Apr 24, 04 - At Borneo
Apr 26, 2004 08:27 PDT
Apr 24, 04 - At Borneo
It was still a stormy day, the wind howling and battering my tent, with
occasional flurries of light snow. This continued on for most of the
I stayed in the tent for the first half of the day, then later decided
to venture out and shoot some pictures. Since it was blowing so hard I
wore my goggles to protect my face.
The new leads near my tent gave me plenty to shoot. Towards the evening
the clouds started to get less dense and I phoned the expedition travel
company at the ice station.
As soon as visibility would increase, they would be leaving to come pick
me up. Within a very short time, maybe 20 minutes it suddenly cleared
up, the sun came out and there was hardly a cloud in the sky.
I gave a live tv interview via satellite phone to CBS from my tent. As
soon as I finished I could hear the low rumble of the Russian MI-8
helicopter approaching. I quickly took down my tent and met the large
machine as it landed.
Turns out I didn't need to rush, as they had also brought some
scientists that needed to drill through the ice and place monitoring
buoys. They set about their business and I met the others passengers
aboard the helicopter.
Tony Haile, and Chris Hyman, the CEO of Serco, Ben Saunders sponsor,
came out to greet me. It was great to see Tony again and meet Chris.
Following right behind them was CBS News from Los Angeles, one of their
correspondents and a cameraman. Christian from Cerpolex also greeted me.
As the scientist were busy drilling holes and placing their instruments
in the distance, I gave interviews and briefly related some of the
highlights of my adventure they were asking me about.
After several hours the pair of scientist were done and we all boarded
the helicopter to go meet Ben Saunders and give him his food, fuel, and
other supplies so that he can continue on to the pole.
We flew to where Ben was and landed, all got out to see him. He was in
good shape, a contrast to my beaten-up appearance. It was really great
to see Ben, but I also couldn't help but feel a tiny bit jealous that he
would get to continue on to the pole.
The Serco team resupplied Ben, while the scientists drilled more holes
and placed more monitoring buoys. We said our good-byes, wished Ben
luck, and flew off to another location for the scientists to place more
Eventually we reached Borneo Ice Station, a makeshift runway, with half
a doze, large, heated tents, several helicopters on stand-by, and a
plane. We all made our way to the dinning tent.
It's late, about 4 am in the morning, and there are more people waiting
in the tent. There were many questions about my trek, what about my
polar bear encountered so on. I got some hot food and enjoyed sitting at
a table to eat a meal, first time in nearly two months.
After a while I was ready to sleep and it seemed that finding me a cot
was going to be a hassle. So, I opted to sleep outside in my sleeping
bag on the frozen ice, no tent. I did, and slept well.
Today I hope I will still get the chance to go to the pole. Fingers