SHACKLETON NEWS ARCHIVE
Jasper Shackleton, who is the son of the wildlife artist Keith Shackleton, and like his father is a distant relative of Sir Ernest Shackleton, has the sea and open-boats in his blood.
He too undertook a highly perilous 4,500 mile voyage - in this case, single-handed, albeit in warmer climes - through the coral reefs and open ocean of the South Pacific. The idea was born when he visited remote Pitcairn Island - the hideout of Fletcher Christian and the Bounty mutineers. His scheme was to retrace the voyage of Lieutenant William Bligh after he and his supporters had been cast adrift in an open-boat. Bligh, together with seventeen men, sailed their over-loaded launch 3,600 miles from Tofua to Timor, with barely sufficient food and water to sustain life.
As a tribute to Bligh and to mark the bi-centenary of his outstanding achievement, Jasper Shackleton resolved to make an identical voyage in a replica twenty-three foot open-boat using only traditional navigation methods. On his return home from Pitcairn Jasper had a little less than two years to prepare. Never having built a boat before, and with only limited sailing experience, he set to work, and exactly 200 years to the day after Bligh was cast adrift, Jasper's boat, the Elizabeth Bligh, complete with crew, were standing off Tofua, and the perilous journey began.
Since making the open boat journey Jasper has been in demand as a Motivational, Leadership and After Dinner Speaker, whose action-packed talks, praised as 'inspiring and highly entertaining', have been well (received in all quarters.
Keith Shackleton, Jasper's father (b. 1923), is one of Britain's most eminent and sought-after wildlife artists. His paintings are mainly of landscape views and animals, and many of these are available as limited edition prints. Shackleton was a close friend of the conservationist and fellow wildlife-painter Sir Peter Scott (1909-89) and they visited Antarctica together. He was also a presenter on the BBC children's television programme Animal Magic.
Keith's impressive recent book, Ship in the Wilderness: Voyages of the MS "Explorer" through the Last Wild Places on Earth, written in collaboration with Jim Snyder and published by Gaia books (216 pages, col photos, illustrations), is a vivid and dramatic record of voyages through the Arctic, the North-West Passage, the Galapagos, the South Atlantic, the South Pacific and the Antarctic, on which the author and photographer worked as naturalists.