Southern Hemisphere Expedition: Teacher Ray Timm Went on a Journey to the End of the World


A map of the original journey of Sir Ernest Shackleton

Auni I. and Suha H.

Raymond Timm, an adventurer and teacher of mathematics and physical education, went on a trip to the Falkland Islands, in Antarctica, Elephant Island and South Georgia Island on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Timm is always open for an adventure. Timm received an invitation through email by Manfred, a friend for 33 years who lives in Switzerland, to go on an expedition to Antarctica and South Georgia. He accepted the invitation without any hesitation, but Laura Timm, Timm’s wife and social studies teacher, hesitated for a moment, but very readily supported Timm’s decision. “Go for it … you might never get another chance,” she told him, even though she was aware of the dangers. She firmly believed, without a doubt, that he could overcome them.

Grade 7 Geography class sending Timm off to Antarctica and South Georgia with a package of Goodies. (Photo courtesy of Ray Timm)

Timm did not undertake this challenge simply to quench his thirst for thrill and adventure, but to commemorate and celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton by creating a reenactment of his expedition.

“Shortly after I made the decision to go … I was going to quit [teaching] for this year,” Timm said, “because I didn’t think that the school would allow me to go on a trip … and continue to employ me.”

Timm was ready to quit his job but was pleased to hear that Dan Mock, the head principal, very delightedly broke to him that was not necessary. 

Each member on the trip was there for a specific reason. Ray Timm was the trip doctor, and he believed that his medical mastery attained through experiences and general knowledge contributed a lot toward the success of the expedition.

On the trip, Timm faced many challenges. “One of two obstacles I faced during this trip was exhaustion,” Ray claimed. “There simply wasn’t enough calories to keep my energy up,”

Ray's first view of Antarctica
Ray’s first view of Antarctica. (Photo courtesy of Ray Timm)

Timm stated. “I wasn’t in charge of the food, other people were … They arranged dry cereal for breakfast, and oats. It couldn’t keep me going.” “So, if given the chance for another trip I would definitely change the food rather than have low- calorie food with not enough nutrients, not enough fat to keep my energy level up. [It] led to exhaustion,” “[I] ate snickers and olive oil to keep [my] energy up but I wished I’d taken more.” Timm said.

“Another problem I faced other than the obvious numbness in my fingers from the cold was sea sickness. Exhaustion and nauseousness led to severe sea sickness, and I had even lost 6 kilos in the first week,” Timm informed.

Ray Timm at Tower of Paine, Patagonia, Chile. (Photo courtesy of Ray Timm)

On Nov. 28, after days of staying in Chile, he finally flew to Falkland Island with his friend, Manferd and five other men. There, they met with the boat owners and waited for the other seven men to arrive in Falkland Island for four days. They finally sailed south to Antarctica which took them five days. They then sailed to South Georgia. Seven of the men went to shore, and Timm and five others stayed behind on the boat. They skied across South Georgia Island while pulling their 40 kilograms of supplies in sleighs while the five other men that were in the boat sailed around the island and went on a “Shackleton walk” and climb unclimbable mountains.

If given the chance to go again, Timm said he would “definitely convince [his] wife to go along, or travel alone or a small group of people unlike this one … This trip for me was memorable, adventurous and exhausting.”