(By Correne Coetzer) On January 16th Antony Jinman arrived at the Geographic South Pole, bagging his second Pole, after completing the trek from Canada to the Geographic North Pole in 2010. Antony completed the 1130 km Hercules Inlet route in 46 days, unassisted and unsupported.
Back in Punta Arenas before flying home last week, Antony told ExplorersWeb over Skype he is pleased with everything during his South Pole expedition, except for the first day when he managed to take some skin off his feet on the slope out of Hercules Inlet. “The snow was soft and I am not heavy, therefore the skis were slipping back all the time. My feet got hot and sweat and the boots rubbed the skin off. I manage to persevere. I taped my feet and kept going.”
“The rest of the time was uneventful. I hear of tales of other people.”
Having schools involved in his expedition, kept him entertaining and gave him something to think about every day, says Antony, in particular being on his own all the time.
Antony took two Parrot AR Drone 2.0 cameras with him, which he controlled with a iPad Mini. “That was exciting”, he says to ExWeb. “I manage to get three flights up on windless days and took footage of a ski day and around the campsite. I filmed myself skiing in the snowscape and are pleased with their performance.”
“At the South Pole I also got some footage. The drones performed brilliantly, but in stronger wind they were not able to operate.”
How easy was it to operate a drone while skiing, ExplorersWeb wants to know. “It is relatively easy to let the drone take off and ski pass it. I set it up to hover. The best is, after skiing away from it, I could fly it back to me without having to ski back to pick up the camera.”
Antony worked with HumanEdgeTech Expedition Technology, a sister company of ExploresWeb, to develop the use of the drone on Antarctica. HumanEdge Tech also helped and supplied Antony with the rest of his technology.
In the pre South Pole interview Antony explained the drones functioned well in -30ºC. “When the iPad is tilted forward, the drone flies forward. When it is tilted to the left, the drone goes to the left, and so on. The image shows on the screen. Battery life is ten minutes per battery and will be recharged with a solar panel and HET P50 battery pack.”
Clothes and tent
What clothes did he wear? “At the top, two base layers from Helly Hansen and a Wintergreen top, modified with zips under the arms. The zips worked very well. As bottoms, two base layers and salopettes. My boots were Alpha boots.”
“I had a two-man Hilleberg tent. A tip here is a large thin foam all over the floor, which insulated the tent from below and makes it much warmer. On top of that I had my sleeping roll mats and foam mats.”
“At times the tent was too hot. When sun was shining it could get up to 20ºC in the tent. Another top tip here: I had two sleeping bags. A down one and a thin synthetic one. I am pleased I took the thin one because I slept a lot in it.”
“The thick down sleeping bag was definitely needed. When the sun didn’t shine, in cloudy and white-out conditions, it was freezing cold in the tent.”
Arctic Ocean vs. Antarctica
How did his North Pole and South Pole expeditions compare, ExWeb wants to know from Antony.
“The North Pole was magnificent, a very dynamic and changeable environment in terms of sea ice. It talks and sings during the movement of the ice. There were powerful, raw sunrises and sunsets. It was almost a brutal experience; a physical experience.”
“The Arctic will always leave an impression. I remember every single day; how it was on the ice, how the ice conditions were. Every day.”
“Antarctica on the other hand was very different. There was no sunrise and no sunset. No start and no end. To me it all seems to have merge into one continuous experience. It was less physical, more of an inner journey.”
“There was time to think and contemplate. It was more inner aware than outer aware. Much of the focus and awareness on the North Pole was on route finding. After this South Pole expedition I almost ask myself, ‘Was I there?’ To me it was a spiritual journey.”
“Although both are very different, they are both cold polar environments, which hold a magical allure.”
Preparation and training
“I am glad I had put in such an amount of training. It paid off,” says Antony. “I spent lots of time in the Arctic and in the process refining the tent procedures and routine. I was happy with my routine.”
“The hours of fitness training that I put in at home, made it a more enjoyable experience. I did 15 to 17 nautical miles (27 to 32 km) per day and was happy with that.”
“But, another tip, don’t underestimate the challenge!”
Antony lost 11 kg on a 6000 calorie diet while skiing the 1130 km with no assistance. His body weight was 74 kg and dropped to 63. His sled weighed 130 kg at the start.
He definitely enjoyed his food, Antony assured ExplorersWeb. The best were the pork scratchings, which were salty and fatty, he says. More fat was added with coconut oil in his breakfast and dinner. He also had goji berries and dried blue berries.
“For lunch I had nice soup, salami and cheese.”
Another top tip is the electrolyte and magnesium fruit tables that he dissolved in water, says Antony. “Ït gave my energy back. I also made sure that I hydrate properly the first 30 minutes after I had stopped. All these helped my muscles to recover at the end of the day and made me fighting fit.”
“I had not one rest day. Only each Sunday I took 2 hours longer to start the day.”
Antony is very pleased with the reaction and participation of the schools in his ETE Teachers South Pole Mission. Over 300 questions and topics were discussed on the forum and 17 experts were involved; among them, polar scientists and previous team mates. Over 200 letters of support were received. 63 schools took part, involving 1800 children.
Since September 6057 children were involved in his polar workshops over the world, in countries like the UK, Cypress, Poland, Switserland and Germany.
Antony Jinman and his drones at the South Pole
Antony Jinman with two drones to the South Pole, ExWeb interview
North Pole 2010 wrap-up: Eric Larsen, Antony Jinman and Darcy St Laurent at the Pole; Two teams race against the clock
Antony Jinman, UK, Hercules Inlet, solo, unassisted, unsupported
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