Monday, January 23, 2012

Back to civilization!

What a journey! The team is now back, or at least en route, to their respective homes after departing Antarctica on Sunday. They had a very brief layover in Punta Arenas where they were able to enjoy a hot shower for the first time in 60 days! Ahh....

It has been our great pleasure to share this expedition with all of you, and we thank you for supporting the team with your many messages of encouragement and congratulations. We hope that you have enjoyed the daily updates from the team!

Though it may sound easy, the act of finding the sat phone, warming up the batteries, getting a good signal (which may require leaving the tent) and then attempting to sound upbeat and positive even though you are exhausted, on a NIGHTLY basis, it a lot of work. We'd like to thank each team member for his or her part is keeping us posted, and allowing us to share the journey. It's been an incredible adventure!

There's no doubt that this was a remarkable journey. If even a little bit of our team's determination, courage and passion for life rubs off on us we will be better people for it!

Again, thanks for following this expedition blog.

Until the next adventure... (which will be re-creating Shackleton's South Georgia crossing in October, 2012. Find out more by emailing Annie)

Your friends at PolarExplorers

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Still at Union Glacier...

Today the team reports that they are still at Union Glacier awaiting favorable conditions for the flight back to Punta Arenas. They are with many other adventurers who were a part of the Scott centennial celebration and everyone is comfortable, very well fed and warm. Three amazingly simple pleasures after more than 50 days of being relatively uncomfortable, well fed (but the same thing day after day) and cold!

Of course everyone hopes to fly back to Punta Arenas as soon as possible. Their long-awaited return to family and friends is drawing near and they are very excited for their respective reunions. We will keep updating the blog as long as the team is in Antarctica, so check back again soon. And make sure to listen to BB's audio report recently posted on yesterday's blog entry.

Friday, January 20, 2012

South Pole pictures...

We have received these wonderful pictures from the South Pole and one from the team at Union Glacier as well as an audio update from BB describing the last couple of days. They are now comfortably relaxing at Union Glacier Basecamp and enjoying the company of many fellow adventurers.


At the South Pole. Bob in red, Lisa in black, BB in blue.

At Pole.

BB at Pole setting a record!

BB and Bob

Back at Union Glacier!

Update to They made it!!

We received some additional information from the team...

Their push to the Pole was a marathon 15 hours of skiing! No wonder they are tired! When they got to the Pole they were treated to a celebration dinner complete with champagne. They ate in the mess tent that is a part of the South Pole visitor's camp. (Having a South Pole camp for adventurers is not normal. It is a result of the increased visitation that the Pole received this season as a result of the 100 year anniversary.) They also had a 1.5 hour tour of the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station, home to around 100 scientists during the austral summer and as many support staff. And of course they had a photo session with the South Pole markers. Everyone was in great spirits and VERY happy to be at the Pole.

Right now they should be en route to Union Glacier Basecamp. Once there they will re-charge their communication equipment and send us some photos. In the mean time I came upon this photo that was sent a while back while the team was en route to the Pole. I'm not sure HOW I managed to let this one go without posting, but here it is!

That's Bob, Oskar and Dennis enjoying the warmer temperatures.

It's not often that you actually see your skin on an expedition because it's usually covered in layers of grimy base layers. Here the boys look very happy & healthy but they may be surprised when they see themselves in the mirror back in Punta Arenas. Even with putting on 15-20 lbs prior to the expedition most team members will lose significant weight. As one team member on our Full North Pole Expedition commented at the end of his expedition "I didn't even recognize my own shadow!"

We hope to have another posting yet today with additional information so don't forget to check back again soon!

They made it!!!

Hooray! The team has reached the South Pole! After a marathon last day of skiing they reached the Pole at around 3 AM Chile time. They are very happy, very excited and VERY tired! When they phoned in they were currently relaxing in the heated mess tent near the Pole. What a luxury to be able to stand up inside a tent!

The audio report is very garbled from a bad connection, but the message came through loud and clear - they are there! We expect them to report in again once they've had a chance to get a little R & R. We are extremely proud of the team and their collective accomplishment. Great job BB, Bob & Lisa!!

Check back again soon for another update!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Almost there!

The team reported in very early this morning that they had a big day yesterday, covering 34km in 14 hours of travel. They ended at S 89.42.062, W 77.49.710. They are all tired but very, very excited. They will try to get eight hours of sleep and then do the same push tomorrow.

If they have clear weather they should be able to see the Amundsen Scott South Pole station a couple hours into their day tomorrow. At first they will see a small dark speck on the horizon almost like a trick to the eye. As it slowly gets bigger they will see tiny dots moving around. These will be trucks traveling near the station to and from research areas. Finally the building itself will take shape and details such as windows will come into view. This will be an incredible feeling for them! Let's all hope they have good visibility to allow them this small treat.

Listen to Bob's audio update and check back again soon!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

100 years ago today...

Today the team reports 24 kilometers covered in 10.5 hours. As they skied today they were thinking about many things, perhaps chief among them Robert Falcon Scott's South Pole Expedition. 100 years ago today Scott's expedition reached the South Pole. The team had traveled over 1300 kilometers with grueling conditions and the burden of knowing that another team may very well be ahead of them. When they reached the Pole their worst fears were realized, Amundsen had arrived first. But history remembers both expeditions and both explorers with respect. Scott's expedition was remarkable in many ways and today was a day to remember and celebrate his team's incredible achievement.

Scott's team at the South Pole.

Of course there were other things on their minds including reaching the South Pole! The team plans to push hard in the next couple of days with the hope of reaching the pole early on January 20. They are currently at S 89.23.908, W 81.35.332.

Several people have asked at what point the South Pole station will become visible to the team. If weather conditions are very clear the team should be able to see the South Pole station at least 20 kilometers away. But the terrain is rolling and the Pole will come and go from visibility.

Make sure to listen to BB's audio update and check back again tomorrow to hear about the team's progress as they approach the Pole!