Explorers rowing to the Magnetic North Pole

A team of explorers will row to the Magnetic North PoleA few days back, a crew of six adventurers set out in a specially designed rowboat on a 450-mile journey to the Magnetic North Pole. The six-week long journey began in Resolute Bay, Canada and will end when the team becomes the first to row to the Pole, which is located in a remote area of the Arctic Ocean.

Not to be confused with the Geographic North Pole, the Magnetic North Pole is actually the location on the surface of the Earth that a compass points to in the Northern Hemisphere. Over the years, that point has been known to change and move, but it is currently located at the coordinates of 78°35.7N 104°11.9W. The Geographic NP is, of course, found at the top of the world, at exactly 90°N.

This expedition is led by Jock Wishart, a veteran polar explorer and ocean rower. He is joined by a crew of experienced sailors and adventurers that includes Mark Delstanche, Billy Gammon, Rob Sleep, David Mans, and Mark Beaumont. The plan is for the team to row in three hour shifts, as they make slow, but steady, progress toward their goal.

According to the expedition’s website, the crew launched amidst good weather on Saturday, with low winds and temperatures hovering around 55°F. That is quite warm for the Arctic, and those conditions aren’t expected to last, as even in the summer, the temperatures can fall well below freezing and high winds can make travel extremely challenging.

If all goes as planned, the team should reach their goal sometime around the middle of September. You’ll be able to follow their progress at RowToThePole.com, which includes blog updates from the water, live GPS tracking, and plenty of information about the boat and her crew.

[Photo credit: RowToThePole.com]

British woman sets out to pedal and paddle around the world

Sarah Outen has set out to pedal and paddle her way around the world.British adventurer Sarah Outen has set out to circumnavigate the globe under her own power. The 25-year old has dubbed her expedition “London2London via the World,” and vows to complete the journey by pedaling and paddling the entire way, which means she’ll be either on her bike or rowing a boat, for every mile of the journey.

Outen set out on her round-the-world excursion last Friday, April 1st, by paddling a kayak under the London Tower Bridge. The first stage of her journey will take her down the Thames River and across the English Channel to Brussels. From there, she’ll get on her bike and pedal across Europe and Asia, a trip that will take months to complete. When she’s finished that leg, she’ll get back into a boat and paddle across the Northern Pacific to Vancouver. After that, it’s back on the bike for a short jaunt to New York City, where one final challenge will await – rowing across the North Atlantic. If all goes according to plan, she’ll be paddling back under the London Tower Bridge sometime in 2013, ending the journey where it all started.

Outen is no stranger to challenging adventures. Back in 2009 she made a solo row across the Indian Ocean, becoming the first woman, and the youngest person, to accomplish that feat. She spent weeks alone at sea on the journey, which has helped to prepare her for the London2London expedition, but this latest adventure will test her in some unique and interesting ways.

You can join Sarah on her journey by following along on her website and reading updates to her blog. This promises to be one amazing journey, and Outen will be a great travel guide.

[Photo credit: Sarah Outen]


Photo of the day – Intha leg rowers boat race in Burma

Photo of the day
What do you see in the photo above? Men walking awkwardly on stilts or a bridge gone horribly wrong? They’re actually competing in a boat race in Myanmar using the traditional Intha leg-rowing technique. The Intha people developed this unusual style of rowing in order to navigate around the many reeds and plants in the lake that they may not see rowing from a seated position. In this race, each boat holds 30 men balancing on a horizontal railing in the middle of the boat, using the other leg to row. Thanks to Flickr user Mark Fischer for a great shot with an interesting story.

Have you captured any unique sporting events on your travels? Add them to the Gadling group on Flickr and we might just pick one of yours as a future Photo of the Day.

A travel guide to the 2011 Oscar movies

Travel guide to Oscar moviesThe 83rd annual Academy Awards are coming up in a few weeks and the Oscars race is on. This year’s nominations contained few surprises, with many nods for Brit period piece The King’s Speech, Facebook biopic The Social Network, and headtrip Inception. While 2010’s ultimate travel blockbuster Eat, Pray, Love failed to made the cut, there’s still plenty to inspire wanderlust among the Best Picture picks.

Read on for a travel guide to the best movies of 2010 and how to create your own Oscar-worthy trip.

127 HoursLocation: Danny Boyle’s nail-biter was shot on location in Utah’s Blue John Canyon near Moab and on a set in Salt Lake City. Go there: Should you want to explore Moab’s desert and canyons while keeping all limbs intact, check out Moab in fall for bike races and art festivals.



Black Swan
Location: Much of the ballet psychodrama was shot in New York City, though the performances were filmed upstate in Purchase, New York. Go there: To see the real “Swan Lake” on stage at Lincoln Center, you’ll have to hope tickets aren’t sold out for the New York City Ballet, performing this month February 11-26.

The FighterLocation: in the grand tradition of Oscar winners Good Will Hunting and The Departed, the Mark Wahlberg boxing flick was filmed in Massachusetts, in Micky Ward’s real hometown of Lowell, 30 miles north of Boston. Go there: For a map of locations in Lowell, check out this blog post and perhaps spot Micky Ward at the West End Gym.

InceptionLocation: The setting of this film depends on what dream level you’re in. The locations list includes Los Angeles, England, Paris, Japan, even Morocco. Go there: There are plenty of real locations to visit, including University College London and Tangier’s Grand Souk. Canada’s Fortress Mountain Resort where the snow scenes were shot is currently closed, but you can ski nearby in Banff.



The Kids Are All Right
Location: Director Lisa Cholodenko is a big fan of southern California, she also filmed the 2002 Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles. Go there: Love it or hate it, L.A. is still a top travel destination in the US and perhaps this year you can combine with a trip to Vegas, if the X Train gets moving.

The King’s SpeechLocation: A prince and a commoner in the wedding of the century. Sound familiar? This historical drama was shot in and around London, though stand-ins were used for Buckingham Palace’s interiors. Go there: It might be hard to recreate the vintage look of the film, but London is full of atmospheric and historic architecture and palaces to visit. If you’re a sucker for English period films or places Colin Firth has graced, tour company P & P Tours can show you around many historic movie locations like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

The Social NetworkLocation: Another Massachusetts and California movie, this very academic film shot at many college and prep school campuses, but none of them Harvard, which hasn’t allowed film crews in decades. Go there: If you enjoyed the Winklevoss rowing scene, head to England this summer for the Henley Royal Regatta June 29 – July 3.

Toy Story 3 – Location: The latest in the Pixar animated trilogy is set at the Sunnyside Daycare. Go there: Reviews are mixed, but Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a new Pixar parade, to let fans see their favorite characters in “person.” Visit any Disney gift shop to make your own toy story.

True Grit – Location: The Coen brothers western remake may be set in 19th century Arkansas, but it was filmed in modern day Santa Fe, New Mexico and Texas, taking over much of towns like Granger. Go there: If you’re a film purist or big John Wayne fan, you can tour the locations of the original film in Ouray County, Colorado.

Winter’s Bone – Location: Many moviegoers hadn’t heard of this film when nominations were announced, set and shot in the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri. Go there: The difficult film centers around the effects of methamphetamine on a rural family, but travel destinations don’t get much more wholesome than Branson, Missouri. Bring the family for riverboat shows and the best bathroom in the country.

[Photo by Flickr user Lisa Norman]

British woman completes solo row across the Pacific Ocean

British ocean rower Roz Savage arrived in Madang, Papua New Guinea yesterday, completing the third, and final, stage of her solo row across the Pacific Ocean. Her arrival marked an end to an adventure that she has dedicated more than five years of her life to finishing.

Roz first came up with the idea of rowing across the Pacific after she completed a solo row across the Atlantic back in 2005. That journey took 103 days to complete and covered 2935 miles of open water. In 2007 she launched her first attempt on the Pacific but was forced to return to land a few days after getting underway. Undaunted, she returned to the water in 2008, and completed the first stage of her journey, rowing the 2324 miles from San Francisco to Hawaii in just under 100 days. In 2009, stage two took her from Hawaii to Tuvalu in the South Pacific, covering an additional 3158 miles over 104 days.

For her third, and final stage, Roz planned to row from Tuvalu to Australia, but strong ocean currents, persistent winds, and other conditions prevented her from traveling that far south. Instead, she drifted towards Papua New Guinea, where she finally stepped back onto dry land after covering an additional 2248 miles in just 45 days.

By completing this final leg, Roz has now become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific, a voyage that took a total of 249 days to complete and covered 7730 miles in total. A former management consultant for a major bank in the U.K., Roz quit her job back in 2001 to pursue a life of adventure. Since then, she has become a tireless environmental activist who has worked hard to raise awareness of the plight of the world’s oceans and is likely to continue pursuing that cause in the future. To that end, she recently launched a new website called Eco Heroes that has become a social network for the environmentally conscious set to connect.