Sunday, November 1, 2009

Singaporean aiming for South Pole history!

Photo: map of the South Pole
There are 3 extreme points on our planet which have always beckoned to be conquered...the North Pole, the South Pole and Mt Everest - the highest mountain on earth. The geographical North Pole actually lies over a portion of frozen ocean ice that can shift. The South Pole lies about 93o km from the Ross Ice Shelf in the heart of Antartica itself.
All 3 extreme points have been first conquered by bold men who have since left their footprints in history.
Everest, earth's highest point was first scaled by SirEdmund Hillary(New Zealand) and Tenzing Norgay(Nepal) on 29 May 1953.
The North Pole was by American Navy engineer Robert Peary, Matthew Henson and 4 Inuit men on 6 April 1909..although some disputed this, the event has mainly remained.
About two years later, the race to be the first to conquer the South Pole began with 2 different from Norway and the other from Britain that would result in fame for the history-making team and great tragedy for the other.

The polar expedition to the South Pole led by Roald Amundsen and 4 other fellow Norwegians reached their objective on 14 December 1911.
Photo: The Norway team and the flag they planted in 1911.

The British expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott managed to reach the South Pole...34 days after Amundsen. They were greatly disappointed to see the Norway flag and Amundsen's tent fluttering at the spot. While Amundsen and his team made it back safely to a hero's welcome, it was not to be for Captain Scott and his 4 other team members. They perished in the return leg, caught up by blizzards, extreme weariness, the bitter cold, lack of food and all their horses had died. Yes, they made the fatal mistake of using horses which were not suited to the extreme cold and conditions. Amundsen used polar dogs.
However, the irony remains that in their tragic South Pole trek, Robert Scott and his ill-fated team became even more famous and well-known than the the world at large. Unk Dicko remembers reading that famous book ' Captain Scott's Last Expedition' from end to end several times.

Photo: Captain Scott and his men...
Oates, Wilson, Evans and Henry Bowers who took the picture. The tent belonged to Amundsen's team with the Norway flag fluttering.

Photo: Captain Scott and his team after planting the British flag.

Photo: The London Herald announced the death of Scott and his expedition members in February 1913.
The news of the tragedy was kept under wraps from the public for certain reasons in 1912.

In the years since then, many adventurers have landed at the south pole...including our very own from Singapore -intrepid Khoo Swee Chiow in 1999 and followed by Edwin Siew and Robert Goh in 2000.
The Antartica is no ordinary adventure playground!
It requires a tremendous amount of preparation, skill
and funding to launch an expedition to the pole.
So...WHO is this latest SINGAPOREAN aiming to be the first Singaporean (-----) to reach one of the three ultimate geographical spots on earth?
To find out ,don't miss my next blogpost with many photos of this most truly inspiring and remarkable adventurer newbie! First person report and pics by Unk Dicko.

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