Two Australian adventurers who made history by kayaking unassisted to New Zealand set off yesterday hoping to bag a new record by walking from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole and back.
Justin Jones, 28, and James Castrission, 29, have each piled on 20kg and undergone months of intensive training for the 2,220km polar trek across some of the harshest terrain on Earth.
The pair will haul 160kg each of gear and supplies on sleds during their three-month journey, as they attempt to complete the world’s first unsupported return journey from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole.
The adventurers are familiar with extremes, having battled giant seas, sickness, sharks and food shortages during their 62-day world record kayak crossing of the Tasman Sea in 2007 and 2008, a 3,300km journey.
Jones said the cold would be their biggest challenge, something they had braced for at a training camp in the Arctic earlier this year.
“[It’s] so cold that your breath freezes in front of your face, you get ice forming in your sleeping bag, it’s intensely cold,” he told reporters at Sydney Airport ahead of their departure for South America, where they will meet a Russian cargo flight bound for Antarctica.
Dried meat, nuts and powdered meals will be their fuel, and they aim to consume 6,000 calories a day, about triple the recommended daily average.
“That’s 15 Big Macs of food worth a day, and we’re still expected to lose a tonne of weight — we’re expecting 20-30 kilos each,” Castrission said.
The psychological challenge would also be immense, he added, with their long-standing friendship likely to be tested at times.
“Spending three months out on the ice with your best mate, you’re going to get the occasional tiff,” he said. “But fortunately we’ve seen each other at our best and worst and we can work through it most of the time.”
Castrission’s mother, Vivienne, said the two men were well prepared and “they know what they are in for,” adding that she was much calmer than before the Tasman kayaking trip.
“We didn’t try to stop them this time, this is what they’re going to do,” she said.
Jones admitted it was “tough” on their families “but they’re proud of us and they’re supporting us,” he said.
Aiming to raise money for a children’s cancer charity, the expedition will officially begin at Antarctica’s Union Glacier Camp on Oct. 16. The pair will document their journey with photographs, video blogs and via social media sites.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable