Adventurer, team reaches Antarctica

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cape agulhas Supplied Cadets and seasoned seamen offload earthmovers from the SA Agulhas on to the ice of Antartica.

Cape Town - The SA Agulhas has arrived in Antarctica and delivered British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes to the icy continent.

On Sunday, South African cadets and seasoned sailors aboard the training vessel, which sailed from Cape Town two weeks ago, were still unloading the explorer’s luggage - which includes two loaders and industrial-strength sleighs.

Anton Bowring, co-leader of the expedition, lauded the efforts of the South African Maritime Safety Authority cadets. He said the cadets had spent the past few days hooking up pallets, nets and slings with cargo from the holds.

Fiennes will spend the next six months as part of the Coldest Journey, an expedition which will see him and his team travel 4 000km across the frozen continent during winter.

The expedition isn’t just a crazy foray into freezing temperatures of -90°C. They will be the first to ever cross Antarctica during winter, raise money for the charity Seeing is Believing and making scientific advancements as part of the White Mars project.

Fiennes lost the tips of his fingers when he journeyed across the North Pole in 2000. He said this time they were better prepared.

But while the team reached Antarctica without a hitch, Bowring said they had a close shave yesterday.

Writing on the Coldest Journey blog, Bowring said they were forced to retreat from their docking position when ice at sea moved towards them. “This was always a possibility and, as a result, a constant watch has been maintained since we’ve been here to monitor the movement of sea ice.”

While the equipment was safely stored on shore, Bowring said it was frustrating because the weather was perfect for unloading the ship but snow was forecast for Tuesday.

He said it would take a day or two to unload the rest of the equipment.

- The wreckage of a plane has been found in Antarctica and three men are presumed dead.

The plane, operated by Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air, was reported missing after it failed to reach its destination on Wednesday.

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Cape Argus


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