Flying under the Sydney Harbour Bridge one day with Dick Smith in his helicopter, Don decided to sail to Antarctica. So began ‘Expedition Icebound’.
Setting out once again into the deep Southern Ocean on ‘Buttercup’, this time he had company.
Three crew and 200 teddy bears (who all paid for the passage and the money was given to Camperdown Children’s Hospital) had joined the adventure. They arrived at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, just before Australia Day to find Mawson’s Hut still standing.
No one had seen the hut for some time. With five lines ashore and two anchors down, they faced huge 90kt blizzards and zero visibility while there. On one occasion, they lost the tender and two crew out of the boat harbour.
Following two weeks on site, stunned and in awe of Antarctica, the return journey to Australia included a visit to the South Magnetic Pole. Struggling to head north in the ‘furious fifties’ of the Southern Ocean, it became an epic.
With blown out sails, diesel leaks inside, broken steering and a seized engine, they were finally becalmed 8 miles off Sydney Harbour. A friend towed them in to a massive reception at the National Maritime Museum. It was an amazing two month adventure and set the seed for the next!