The flags of two nations are hoisted at the South Pole, as the first team of six reaches their destination.
...and the flag of Langesund Elementary School, drawned and signed by each of the students, who have followed the expedition from day to day, is proudly unfurled by Britt Thorstensen and expedition leader Børge Ousland. Greetings back to all the children – from the South Pole!
Report from Børge: We held fast to our routines and got up at the usual time this morning. Navigation today has been incredibly simple – just steer toward the buildings and radar station that we’ve had in view all day. I have enjoyed walking last in line, while the others have taken turns leading the group. Other days, especially when weather conditions have been difficult, I have led the way, because when you can’t see anything, navigation requires a fair bit of experience.
Already when we reached the runway, a representative from the base came to greet us. We have gotten a wonderful reception her at the South Pole! I know quite a few of the people at this base. Many of them were here in 1995, when I walked my solo expedition to the South Pole, and they are here still. For me it’s been great to see them again – especially my good friend Svein Lidström, a Swedish researcher. I met him for the first time twelve years ago, and we’ve kept in contact. Svein is the veteran and nestor here at the South Pole Base, and he immediately invited all of us to a party!
Within an hour of arriving, we all stood in a warm room with soft sofas, a nice cold beer in our hands. What a transition! I think many of us had to pinch our arm to realize this was really true – so huge was the contrast to life out on the ice. But we have arrived; we can finally relax, and we can enjoy very different surroundings to that of the last two weeks, with the almost constant wind, the cold, and the efforts of pulling our pulks ever forward.
Afterwards the others received a guided tour of the South Pole Base. I pitched our tents and spoke with Patriot Hills via my satellite telephone.
Our plan is unchanged: A Twin Otter is coming tomorrow morning. The aeroplane will first pick up Svante, Helen, Adrian, Andrew and Rudi, flying them to within a day’s march of the South Pole. While they are proceeding to the destination – the goal of our expedition – our group will be flown back to Patriot Hills.
I will remain here to receive Svante’s group, returning with them. A new flight is scheduled a couple of days from now.
I am happy to report that our first group has arrived safely. It has been a magnificent adventure, with friendship and fine shared experiences every single day! Most are intoxicated by their victory, and everything is new and exciting at the South Pole.
What I am looking most forward to is to receive Svante’s group, to meet the rest of our team again. I have sent you one photo from the Pole. I’ll send more tomorrow – but now I am going to sleep.
Thank you for all the messages that we have received en route, and those after our arrival. They have been wonderful support and inspiration! I promise you that everyone here is thinking of their loved ones back home – and all are glad that the expedition has gone as well as it did. We’re greatly looking forward to hearing more about how Svante’s team has experienced their adventures, and how they have met the challenges they have faced.
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