Only days ago a Polish-Czech expedition set a new naval record – sailing The Selma – a steel yacht – to the Ross Sea off Antarctica and setting the record for the southernmost point ever reached by a similar vessel. They reached the latitude of 78 degrees 43 minutes south after roughly one month’s journey. Along the way, the crew had to navigate both stormy waters and ice.
A sailing boat with a Czech-Polish expedition left the port of Hobart, the Tasmanian capital, in the early hours of Thursday and set off for the Bay of Whales in Antarctica´s Ross Sea. It is the southernmost destination to be ever reached by a yacht, Jaroslav Žák told the Czech News Agency. Žák is a member of the Czech Antarctic Polar Fund in support of Antarctic research, whose co-founder Dušan Jamný is representing the Czech Republic in the expedition itself. The voyage to the Bay of Whales is expected to take about 100 days. In the past, the bay served as a launching spot for expeditions in Antarctica, including Roald Amundsen’s. Yachts are prevented from sailing far southwards by the frozen and stormy sea. It is an area where mainly icebreakers operate. The southernmost place ever reached by a yacht is the 77 degree and 51 minute latitude. Due to the ice cover, numerous icebergs and adverse weather, the Ross Sea is considered one of the least accessible in the world.
The new documentary The Old Man and the World explores the life of one of the greatest of Czech travellers, Miroslav Zikmund. The exploits of Zikmund (now almost 96) and his partner Jiří Hanzelka made them big stars in a period beginning in the late 1940s. The film is directed by Petr Horký, a traveller who has himself shot in around 80 countries around the world. Before we discussed the documentary, I asked Horký when his own wanderlust began.
A new feature-length documentary about the famous Czech traveller Miroslav Zikmund received a pre-premiere screening in his town of Zlín on Monday night. Petr Horký’s film Století Miroslava Zikmunda (Miroslav Zikmund’s Century) will enter cinema distribution on Thursday. Speaking at a sold-out Velké kino cinema, Mr. Zikmund, who is 95, recalled presenting the pair’s first full-length film on the same stage in the 1950s with his travelling partner Jiří Hanzelka, who died in 2003. The two visited more than 80 countries in a Tatra car between 1947 and 1950 and 1959 and 1964 before being barred from travelling or participating in public life after 1968.
Pavel Blažek spent three weeks in September taking panoramic photographs of long abandoned Soviet labour camps in Siberia for the project Gulag.cz. His work now forms a unique “virtual museum” via which people around the world can view places where thousands of prisoners lost their lives on a never completed railway line. When he came into our studio, Blažek described the intense experiences he and his group had along the way. But he first described their journey to the Arctic Circle.
Sunday marks the 200th anniversary of birth of the pioneering Czech traveller Čeněk Paclt. Born in Turnov in east Bohemia on 14 July 1813, Paclt was the first Czech to visit all the globe’s inhabited continents. He fought with the U.S. army in the Mexican-American War and was a gold miner in India and Australia before dying in South Africa at the age of 73.
Lake Baikal –the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world is located in the south of Siberia, between Irkutsk to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast. A region of breathtaking beauty and harsh climate it attracts thousands of visitors from around the world –from those who want a guided tour in relative comfort organized by a travel agency to those who take a backpack and set out on an unforgettable adventure.
The Mongol Rally is an adventure/ charity event that starts in Europe and ends in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Among this year’s 300 participants was Ota Ulč jr., the son of Czech exile writer Ota Ulč, Nick Jarret, both from New York and Prague local Karel Vančura. The team covered the 10,000 miles from the Czech Republic to Mongolia in a Renault Kangoo, helping to raise money for UNICEF and the Lotus Children's Centre Charitable Trust. Radio Prague called Ota in New York to talk about the Mongol Rally experience.
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