Polar yacht crew heroes in Norway

10:53, Jan 31 2012
Nilaya yacht
ROGUE YACHT: The Nilaya.

Norway's media and hundreds of Facebook followers are treating a couple of self-proclaimed "Wild Vikings" as heroes for cocking a snook at authorities and heading toward Antarctica from New Zealand without official permission.

Norwegian adventurer Jarle Andhoey quickly left Auckland a week ago aboard a 16-metre steel yacht, Nilaya, after he was served with a deportation order.

Along with himself and three other members of the expedition, he had discovered a New Zealander who had been doing some work in the boat was still on board.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Wellington says the ministry is in contact with the family of the New Zealander believed to be aboard the yacht.

They are providing advice to the family but are investigating the "consular situation" involved.

The boat was last seen last Thursday in international waters off the coast of Hawke's Bay.

Andhoey said he wanted to reach McMurdo Sound where last February his polar bid ended with the sinking of the yacht Berserk and the deaths of three men who were aboard it.

The latest US Naval Ice Centre data shows Andhoey will not be able to reach McMurdo which remains cut off by an extensive and thick ice bridge right across the southern end of Ross Sea.

In the latest Norway media, Andhoey advises, through friends, that the yacht is not being skippered by him, but by a Russian with a long history of sailing.

He claims Nilaya is now registered in Russia.

"Everything is on schedule and the atmosphere is good on board," Andhoey is quoted saying.
"We are well prepared for what may befall us."

Norwegian media say it may be another week before Nilaya reaches the 60 degree south line which marks the Antarctic Treaty territory.

In the meantime, Facebook entries are hailing Andhoey.

"I think it's okay that he has gone on a new expedition. I think it's a great way to honor the deceased," says one.

Others say:

+ "Jarle has more guts and healthy way of thinking than all the bureaucrats at the Arctic Institute together."

+ "Let the man go! Jizz! He has a dream, just like all of us."

+ "Good luck, Jarle Andhoey! Had Roald Amundsen lived today, he would have been placed in jail...

+ "Fantastic Jarle. Good luck on your trip. May the occupied countries like New Zealand and Australia remain far away from you."

+ "Jarle Andhoey is one of the last real Norwegians! Stand on the ones you came home safely when you have accomplished what you wanted."