At the southern end of our expedition area lies Desperation Island. It was named in 1986 by members of Australia’s first Arctic expedition who miraculously survived without food or shelter through a week-long snow-filled hurricane. It was winter and on the first day almost all their food and equipment was swept away by raging seas. Over five days, as the seas rose, they retreated up the barren rock, shifting camp six times until, when there was nowhere left to go, the storm finally abated.

The story of Desperation Island is a metaphor for today’s climate change. The science tells us that seas will soon begin to rise and low areas will be inundated. For many millions of people living in low lying areas around the world there will simply be nowhere for them to go. Storms will increase and many food growing areas will cease to be productive. Entire regions will be flooded and millions will die from starvation and disease

Arctic Leader Earl de Blonville will take our Young Explorers to visit Desperation Island, this time in the calm and warmth of high summer, to revisit the scene of his survival epic. This will be an opportunity for our Young Explorers to think hard about the effects of climate change they will be called on, as leaders, to help their communities to address and adapt to.


Following the exploration of Desperation Island, each Young Explorer will move to a campsite of their own, either an island or a bay, to spend three days by themselves on Solo. They will not be totally alone, as they will each have personal radios and EPIRBS for use in emergency. As stated elsewhere, the region is relatively poor in terms of wildlife, and this mean that the likelihood of bear problems is remote.

The Solo experience is proven to be a very effective tool in developing self reliance. Many young people have never had the opportunity to enjoy spending time alone, in isolation, and so to contemplate life’s questions and what kind of future they want to create for themselves. This will be a good time to develop and record their thoughts and ideas about their future leadership roles.

The Field Leadership team will keep a protective eye on the individual campsites during the three-day event, maintaining a radio watch and regular visual inspections..

All Young Explorers will undertake the pilgrimage to Desperation Island and the Solo experience.


A typical rocky campsite in summer.


Desperation Island, East Greenland. A perfect place to contemplate the potential impacts of climate change in Australia.


Solo offers time to reflect, find inner peace and consider the leadership journey that lies ahead.

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