Intrepid explorer and Credit Suisse employee Guillaume Danis is leaving behind the day job to sail to the Arctic, battling ice, avoiding polar beers and raising money for FareShare as he goes. A Director in Credit Suisse’s Equities team, Guillame is taking a three month sabbatical for the once in a lifetime trip and set sail from Canary Wharf on 1 June.
We caught up with him about childhood dreams, trusty boats and polar bears before his departure.
Guillaume on the Boreal with his wife just before his departure from Canary Wharf.
Why are you undertaking this trip?
Since I was a child I always wanted to be an explorer. It’s not the kind of feeling you get taking the tube every morning, going to work, you have other kinds of satisfaction from that. It is a special dream, going to the ice and seeing the wildlife.
Tell us about the boat you’ll be sailing in
The boat was commissioned by my father to go around the world. My father died before being able to fulfil his dream but we decided as a family to keep it. She’s made of aluminium, very close to an expedition boat. She’s been built to go to the North and is the kind of boat you need to be safe.
What’s your motivation?
It’s a good opportunity to raise awareness about global warming. The one fact that is important is: there are 3000 polar bears in Svalbard, by 2050 half of them will have disappeared. With the ice melting they cannot hunt for seals and they so will starve to death and this is happening in our lifetime.
The link to FareShare is very important because managing food waste is something we can do in communities to participate in sustainable development. I think it’s fantastic that we can go on this journey; starting with the dream of global warming issues and the more practical aspect of how can we have an impact on sustainable issues on a day to day basis.
What will be the hardest bit of the trip?
On Monday, when I step off the platform and the kids will be on the other side, with my wife.
Are you prepared for Polar bears?
You have to accept the fact that they are a hungry animal and to them you are a nice delicious meal. You have to be prepared, you have to carry a rifle. I’m not planning on killing a polar bear, if I do it will be to save my life or the life of my crew but if I am in this position, I will have already made a mistake.
Who are you taking with you?
The first crew and the most important crew is definitely the family. My wife and the kids have been very much behind this project. They will come for two weeks.
Beyond this we have a crew of friends and 40 people from Credit Suisse for different legs. So at any one point we will have between 4-8 people on board. I’m very hopeful that it will be a fascinating experience for them and I’m hoping they will disembark as very different people from when they stepped on board.
A message for FareShare’s followers
What I’ve realised by preparing this expedition is that a personal dream can really transform one’s life. I have met very different people and am aware of very different issues, starting with FareShare. I’m very glad that we are a good way towards raising important money for FareShare that will have an impact.
Yes this project is a personal dream, but we morphed it into something bigger by giving to people through FareShare.
Sailing around the stunning landscapes of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.