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Fast food for polar bears

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How to go on an expedition with Mike horn and stay alive

Elena Kiseleva, PR Manager at Business Relations, and Maria Baranova, host of radio “Moscow Pravda”, met at the journalism faculty of Moscow state University. Both were selected in the international expedition of the famous Explorer Mike horn: Lena went with his team to the Andaman Islands, and Maria is at the North pole. His impressions of these journeys, the girls shared at the lecture organized in the Park of arts “Muzeon” project Trip Secrets. .<url>” publishes excerpts from their presentations.

Who is Mike horn

Elena Kiseleva:

Mike was born in South Africa in 1960-e years, 100 years after Amundsen. His diaries he read out to the holes, admired him and wanted to suffer the same fate. Horn, four times listed in the Guinness Book of records, about his travels, you can talk for a long time, so I will tell only about some. For example, on a boat without a motor, alone, he made a journey around the equator. Horn one, no use of motor vehicles, passed by the Arctic circle — 27 months of winter. He was the first to make a winter expedition to the North pole. Throughout his life, horn proves that the impossible is possible.

At some point he realized that many did, and realized that wants to share your dreams with others. It gave the opportunity for young children to join his travels. Mike founded the project “Pangaea”, which in 2008 organized a four-year expedition. He managed to find sponsors, thanks to whom the youth could participate in it free of charge. The young people under his leadership went on a journey to different countries of the world and participated in various environmental projects, watching how people affect nature.


Deep down I’ve always had a dream to go somewhere, to go on a long expedition. I decided to apply for participation in the project “Pangaea”. It was necessary to write about yourself and your experience. Experience I had a little — some suburban Hiking with my dad, so I learned a lot on the level. Nevertheless, a few months received a letter of invitation to the selection camp in the Swiss Alps. There I went with fifteen not familiar with each other participants from different countries.

Maria Baranova:

Our sectionals camp was a bit tougher than Lena, because we, unlike them, went not to the exotic Andaman Islands and the North pole. The most important test I feel overwhelmed. It was running at the time on the treadmill, the speed and angle of inclination which is constantly increasing. Besides, the test is passed the mask that covered the nose and allowed to breathe only through your mouth. I ran eight minutes and showed one of the worst results in the group.

On the last day I slept calmer many, because I realized that coming home, having a great experience. In the end, my name was called eighth. When in expedition, I asked Mike why I was chosen after a failed test, he said, “And why you think you failed it? You for him and win.”

Фастфуд для белого медведя

Mike Horn

Photo: personal page of Mike horn on Facebook

It turned out that the test was psychological. We were on the body of the sensors connected to the computer and reading the state of our body, showing how we are feeling right now. Member himself said, when to stop testing. I was the only one who got stopped by the instructor. It turned out that on the screen burned figure 95: he knew that yet a little while, and I just fall. Most went the distance on the indicator 50, and some at 70. It was a question of will, and for large expeditions it is much more important than physical preparation.

Andaman Islands


The Andaman Islands are located in the heart of the Indian ocean. They wrote about Marco Polo — they say, there live little men-cannibals with dog heads, but we, unfortunately or fortunately, did not see them. But I saw the gorgeous beaches and beautiful the world of movies Cousteau (it very much was filmed there, it’s one of his favorite places on Earth).

In 2004 the Andaman Islands earthquake, which claimed many lives and affected the flora and fauna. Our objective is the study of how nature is recovering from a major disaster. Probably the most interesting part was underwater exploration. Of our group almost nobody has ever been diving, and we had two days to learn to dive to 16 metres, to examine what is happening under water.

When we returned from the Andaman Islands to the mainland, our goal was to sail along the tributary of the Ganges, to look around and to take water samples for the University of Munich. One evening my instructor Dmitry decided to walk to the local village. There we met a woman who was selling some pies, I wanted to buy them, but it was not surrender, and she motioned us to follow her.

Фастфуд для белого медведя

The Andaman Islands

Photo: Stefan Krasowski / Flickr

Arriving at the village, we saw a house around which was a crowd of about thirty people. It was not clear what was happening, but he was a man who explained to us in clumsy English that there is a wife quarreled with her husband, and the local trying to reconcile them. But soon all the attention of the local we moved on.

We felt like honored guests: we were seated on a bench, brought us food (some soup with shrimp). In India in General is very dangerous to eat local, because you never know what everything is cooked and where the water was taken. But we had no choice because John said to me: “Eat. You can’t refuse, otherwise show disrespect”. The soup was insanely spicy, and with each SIP, becoming saltier, as it fell my tears.

We did it. Then came the old man with a musical instrument — I also could not resist and began to sing Russian folk. We were even given a guide, he took us to the camp. When we got back, Mike’s face was like thunder. It turned out that a local corral escaped Bengal tiger and I went in those places. We are very lucky that we didn’t eat.



In that moment, when we were dropped off in the snowy wilderness of the Arctic maize”, I realized that this is all: he will return only in three weeks. It was minus 25 — not very cold by the standards of the region, but then I thought about what my head really bad and need to more carefully choose their desires.

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Photo: Valeriy Melnikov / RIA Novosti

It seems that the cold is the worst thing in the Arctic. But he’s not terrible, but the fact that cold constantly. One thing in minus 25-30 to run to the bus stop or to the subway, and another thing at that temperature to live, to go eight hours, eat, sleep, and make snow measurements. It is impossible to give yourself warm. About the third day of the expedition the new Zealand participant said that in his understanding it would look like hell.

Was one of those days when everything was frozen, even our Swiss rise 1 meter 90 centimeters, to whom we said that he literally created for the Arctic. It seemed our temperature record. We reached a very big iceberg, hiding from the wind, took out a thermometer and realized that it was the warmest day the temperature was near zero.

Many people ask me about polar bears. Traces were many, we woke up surrounded by them, saw them in the distance, but a close-up look did not work. At first I was upset, but when Mike told about such a meeting — about the fact that if the bear came up, you only have five seconds to think, I thought, maybe it’s good that we saw them only from a distance.

What to do with bears — the big question. There are many instructions on how to proceed if an animal came to you. I read them then, and it was really fun, especially because all they are designed to conduct when dealing with brown bears. If you have a fire, they do not fit, but show me how to build a fire in the Arctic! Shine a flashlight in his eyes, so he ran off — course during daylight it is very helpful. Suggest to make noise because of the noise, bear goes. Brown — Yes, and white is very interesting: he hears a noise and goes to see what is happening there, could you call him for lunch. I really like the brilliant recommendation to pretend to be dead. Indeed, brown and fish, berries, and white are now starving, and you might just become fast food.

Need to eliminate the smell, because polar bears can smell their 70 kilometers. We brushed their teeth only once a day, in the morning, and then was shot from the Parking lot and left, I don’t know why, but they like the flavor of menthol.

At the meeting, you can pretend that you’re a big. Bear, before you attack, always matches the size and will never throw on a larger opponent. So we were taught to build in line and climb each other’s shoulders. But if a predator came, the question must be decided with guns. Organization Mike protects polar bears, but it’s a situation where either you or you.

The most sophisticated equipment was the sled. They weighed 50 pounds and girls and boys. When they are, this tail is not easy to get used to, he interferes, and the management of the cable have to adapt. On a flat surface we were walking at a speed of three kilometers per hour, and in the area of paroseni she fell to 200-300 meters per hour.

Фастфуд для белого медведя

Photo: Gleb Schelkunov / Kommersant

The first Taurus I cried. I had one thought: “What, Mary, you have strange dreams, why are you here?” Look around and understand that such thoughts at all. Then you get used.

The Arctic expedition is not very diverse: you’re walking eight hours a day, the weather does not allow. You’d think, to be in your thoughts — most of people dream about it. I went to the Arctic with a sheet, covered with a subject that is worth pondering.

In the end, all of life’s questions, I decided for the first day, early second day reminded everyone wanted, scrolled all the memories, told poems, sang all the songs, caught myself on the fact that in the twentieth time to sing the Russian national anthem, and finally realized that emptiness is a very difficult thing. To stop consciousness is impossible, I would like to think, and it turns out that topics for reflection are not so much.

When people ask me if I liked it there, I say no. But I’m proud of the lessons learned and glad it was in my life.

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