I have done plenty of crazy stuff in my life, but a few adventures stand out.
Exactly 15 years ago, I was on what is called "the most remote place in the world", an Antarctic island called "Peter I". It was remote, even to Antarctic standards: three days sailing from the nearest South Pole base and 1,000 miles away from the nearest hospital. 1,000 miles of frozen sea and drifting ice bergs.
It took our expedition team 6 days to get there, departing with an ice breaker from the Falklands - by itself not known to be the most frequented tourist destination.
When we landed on Peter I, we were only the third team to ever put foot on the island. Imagine that: there had been more people and more landings on the moon than on that island.
15 years ago, to the date according to my diary, we had the roughest storm ever. I described it in this short story.
This was crazy stuff. The mere size and financial risk of the expedition, the logistical challenges, the nightmares in battling the snow blizzards hoping nobody would get hurt, and that (please God!) the tents would hold up...
But the real nutty stuff was that we had no clue how were were going to get back to the civilized world. A one way ticket to the most remote place on the planet, it seemed...
We had chartered a Russian research vessel to pick us up (see this short story), but they would only go as far as King George island, in the North of the Antarctic.
How we were going to get out of King George, was still a logistics puzzle we had not resolved when we landed on Peter I.
Desperate situations required drastic measures, so while still on the island, we chartered a C130 plane from the Uruguayan air force, through a company in Punta Arenas (Chili).
Over short wave radio, we made deals with the charter company to put day-trip tourists on the plane, splitting the charter fee with us. To cover the remaining costs, we had to sell all our tents and survival gear on King George island before the plane flew us to Southern Chili.
That was 15 years ago. Two months after I (eventually) got back to Belgium, I did my first mission as a humanitarian aid worker. And another series of crazy adventures started.
My three expeditions to the Antarctic and the Pacific are recorded in this eBook. It's in Dutch, but try the translate widget in the side bar. Enjoy!