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Feb 01 2010 Expedition Journal  

Wednesday Jan 06 2010
They have just landed in Punta Arenas this morning and had very little sleep. All delighted to that much nearer home.

A couple of days to relax, shop, party and pack for their home ward journey. They are due to arrive at Heathrow on Saturday 9th Jan at 10.05 am terminal 3.

How many stories will they have to tell!

Picture - Iulsion flying them home.
Tuesday Jan 05 2010
Now waiting for the flight back to Punta Arenas ..... fingers crossed they fly tonight, all weather dependant.

We are saying our prayers that they get the weather window they need to fly this evening.
Monday Jan 04 2010
Flying back they had to fly above the clouds at 16 000 feet in a non compressurised plane to avoid turbulence - their were a few fuzzy heads!

But then a party to remember back at the base thanks to ALE and their staff ... a really warm welcome, followed by a fabulous meal and the champagne was flowing!!
Sunday Jan 03 2010
They are flying back to Patriot Hills this evening ..... which is great, one step nearer home!
Saturday Jan 02 2010
Had a tour of the base which was very informative,been told about the research they do, how they built the base and the logistics involved.

Taken more photo's - you can't have too many!
Friday Jan 01 2010
Waiting at the Pole ..... taking photo's and trying to absorb their amazing achievement.

They have run round the world ...... going round the Pole in and out of different time zones what fun!
Thursday Dec 31 2009
FANTASTIC ...... they have arrived at the Pole.

Here's to a big well deserved party for them!

They wish everyone a very Happy New Year.
Wednesday Dec 30 2009
A long day and have walked 10 miles .... only 10 to go!!

They have also sighted the POLE how fantstic is that ...... they all cheered even if it was 14 miles away. It looks like black dots on the horizon what an amazing sight after all this time of just seeing white.

Position 80.50 ...... can't wait for tomorrows news!

Picture - First sight of the base.
Tuesday Dec 29 2009
Cloudy day -35C .... cold for sure.

Still hard work pulling sledges full of supplies, uphill at altitude and little to focus on or distract the mind from any discomfort you have. It really is a challenge of mind over matter!

Hoping that they are going to be partying at the Pole for New Years Eve, the last 20 miles to go now ..... but its not over until you cross the line, nothing can be taken for granted .

Monday Dec 28 2009
Another cold day battling against the elements - -30C. They walked for 6 hours, position 89.30 and now have only 30 miles to go.

They are getting quicker in camp from waking to walking in 2 hours and 6 minutes and are officially the fastest team that Mike has ever taken.

Wendy navigated for 2 hours and got them up to a good pace.

Now in their tent thinking about friends and family, and creature comforts back home that we all take for granted.
Sunday Dec 27 2009
It's getting colder -33C. Position 89.20, they have walked for 5.5 hours and covered 9.3 miles which is fabulous.

The team are getting stronger, terrific morale and starting to close in on the pole.

It takes them 2 hours 22 minutes from waking to walking which is fast - it is amazing how long it takes to melt the snow, boil the water for drinks, breakfast etc - no kettle for them!

Saturday Dec 26 2009
Very very cold -27C but they have covered 8 miles which is good going - position 89.11.

Wendy is still looking for the oxygen shop ... altitude does make this journey very hard.

Katie built a snowman yesterday and today has created a palm tree, obvioulsy trying to convince herself she is somewhere warmer!! Positive thinking I would say.
Friday Dec 25 2009
Crossed into the last degree and all cheered - just under 70 miles to go! Position 89.03 81.40. Seemed to climb uphill all day but now have a stunning view for about 20 miles.

Team are in good shape. They have opened Christmas cards, presents and party popper streamers are decorating the tent, they are just waiting for their Christmas pudding to cook!

They wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to partying with family and friends in 2010.
Thursday Dec 24 2009
It's getting colder -32C and covered 6.5 miles today.

Katie led 2 sessions and in a straight line.

A gauranteed white Christmas for our polar travellers who have 200 million 800 thousand cms of snow, hey and we think we have alot in England!

Spirits are high and imagination ... as they have a horse, snake, bunny and duck following them and have also called in at the oxygen shop - altitude is not easy.

All missing friends and family.
Wednesday Dec 23 2009
Another cold day -28C cloudy and little sunshine. All well and have covered 7 miles today.

They are the fastest team at putting the tent up and getting the stove on in 5 minutes which is fantastic and quite amazing!

Position tonight 88.50 81.39.

Katie, Mike and Ian say Hi and send their love to family and friends.
Tuesday Dec 22 2009
Very cold -28C - clear blue sky and sunny.

They walked for 5 and half miles before making camp. Now drying their gear - face masks, socks and gloves. Looking forward to that dehydrated meal!

Katie is pulling strongly - we knew she would after all her training.

Wendy says Hi to everyone who knows her!

And Shally sends his love to his family.

Monday Dec 21 2009
The expedition begins ....they flew up in a Twin Otter today to their start point on the plateau which took 5 hours. Amazing conditions blue sky, sunshine but -26C.

The team walked for 2 hours before making camp ...... they need to acclimatise and take it easy for the first couple of days as they are now at altitude...... the South Pole is at 10,000 ft.

Shally says Hi and wishes all his staff a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Sunday Dec 20 2009
Today they have been fine tuning rations, ski bindings etc getting ready for the flight onto the plateau tomorrow. They fly at 10 am weather allowing.

They have also visited the communications tent to see how things operate .... and a further insight into the marvellous world of ALE.

Shally is learning Spanish!

Stew is for dinner ..... soon they will be living on dehydrated meals on their trek to the South Pole.

Picture of Patriot Hills .... their base camp.
Saturday Dec 19 2009
A balmy day in Antarctica ..... Mike and Shally skied back to Patriot Hills at the end of their training trip with their chests exposed to the elements!!

The team are having fun.
Friday Dec 18 2009
Another sunny day little wind and blue sky ..... fantastic how fortunate are they ..... this is the way to see Antarctica in all its beauty - -5C.

They are all packed up and about to set off (lunch time) on their 2 day training trip.

Picture is of Patriot Hills in the sunshine ...... how wonderful is that!

Happy Birthday Mike.
Thursday Dec 17 2009
They flew to Patriot Hills late yesterday evening and received a warm welcome from the staff of ALE along with a wonderful meal ....... which everyone enjoyed .... hospitality is second to none out there.

Today the weather has been perfect - 6C, sunshine and little wind. They have been busy adjusting ski bindings, packing sledges, acclimatising and getting ready for their 2 day training session before they fly up onto the plateau.

All in good spirits and can't quite believe they are out there!

This picture shows their first view of Antarctica as they landed and when the tailgate of the plane dropped down .... an amazing sight.

Ian says Happy Birthday to his dad and sends you his love.
Wednesday Dec 16 2009
ALE's safety brief was given by Nick Lewis which was very informative, advice along with examples were given about frost bite ..... and how to avoid it!

The team were also tested for 2 hours on their training and competencies sheet .... it is so important that everyone understands how to keep warm, look after themselves in this hostile environment (Antarctica), how to watch out for each other, the first signs of frost bite etc. You have to work as a team out there.

The team is very strong, spirits are high .... a few nerves and butterflies are now in the mix as they are on standby to fly to Patriot Hills. They are still waiting for a favourable weather window...... and for the phone call to say it is a GO! It won't be long now ..........

They are on their way how exciting ..... Antarctica here they come ......
Tuesday Dec 15 2009
Finalised shopping and packing which always takes longer than expected! Practised the tent routine numerous times and eventually we were able to get it up in 4 mins 32 seconds which was fantastic. It is essential that we are very efficient at this as we will soon be battling against the elements in Antarctica.

Off to a safety briefing by ALE in preparation for our flight to Patriot Hills tomorrow.

Fun was had by all last night when we went out for another wonderful meal ... more team bonding!

We are enjoying listening to Shally play the guitar which is giving Hostel Fitzroy a fabulous ambiance.
Monday Dec 14 2009
Yesterday's major task was sorting the food for our time at Patriot Hills and on the trek. The upstairs landing of Hotel Fitzroy resembled a Sainsbury´s store - all the food had to be counted, sorted into individual days, bagged, sealed and bags marked. Each bag contains individual packets of dehydrated food (one packet each), chocolate bars (galaxy, snickers, mars - 20 x 5 people- you do the maths!), tea bags, porridge or granola, sugar, cake or biscuits, milk powder (for the cereal), nuts (one packet each and enough for two days), infusions and isotonic drinks. Suffice to say we will all eat well.

Yesterday was election day in Peunta A, all shops, restaurants, cafes and bars are closed until tomorrow. The only place to get something to eat are in the hotels so we found one with a sea view where we have just spent a very relaxing 2 hrs. Of course one of main topics of conversation is the X Factor and who will win tonight - we all feel it is wide open!

Bye for now.
The South Polers
Sunday Dec 13 2009
Fun was had by all last night when the team were taken out for drinks with two of the owners from ALE Peter McDowell and Nick Lewis .... the atmosphere was buzzing!

Packing sledges, food, training and now on count down .... not long now!
Saturday Dec 12 2009
All arrived safely in Punta Arenas along with the equipment - which is always a relief as it is so hard to replace anything out there. They are going to catch up on some much needed sleep after their long flight. Final preparations will start tomorrow.
Friday Dec 11 2009
All arrived at Madrid airport yesterday evening and are now waiting to get on their flight to Santiago. They are hoping to fly to Punta Arenas today so fingers crossed. All in good spirits.

This afternoon they arrived in Santiago but are not flying to Punta Arenas until tomorrow because the early connection was not possibly. No problem as the team are enjoying themselves and off to site see this beautiful city.

Thursday Dec 10 2009
How exciting as we are travelling to the airport today to meet the team for the first stage of our journey. Everyone will travel via Madrid and Santiago to Punta Arenas, as featured in the picture - where they should arrive Friday evening.

Wednesday Dec 09 2009
A very busy day packing, interspersed with the odd media interview.
Tuesday Dec 08 2009
So where are we at? Well on Sunday the team met at our house for the afternoon and we distributed the last items of kit people were short of. From here we had a short walk to the village hall to have our first go at erecting tents and lighting stoves. It won't be the last training sesion, but we have made a start. By the time we go on the ice I want everyone to accomplish both tasks together in five minutes, which is the benchmark time for an efficient team. The evening was concluded at the local because all good teams need refreshment...

Picture here are Wendy and Ian - a good day and everything on track.
Saturday Dec 05 2009
This is the opening entry for Shackletons Unfinished Journey 2009. Our expedition does not intend to repeat or emulate the journey made by Sir Ernest Shackleton 100 years ago but to celebrate it within the Centenary year. We aim to fly to 88.23 South - the same latitude from where he turned back in 1909 to avoid his team dying from starvation - and ski to the Pole from there.

Nevertheless, the journey is still not an easy one. Our team is of limited experience, and will be walking in temperatures of around minus 30C at an altitude of around 9000 feet.

The members include, Shally Suri 56 years, a pharmacist from Nottingham, Ian Berry 43 years, an IT manager from Croyden, Wendy Kidd, a publicist from Northern Ireland and last but not least, Katie Walter just 17 years old, a school girl from North Nottinghamshire.

Finally at the end of their extremely challenging period of fund-raising, and in difficult financial times, it promises to be an exciting and hugely rewarding experience for all concerned.

- Pictured here is Susan, a friend of Fiona's standing at the South Pole as the sun rises for the very first time in the year - a sun rising, and spiraling, steadily higher each day as it readies itself to greet our team in early January. Incredibly, at the South Pole the sun only rises and and sets once each year!