, no radar, no GPS, and no lights on board.
This was the journey that would test five mates as friends as well as men. Who said anything about a holiday?
This was Mantarctica.