Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 15

Final Blog-for now

En route from LA to Vancouver. It has been a whirlwind three days.

This is the final blog from Team CANDU-DID (for now)

We did it. After 38 days on the ice we reached the Geographical South Pole.
These last days have been a blur as it is often difficult to extricate from these expedition situations…

I would like to first THANK YOU ALL for the support….it was real nice to hear and that you liked to hear about this adventure….

When we reached the South Pole on Jan 12 at 12:30 PM PST
We were informed we would have to camp as pick up was not going to happen soon...

When we arrived at the Pole we were greeted by a rep from the Base who showed us around. We first went to the exact…. marker of the South Pole and the goal was complete. We had a tour of the new Amundsen-Scott South Pole Base building, and the rules which are you can use the bathrooms, (no showers) and help yourself to drinks and cookies in the cafeteria-no food…it was pleasure to sit in the warmth as the temp was around -40 C with the wind chill.We set up camp and waited, we camped about 50 meters from the South Pole. The day before was the official opening of the base so we just missed it. Rumour has it that this building, which took ten years to build is the most expensive building ever built per square foot…

The next day, Jan 13th we hung out…we took our photos around the Pole in cold conditions. We were informed our flight was en route…then a delay because the weather was a clouded at the Pole…so we sat and looked at the updates..things were at there grimmest when a sliver of blue appeared.
It turned out our Twin Otter with the 2 Canadian crew had stopped to pick up a frost victim from a Last Degree group and waited on the ground for an hour and half And just as they were going back they were told clear and flew in to pick us up..the frost victim, a gentleman from Dublin Ireland had a chance to see and be at the Pole before he was returned for medical care…turns out that was delayed as we stopped to refuel in the Thiel Mountains and the Pilot told us were were camping there as the weather at Patriot Hills was deteriorated…so no landing. So we took out our sleds and it was business as usual. Even helped the Pilots set up their tents as this wasn’t regular for them.
And it was nice and warm here-only -15 with beautiful mountains for scenery.

Next morning we were cleared and flew into Patriot Hills. Nice big lunch was waiting, with champagne and all. The food was good, so good we were worried we would overeat and then…yuck

but it was real great.
And a few hours later we had our dinner. And we were informed the Jet, an Ilyushin was due that night so no camping…yay! We hung out in the dining tent and sure enough the flight arrived 11:30 PM Jan 14th and we left Antarctica at 2 AM on January 15th. Got into Punta Arenas at 6:30 AM. Got to the Hotel and cleaned up—an hour shaving… and then was able to get on a flight this PM, so here I am after flying all night to LA bound for Vancouver. Home this afternoon…and dreams of the ice still follow..but could it be the lack of sleep over the last three days…?????



Connie H said...

Glad you are home safe George, can't wait to see the pictures.

Alice Coley said...

Cant wait to hear and see photos etc..etc..We (I) have your sis...Al.

linda said...

Glad to hear you made it in great shape George!
All our best!
Linda and Jacques

keith said...


Congrats on the accomplishment, I'll give You a call soon, e-mail me some pics.