Expedition 5 heads to Papua New Guinea

05 April 2017: An ex-Royal Marine about to set out on the next leg of a gruelling world record attempt has spoken about how important Inmarsat satellite communications are to the Expedition 5 mission.

Louis Nethercott and fellow Commandos veteran Anthony Lambert are heading to Papua New Guinea today as part of their bid to trek across the five biggest islands on Earth. They successful traversed Borneo at the end of last year.

Now as then, they will rely on Inmarsat to keep them connected to the outside world as they take on the challenge of trekking through the dense jungles of the largely unexplored country.

Smartphone connectivity

In a video blog, Louis says the pair are “incredibly lucky” to have Inmarsat sponsor them with robust IsatPhone 2 satellite phones and a compact IsatHub terminal to use with their own smartphones and apps.

“Satcoms are so important for so many reasons: safety, morale, to get content back so we can share the journey with everyone,” he explains.

“The IsatPhone 2s were awesome in Borneo. They stood up to everything thrown at them and they got a satellite fix anywhere we had clear line of sight to the sky.

‘Brilliant kit’

“IsatHub is also robust and easy to use – it creates a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can email, send pictures and video; it’s a brilliant bit of kit.”

The second largest island in the world, Papua New Guinea sits just above the equator due north of Australia. It is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, with over 852 recorded languages.

The interior is home to numerous groups of uncontacted peoples, and researchers believe there are many undiscovered species of plants and animals.

WWII route

Starting in the northern coastal town of Madang, the self-styled “mad explorers” will navigate a north to south crossing, using supply routes carved out by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during the Second World War.

They will be forced to cross a knife edge ridgeline more than 3,000m (9,800ft) high, before heading south over jungle-clad mountain ranges rising to over 4,500m (14,800ft).

The two men, who both served in Afghanistan in 2011, are attempting to set a new world record while highlighting the mental health issues facing military veterans and fundraising for the Royal Marines Charity and Help for Heroes.

Following Borneo and Papua New Guinea, they will make unsupported crossings of Madagascar, Greenland and Baffin Island, using only human power.