Image via Wikipedia
I’m listening to Bing singing White Christmas. December 14, 2011 is only a few minutes old. At 90S right now, the sun hasn’t set. The Norwegian PM, who arrived at the South Pole yesterday, may be lifting a glass of aquavit to toast his countryman, Roald Amundsen.
There are folk sailing on an icebreaker right now somewhere on the other side of the world. They too will be raising a glass and toasting an extraordinary polar explorer.
Some friends of mine have spent time at the South Pole. I haven’t had the privilege. I’m thinking of those pals scattered across the globe today. That’s the thing about people passionate about the polar regions. We don’t live in any one town or country. We’re found everywhere that adventure lives.
Here’s to Amundsen. Here’s to those who came after. And here’s to our friends at sea. Happy 100th!
Image by sandwichgirl via Flickr
December 14, 1911 was an extraordinary day in south polar history. Roald Amundsen became the first human being to stand at the bottom of the world, 90S. What will you be doing December 14, 2011 on the 100th anniversary of the accomplishment?
Amundsen first visited Antarctica between 1897 and 1899. He was first mate on the Belgica Expedition led by Adrien de Gerlache, the man after whom the Gerlache Strait was named. The expedition’s doctor was Frederick Cook, who eventually claimed to be the first man to reach the North Pole.
Together the two, who eventually became rivals, commanded the expedition when Gerlache and the Captain fell ill. During that expedition, Amundsen learned how not to prepare an expedition for the harsh environment south of 60.
Amundsen had been at sea since he turned 15. The Belgica Expedition, he hoped, would enable him to gain his Master’s license. Qualifying as a ship’s captain, he believed, would reduce conflicts of leadership with the ship’s captain when he led his polar expedition. Amundsen’s polar ambitions were well formed even then.
The American Antiques Roadshow evaluated some Northwest Passage Amundsen memorabilia. Watch the video.