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Renowned world explorer brings spirit to Sydney

June 15, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Mike Horn doesn’t have a lot of time for Facebook, Twitter and other social media – he’s too busy with real life which, as one of the world’s foremost explorers and adventurers, he lives to the full.

Horn, a South African-born Swiss, was in Sydney yesterday as he circumnavigates the globe via the North and South Pole on his latest, two-year expedition, called Pole2Pole.

Horn delivered a quick account of his travels, his philosophy and his explorations, which have included a solo journey around the equator without any motorised transport and a solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle (it took two years and three months).

Mike Horn, Matteo Fabbris and Costas Raptis in Sydney on Tuesday evening

In 2006, Horn and Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland became the first men to travel without dog or motorised transport to the North Pole during winter, in permanent darkness.

Horn met the media and others on Tuesday evening at View by Sydney on the harbour, in conjunction with one of his prime sponsors, Metaxa, makers of Metaxa 12 Stars, the famed Greek spirit blended with Muscat wine from Samos and natural botanical flavourings.

Horn’s first rule, he declared yesterday, was simply to stay alive. “I have no death wish!”– though his feats are certainly death defying. They include an ascent of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, which kills one in three of those who try to climb it. The big threat is “summit fever” a feeling of exhilaration that makes climbers who have conquered the summit want to stay there. Fatal.

Horn’s technique was to climb K2 speedily but surely, straight up and down “to get it over”. He accomplished this without use of Sherpas, ropes or oxygen – a feat which would swiftly kill most people.

The will to live must always overcome fear of death, Horn stresses – though skill, strength, training and even the right DNA come into it as well.

Sydney lights on the same evening

Horn set out from The Yacht Club Monaco last year on his current “Pole2Pole” expedition. Prince Albert of Monaco II and Mercedes-Benz sponsored his trip, which involves Horn travelling by land and his sailing vessel, Pangaea, from Africa to Antarctica, Oceania, Asia, the Arctic, and back to Europe.

Tuesday night was a perfect time to meet Horn, the night bright and calm, with Sydney illuminated for Vivid and looking fabulous. The View by Sydney function also promoted Metaxa 12 Stars, a radiant amber spirit replete with fragrant notes of toasted oak wood, fruits and spices, dried flowers and spicy herbs, coffee and chocolate – not to mention dried prunes, orange peel and honeyed figs.

Constantinos (Costas) Raptis, the fifth Metaxa Master since the inception of the House, told the audience he was never in a rush at his craft.

“I know it takes time to achieve perfection. I create Metaxa 12 Stars with twelve blends. In the beginning, I select among some of the noblest, most aromatic Muscat wines exclusively from the island of Samos, that I blend together and age.

“When I feel that the moment is right, I combine them with blends of grape distillates that have matured in Limousin oak casks, of various degree of toasting. Then I add my secret bouquet of May Rose petals and Mediterranean botanicals. As a final touch, I add longer-aged blends of Muscat from Samos and grape distillates, crafted, matured and reserved for Metaxa 12 Stars.”

Mike Horn with Peter Needham

Written by Peter Needham

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