Viking sailor told equipment found
Polar officials told a Norwegian sailor his gear was in storage at New Zealand's Scott Base before he began an illicit yacht voyage to Antarctica to get it, base manager Iain Miller says.
The gear was part of a depot created by crew from a Norwegian yacht Berserk which sank a year ago tomorrow when caught in a storm in McMurdo Sound. Three men disappeared.
Jarle Andhoy, 34, a self-proclaimed Norwegian Viking who owned the Beserk and was trying to reach the South Pole on a quad bike at the time of the sinking, is sailing a 16-metre steel yacht, Nilaya, south after he was forced out of Auckland by Immigration New Zealand nearly a month ago while planning his illegal polar expedition.
He does not have permission to be in Antarctica but claims he wants to look for the depot that contained mooring equipment, anchor ice, food and other aids so that the crew could use Backdoor Bay and Horse Shoe Bay, near Scott Base, as places of refuge in case something bad happened.
Miller told Stuff in an email that Andhoy, last year, had left equipment sitting on the ice shelf some distance from Scott Base.
"If left there it would have been buried at best and blown away at worst during the Antarctic winter," he said.
"To avoid environmental nuisance, we stowed Andhoy's gear (with his knowledge and acceptance) in a container at Scott Base."
They told him if he did not pick up the gear by January 31 Scott Base would move it to Christchurch.
"He was aware his equipment was northbound well before he travelled south to Antarctica."
Miller said Andhoy had spoken of other depots at Backdoor and Horseshoe bays.
They had seen nothing there.
Norwegian state broadcaster NRK reported this morning that Scott Base was holding the gear. They ran a photograph of it.
Andhoy and Nilaya claim they will arrive near Scott Base tomorrow.
Miller said if he sailed into the area they could have problems.
"Pack ice conditions are very challenging these days," he said.
"It's late in the season and conditions can change quickly. Ice conditions can quickly become worse, and the weather is not good. Andhoy can put more lives in danger if he needs help in the area."
A friend of Andhoy, Rune Olsgaard, told Oslo website VG that the Norwegian Foreign Ministry had been advised by New Zealand that the depots were untouched.
Olsgaard said Andhoy was upset to discover the depots had been moved.
The expedition claims they have also seen oil drums in the area that could have come from Berserk.
The drums are on the ice. They can only see them by binoculars.
A Mana Party activist, Busby Noble, 53, from Auckland, is also aboard Nilaya. He claimed he was sleeping when the yacht left quickly but elected to stay anyway.