The adventurer twins exploring the most remote parts of the world


(CNN) — They’ve already rowed across the Atlantic, flown over Australia with paramotors and traveled to some of the world’s most remote places.

Now UK adventurers Hugo and Ross Turner, also known as the Turner Twins, are heading off on a brand new adventure — a 100% emission free expedition to the Atlantic Pole of Inaccessibility (POI).

Known as the Blue Pole Project powered by Quintet Earth, the voyage, likely to take around six weeks, will see the pair set sail from the UK, via the Canary Islands and the Azores archipelago, to the point in the Atlantic Ocean furthest away from land in any direction.

The Turner Twins, who are scheduled to depart towards the end of June, will travel on a 12-meter yacht fitted with a prototype hydrogen fuel cell in a bid to put the spotlight on hydrogen fuel technology, as well as ocean advocacy.

Research expedition

Ross and Hugo Turner (right) will be setting sail to the Atlantic Pole of Inaccessibility at the end of June.

Ross and Hugo Turner (right) will be setting sail to the Atlantic Pole of Inaccessibility at the end of June.

Turner Twins

They”ll also rely on hydrogen, which is created using renewable energy rather than fossil fuels, to power all of their equipment.

The pair, who’ve already traveled to four of the Poles of Inaccessibility, are collecting data for Plymouth University’s International Marine Litter Research Unit that will be used to help develop a clean up strategy for marine plastic pollution

“The core of what we’re trying to do is discover something new,” Ross Turner tells CNN Travel. “To be curious and use new technology and science to make our trips more sustainable.

“And if we can prove that they [the new technologies] are more sustainable in these extreme environments, then it should give a good example for everyone back in cities and normal life that the new sustainable technologies are very much user friendly every day.”

The Turner Twins, who haven’t been on a major expedition since 2019, say they’re hugely excited about their upcoming adventure.

Their adventures together began at a young age. The pair say they spent much of their time “getting lost in their garden” during their younger years, before they were old enough to explore Dartmoor National Park, a vast moorland in Devon, southwest England close to the home they grew up in.

However, it was a freak accident that led to Hugo Turner breaking his neck and subsequently having neck reconstruction at the age of 17 that set them on the path to becoming professional adventurers.

“I think for us, life got put into perspective,” says Ross Turner. “And we just thought, we’ve got to go and live life while we’ve got our health.

“So we rode across the Atlantic when we were 23. And since then, we’ve just gone on to more expeditions.”

Those expeditions include climbing 18,510 feet to the snow summit of Mount Elbrus in Russia and attempting to cross the Greenland ice cap.

While each of these journeys has taught them something, they single out their journey to the South American Pole of Inaccessibility, which they traveled to in 2017, as being one of the most challenging.

“What an idiotic trip that was,” says Hugo Turner. “They say ignorance is bliss. Going from the west coast of South America and Arica, the northern tip of Chile, up and over the Andes was a very stupid idea.

“We went from sea level to 4,700 meters in about three days, with around 50 or 60 kilograms on each bike, through deserts and just straight uphill.”

Once they’ve completed this latest journey, the Turner Twins will be the first people to have reached five of the POIs — Australian, North American, South America, Iberia and the Atlantic, although they stress that this isn’t the motivation for them at all.

Record-breaking journey

The Turner Twins on their expedition to Greenland in 2014.

The Turner Twins on their expedition to Greenland in 2014.

Turner Twins

“It’s never been that important to us to be the first to reach these polls of accessibility,” says Hugo Turner, explaining that their central aim is for those who follow their journey to learn something through it.

“Whether that’s environmental sustainability, medical research, geographical — because none of these polls have been documented — that’s really what the whole base of these expeditions is, to discover something.”

They’ve had to come up with various solutions to ensure that their upcoming voyage remains totally emission free, but say the process has been “relatively easy” in many ways.

“In terms of propulsion, as long as you’ve got an electric battery, once the battery is drained, we sail and the propeller recharges the engine,” says Ross Turner.

“We’re using the same systems we’ve used across all our other expeditions, with little tweaks to make it more sustainable or emission free.

“We’re just applying everything we’ve learned in a slightly different way.”

As they prepare for yet another significant jaunt together, each of the Turner Twins feel extremely grateful to have a constant companion who shares the same dreams.

“We’re amazingly lucky,” says Hugo Turner. “Because we both have exactly the same goals and aspirations, and we’re completely aligned on where we want to go. Everything else just follows that.

“There are certainly heated arguments, debates and conversations about how to get to the endpoint.

Modern adventurers

The Turner Twins will be setting sail on a 12-meter yacht fitted with a prototype hydrogen fuel cell.

The Turner Twins will be setting sail on a 12-meter yacht fitted with a prototype hydrogen fuel cell.

Turner Twins

“But you know, that always steers the ship. So we’re both on board with that. It’s the backbone of what makes this a successful partnership.”

The lead up to the Blue Pole Project has been particularly “intense” — they’ve been spending around 16 hours a day on the yacht for weeks in order to get it ready — and both admit they’re itching to get started.

“I’m looking forward to sailing under the stars with this boat,” says Ross Turner. “And I’m sure we’ll have lots of beautiful moments.”

Once they’ve completed the expedition to the Atlantic POI, the pair will set off on a tour of the UK, stopping at around 13 port cities.

So what’s next for the Turner Twins? Greenland, Madagascar, Eurasia and Point Nemo — the other Poles of Inaccessibility, of course.

According to Ross Turner, an expedition to Madagascar is “on the horizon” next year, then a trip to Greenland the year after.

The Eurasian POI would be next on the list, but a potential visit here is currently in doubt.

Although its exact location is disputed, the possible locations lie in the northern part of Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwest China that’s been subject to allegations of human rights abuses.

“Whether we can get there, I don’t know,” he adds, before explaining that they’re planning to travel to Point Nemo, the Pacific Ocean’s POI, last.

They have no plans to visit the African POI, which is situated near the joining of the borders of the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC,) and South Sudan.

Sustainability remains at the forefront of their minds while they continue their epic adventures around the world, and the pair hope they can help to normalize the use of the hydrogen.

“It will be great to be able to do a fully hydrogen-powered project in the future,” says Hugo Turner. “That would be a really good step in the right direction.”

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