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[p]Oakland International Group Chief Executive Dean Attwell, is now undertaking his next challenge, the South Pole. The trip is 100% self-funded so all money raised from Dean’s South Pole Expedition will be to directly support a local charity called Molly Olly’s Wishes [url=https://www.mollyolly.co.uk/]https://www.mollyolly.co.uk/[/url]. The charity supports children with terminal or life threatening illnesses and their families to help with their emotional wellbeing. [/p][p][b]Monday 13th January[/b][/p][p]Today the team flew back to the Union Glacier Basecamp after a fun night at the South Pole. Flying back is a relaxing, reflective time. With the White Continent stretching out below the frosted windows of the plane, and the hum of the propellers creating soothing background noise, the polar plateau fades away into almost a dream-like memory. But the hardships of the journey, the moments of excitement, the laughs and necessary motivation to put one foot in front of the next, all day every day, will stay with each member of the team forever.[/p][p]Back at Union Glacier there was time for further celebration which is easy when there are buffet style meals and never ending hot water (already melted!). Brief showers with melted snow are additional cause for excitement.[/p][p]Tomorrow (Tuesday) Dean, Zdenek and Martin are scheduled to return to Punta Areans. Brian and Keith will continue on to Mt. Vinson, where they will take their first steps toward the summit. We want to thank everyone for following the Last Degree Expedition blog. We hope you will stick around for Mt. Vinson![/p][p][b]Sunday 12th January[/b][/p][p]Today the team finished of the final stretch and reached the South Pole! The guys woke up this morning with only 5 nautical miles between them and the pole. At this point the expedition schedule is second nature and they packed up and on trail efficiently. Approaching the South Pole is different than any of their previous days because there is actually something to see on the horizon. The buildings of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station grew closer and closer over the few relaxed hours of skiing.[/p][p]When they arrived at the South Pole camp, they ditched their sleds and commenced the celebration. This successful expedition marks the 100th expedition in PolarExplorers history. This team finished their epic journey with class and style and we could not be more proud of them. Listen to the audio update below for all the details and thank you so much for following along![/p][p][b]Saturday 11th January [/b][/p][p]The light in Antarctica can be amazing. In addition to the brilliant sun that beams down on clear days, one can often see halos (rainbow like rings around the sun), double halos, [url=https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/photo-week-dogs-antarctic-sun]sun dogs[/url] and all sorts of mind bending optics. Today the light looked apocalyptic, with the wind creating a ground blizzard, contrasted by the sun occasionally breaking through the maelstrom.[/p][p]That is, it looked apocalyptic if you remembered to look up from the tips of your skis, which is where the eyes naturally tend to settle in the rhythmic motion of skiing. If you can remember to look up, you are frequently rewarded with powerful moments and images that will be forever etched into your heart and mind.[/p][p]As the team slept last night the wind rattled their tents, and picked up to a gnarly 22 knots. By morning snow drifts covered their sleds and portions of their tents. A good dig-out is one way to warm up the muscles in the morning, and that's exactly what they had to do. Luckily the wind settled throughout the day and hopefully tomorrow will be easier and more pleasant.[/p][p]They are now settled in for the night roughly 5 nautical miles from the Pole. If they wake to clear skies it's likely that the South Pole station will be in sight (which is always SUPER exciting).[/p][p]Everyone is doing well and looking forward to tomorrow![/p][p][b]Friday 10th January[/b][/p][p]The weather made today significantly more challenging for our team with -25C (-13F) temperatures and sustained 10 knot winds gusting to 15 knots throughout the day. In these conditions, the wind chill factor is around -33 degrees Celcius!...[/p][p]With the wind coming from their left all day it was a challenge to keep the left side of their faces warm and protected, but everyone was perfectly hail at the end of the day, if a bit tired. Right now, they are only 12 nautical miles away from the South Pole and plan to arrive on Sunday, January 12th.[/p][p]This is the riddle that the team spent the day considering. Can you figure it out without looking it up?[/p][p]Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain on Earth?[/p][p][b]Thursday 9th January[/b][/p][p]The team had another great day on the icecap today. They described the day as "groundhog day" because it felt like a repeat of yesterday. They were graced with the same great weather (calm winds, -20C, low contrast that cleared throughout the day) and followed the same pacing system as before although, they skied one nautical mile farther today than yesterday...[/p][p]When we heard from them, everyone was already tucked away for a long night's rest. Listen to the audio update from Keith to hear about the visitor they had after setting up camp, and for the rest of the day's details.[/p][p][b]Wednesday 8th January[/b][/p][p]Congratulations to the South Pole Last Degree team for reaching their half way point! Only 30 nautical miles left![/p][p][b]Tuesday 7th January[/b][/p][p]The team made another great push toward the pole today, traveling 8 nautical miles over 6 hours. They woke up to overcast conditions that lasted throughout their time on trail, but after making camp the blue sky began to break through again. Everyone is getting used to the rhythm of the trail; Wake up, eat, ski, eat, ski, eat, ski, make camp, eat, sleep...[/p][p]The hours of skiing begin to meld together and become easier as the body gets accustomed to the work. Keith has begun testing their minds with riddles to pass the time and they'd like to share them with you to see if you can help them out. Here are the first four.[/p][p]Day 1: What 8 letter word can have a letter taken away and it still makes a word. Take another letter away and it still makes a word. Keep on doing that until you have one letter left. What is the word?[/p][p]Day 2: Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?[/p][p]Day 3: My life can be measured in hours, I serve by being devoured. Thin, I am quick. Fat, I am slow. Wind is my foe. What am I?[/p][p]Day 4: Two fathers and two sons went fishing one day. They were there the whole day and only caught 3 fish. One father said, that is enough for all of us, we will have one each. How can this be possible?[/p][p][b]Monday 6th January[/b][/p][p]Dean spoke to Sallie via Satellite late yesterday evening he said all in tents. Tough day. Tomorrow will be better![/p][p]Today the team woke up to sunny bluebird skis with barely any breeze! An ideal day on the icecap. Temperatures were hovering around -5F all day and the good weather is still holding as of this evening. The team put in a good distance of 8 nautical miles over a 6 hr 15 min period of travel, and everyone is feeling much stronger.[/p][p]However, at the end of the day everyone was feeling well worked in their back and legs. To celebrate the day, Zdenek and Martin shared traditional Czech Christmas treats with everyone and Dean entertained with some card tricks. All in all, the team is doing very well and they are settling into the expedition lifestyle quite well.[/p][p]To listen to the audio updates from the team please visit: [url=https://soundcloud.com/user-590095375/tracks?fbclid=IwAR3V2zCI5xvkKkvFm6ZKJj--ehhRyYxiSslcE4sTDxhdfN-xIjJUvfW4brQ]https://soundcloud.com/user-590095375/tracks[/url][/p][p][br][/p][p][b]Weekend Update[/b][/p][p]The team has safely landed on the Antarctic plateau and have taken their first steps on the Last Degree! They began the day by breaking down camp and packing their sleds at Union Glacier before an 8AM breakfast. There was some concern about visibility remaining good at their drop off, so they took off in the Twin Otter shortly after breakfast. The flight to the last degree is long enough to require a refuelling stop, so they didn't touch down on 89 Degrees Latitude until 4PM thi afternoon.[/p][p]The team decided to ski for 30 minutes to stretch their legs and warm up in the -25C temperatures. There are currently thick, low clouds obscuring visibility and very little contrast, but luckily the wind is light. These conditions are forecast to remain until Monday. Tomorrow, the team will likely have a short day to allow for a comfortable acclimatisation.[/p][p]If you would like regular updates on Dean's South Pole Journey please visit: [url=https://polarexplorers.com/blog/expedition-updates/?fbclid=IwAR2Yop8TRKGp2dBjFZbfzjY6QjZKTwQQDrvFrR4EsJruclji9aOe4-ccaD0]https://polarexplorers.com/blog/expedition-updates/[/url][/p][p][br][/p][p][b]Friday 3rd January 2020[/b][/p][p]Dean and the South Team Team will be travelling to the Antartica on a Russian Cargo Plane. Picture can be found below.[/p][p][br][/p][p][b]Thursday 2nd January 2020[/b][/p][p]Dean was all checked in and got his boarding pass for Antarctica. Final briefing this afternoon and then he was officially off to the South Pole! The team had their pre-flight briefing at 4PM today and received word that their flight is on for tomorrow morning at 5:30AM. So, if all goes well they will be on the Antarctic continent tomorrow afternoon! Earlier today, the team enjoyed some beautiful weather in Punta Arenas while finishing the last of their preparations. Their bags were weighed and taken to the airport, and they enjoyed a walk along the boardwalk.[/p][p][br][/p][p][b]Wednesday 1st January 2020[/b][/p][p]Kit checks completed just after breakfast. Packing complete for the ice ready for weighing in at airport next morning.[/p][p]Team briefing scheduled for 5.30pm with our team and then with the pilots and crew for the next two legs of the journey - 5 hour flight to Union Glacier in Antarctica and then collect kit for second 3 hour flight to the ice shelf.[/p][p]All ready to go - next stop Antarctica![/p][p][br][/p][p][b]Tuesday 31st December 2019[/b][/p][p]Landed in Santiago and had to collect all my bags and go through customs , passport and agricultural screening - no way they were going to get my chocolate off me![/p][p]Checked in again for next flight to Punta Arenas and had 3 hours to kill at airport.[/p][p]Then found out that two of my South Pole team mates who I had never met were in the airport and heading to same flight as me...[/p][p]Descriptions sent via WhatsApp for a young guy dressed in green trousers with an old man (his Dad) - found each other at the departure gate 21...nice people which is a relief![/p][p]Next flight on time due to be 4 hours direct to Punta Arenas - but landed at Tepual Puerto airport - no warning of a two-legger journey and I was heading off the plane until I checked with air hostess why the flight was so short and why we were still 1300 miles from Punta Arenas..![/p][p]So this was officially 24 hours travelling and still 1300 miles to go to get to initial hit before heading over to Antartica...![/p][p]Finally landed in Punta Arenas on time. 5.35pm local time - 28.5 hours from door to door.[/p][p]Met with Keith Heger (Polar Explorer guide) and settled into hotel.[/p][p]Bite to eat and then we saw the New Year in - in bed 20 minutes later...[/p][p][br][/p][p][b]Monday 30th December 2019[/b][/p][p]Final kit checks and packing/repacking completed an hour before departure.[/p][p]Taxi to Heathrow arrived on time (good old Tony!) and after the emotional send-off by the family I was on my way together with my new companion Olly the Brave (this is the cuddly bear that Molly Olly’s Wishes gives out to children who have been diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness).[/p][p]Good journey to Heathrow and plane journey overnight went smoothly... although 14 hours in the air was not pleasant...especially when I find that I am sat next to Victor Meldrew, grumpy old man![/p][p]That aside, made conversation with the cabin crew at around 4.00am ( only so much in-flight movies you can take) and I introduced them to Olly the Brave...next thing was a trip for Olly to the flight deck to meet the captain and a photo shoot.[/p][p]So then word spread that there was a lone bear going to the South Pole - then some people at the front of the plane said were are going to the South Pole as well!).[/p][p]Turns out that it is Lewis Moody (ex-England rugby international) and his South Pole expedition team who are raising money for the Lewis amidst Foundation which is targeting brain tumour treatment.[/p][p]And they are hitting the ice on the same day as our team and we are at the same hotel in Punta Arenas...small world! And now we have a competition to see who can get there first...![/p][p][br][/p]