If you follow my Blog, you probably saw Nigel Jolly’s comment that he would like to go to Bouvet. I too would like to go to Bouvet, along with Nigel and his crew.
During our VP8STI/VP8SGI voyage, we had many conversations about going to Bouvet. The VP8STI/VP8SGI DXpeditions would be great practice and preparation for activating Bouvet.
We have a lot of useable equipment and many team members willing to make the trip. So what’s the holdup then? Why isn’t the Intrepid DX Group announcing plans to activate Bouvet?
It all comes down to money. Lots of money is needed. For the VP8STI/VP8SGI DXpeditions, our total budget was $425,000. We had hoped to raise $215,000 up front of the activation. As hard as we worked and as generous as the Global DX Community was, we were only able to raise $161,000 before our departure.
When we signed our charter contract, the Braveheart charter was $308,000. We were to pay in the equivalent amount in New Zealand Dollars.
Fortunately for us, the exchange rate for the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) against the USD declined dramatically and our charter ended up costing us $259,000. Before this decline, our fundraising was going poorly and we had serious discussions about cancelling our DXpedition. At one point, Nigel even agreed to let us out of our contract without the required $54,000 penalty.
We hung in there and worked hard at our fundraising and due to the decline in the NZD we were able to make it all work. Our efforts were nicely rewarded through the OQRS system after the DXpedition and we are extremely grateful for all of the support we received.
Now then, back to Bouvet. We have the charter cost for Bouvet including the use of a helicopter. That cost is $500,000 or almost twice the cost of the VP8STI/VP8SGI charter. We would also need to hire a helicopter pilot, certified for heavy sling lifts and a helicopter mechanic. We would need to pay them approximately $10,000 a month each for two months. This would require us to bring two less radio operators.
Our total budget to activate Bouvet would be something close to $600,000. We know from recent experience that we can raise $161,000 from the global DX Community, however we know that we would have a significant shortfall required to meet a budget approaching $600,000.
While we thoroughly enjoy leading DXpeditions to rare and remote places, none of us can place our financial well-being in jeopardy by signing contracts that we cannot financially support.
3Y5X DXpedition, December/January 1990. Five men operated for 16 days.
The Norwegian Polar Institute is reasonably willing to allow a DXpedition. The permit process requires a comprehensive plan very similar to what we provided to gain permission for South Sandwich and South Georgia. I have spoken to many DXpeditioners who have activated Bouvet in the past. I’ve explored ways to do it without the benefit of a helicopter and unfortunately my findings are that a helicopter is essential. The NPI will allow a helicopter landing near Cap Lollo and the Eastern slope of the glacier. They will not allow any approach to Nyroysa where the NPI Science Base is located. The NPI is also not interested in sharing passage on their ship.
The NPI Science base is located in Nyroysa (above) no landing can be made here.
So we have transportation available to us, we have a team and equipment. We have the desire and the experience to pull it off. We lack only the confidence to raise enough funds up front to be successful.
There may be several leaders or groups interested in activating Bouvet. They must have a huge commitment to succeed. In return, the DX Community must reward that commitment with sufficient up front financial support for them to push forward through the many obstacles in order to achieve success.
I’m delighted by the news this morning from K0IR, K4UEE and LA6VM of their plans to bring a team to Bouvet in late 2017 or early 2018. This is most welcome news!
What do you think?