Day One

Day 1: S80° 41' 29", W052° 31' 15" Daily distance: 1.37MI Distance to go: 1032MI

Go

If there’s one thing Antarctica seems to abhor, it’s a rigid plan. The update just after breakfast today was that I’d potentially be flying tonight. Two hours later, I was loading my sledge on to the little Twin Otter ski plane that would take me to my drop-off point on Berkner Island.

I made a couple of rushed satellite phone calls to Vicks Nicholson, who is managing the expedition’s logistics and communications for me, and to my fiancée Pip, had a couple of Antarctic bear-hugs (down here with everyone wearing oversized down jackets, you can only get your arms halfway round) and then clambered up the red ladder into the back of the aircraft.

I shared the flight with Hannah McKeand (here on her fourteenth season in Antarctica) who is flying further north after I’m dropped to establish a small camp at a penguin colony at Gould Bay. Hannah has skied solo to the South Pole (and for several years held the outright speed record for doing so) so she understands better than most what I’m embarking on. She also has an obvious passion for Antarctica so any trepidation I felt as I sat down soon dissipated as we looked out of the windows grinning, and as Hannah started the intercom banter with the pilots that kept us giggling for most of the two-hour flight.

It was windy enough to need goggles and a face mask when we landed, and the visibility in the low cloud and blowing snow was poor; the sort of weather – and the sort of goggles-and-hood-up claustrophobia – I’d been secretly dreading, but it felt fantastic to get going. I was dropped in the afternoon, and I’ve ‘lost’ three hours as I’m choosing to live and operate on UTC rather than on Chilean time, so I skied for 45 minutes before putting the tent up.

So far, so good! It’s a fantastic feeling being back in my tent in Antarctica, and I’m looking forward to trying to share the journey ahead with you through these words and pictures, all sent back via satellite…

Ben Saunders (@polarben)
08/11/17
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Comments

Patrick

10/11/2017

Glad to be following this time your adventure from day one.
Godspeed!

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Kevin Wright

09/11/2017

Hi Ben. All the best for the start of this great adventure. Looking forward to following you all the way and raising a glass on Christmas Day at the pole. Two glasses when you reach the other side! God speed! Cheers Kev

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Rudhraigh McGrath

09/11/2017

Ben.

I’m chained to a desk in London and you’re basically living my dream.

Ski for two mate.

xx

Rud

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Anton Uhl

09/11/2017

Ben,
You setting off on your next great adventure is like an alarm clock going off in our cushy civilized lives as we vicariously travel with you, being constantly reminded of how easy our lives are when we see what you so willingly subject yourself to…one of the greatest gifts of courage and inspiration you so generously bestow upon us! Safe travels, my friend!
Anton

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Dr LIAM HANNAWAY

08/11/2017

Good luck Ben, my children saw you talk at the Hay festival and want you to change your pants more than 3 times and hope you get a cheeseburger at the end! Stay safe

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mano

08/11/2017

I am following the journey with big interest and i wish you good luck! I have a technical question: how do you protect your face while sleeping against the cold weather?

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Mark Carson

08/11/2017

It’s great to be following your new journey again. You are a true inspiration. Good luck and have fun. May God travel with you as well, keeping you safe.

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Leohoulding

08/11/2017

go Ben! God speed, safe travels. See you for champagne and medals next time!!

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Whistle Norvell

08/11/2017

A cold and windy day in Antarctica is better than a warm and sunny day most anywhere else 😉

Best wishes for a fantastic and safe journey!

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Bård Haug

08/11/2017

Looking forward to «words and pictures, all sent back via satellite» from you Ben. Stay calm, keep cool and keep your body warm…..

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Mike Hammond

08/11/2017

Good luck Ben, hope the weather is kind, great to see you heading off on another adventure and looking forward to following the trip. Envious… maybe a little 😉

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Owen willls

08/11/2017

Wow, you’re such an inspiration.
Looking forward to being able to follow your journey via satellite
All the best 💪

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Verity Coxon

08/11/2017

Wonderful news that you’re on your way. Good luck and best wishes from us all at Ridgeview. We’ll be supporting you every step of the way!!!

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Nick M

08/11/2017

Go Ben!!!

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Gavin

08/11/2017

At least no unbearable waiting, back where you belong – pulling heavy things across cold places. H and I will be following all the way. God speed.

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Darren Gibbs

08/11/2017

PMA my friend 😉 good luck ,looking forward to following your journey

Reply
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