To stay alive on the south pole you have to eat some bears!
Just these sentences makes me curious already! Would I be willing to eat bears for my survival? And then polar bears are to be found on the North Pole only, isn’t it? What do I know of the poles anyway?
The very thought of being stuck in a harsh cold white, wind beaten landscape with nothing in sight is a little scary to me. Since I like camping in nature a lot, I must admit camping on the pole would be a little out of my comfort zone. As soon as temperatures drop below 10 degrees Celsius / 50 Fahrenheit, tenting is of limits for me. But there are those who are intrigued by the extremes, and are not easily scared by temperature drops up to minus 50 Celsius / -58 Fahrenheit!
That such a person can look like your average next door neighbor girl was a surprise to me. My fantasy runs wild as I imagine a boat being pulled wildly by Moby Dick, and the men on deck are rough and tough with massive tattoos! So much different is the gentle, fragile looking girl I met on a science exhibition in London. She is a regular visitor of the Arctic South Pole! Which leaves one wondering……. how does she survive in these harsh conditions?
Meet Ella Darlington (on the left), President of UK Polar Network, an organization supporting and connecting early career “Polar scientists”. Still working on her PhD in Antarctic climatology, Ella is all over the planet! I met her last year at the Natural History Museum, where about 350 scientists presented themselves and their work at the “Science Uncovered” event. Behind the ornithology expert and the Beetle-man, tucked away in the back of the museum, she and her Arctic colleagues made camp at the stairways. Their erected not to miss orange tepee shaped tent looks out of date, but at its place in this history oozing building. Recently she visited the South Pole with the team of “Extreme World Races”, as a scientist to place weather stations and collect data. The impact of climate change worldwide, along with the claims to the exploitation of the south pole are hot issues as well as big business.
Even a hundred years ago four international teams were competing to reach the geographic south of the earth first. Amundsen and his Norwegian team outraced the rest to fame. The team of Robert Falcon Scott finished second and found death on the way back. Then and now being well prepared is key, and the list of food to bring nowadays is on the inside of the survival crate. In addition to this, bears are eaten, as in gummy or jelly bears. Bursting with sugar, they keep your engine running in the cold. Ella tells me; “To maintain a high caloric intake we would eat 120g of chocolate a day, in addition to gummy sweets, dried fruit and nuts, chunks of cheese and dried meat”. Extra hot water is kept in a thermos flask to prepare tea, coffee, soup and super noodles, and to speed up the process of melting snow.
Biltong, a dried meat brought from South Africa, is not too bad though salty. But with a variation of about 8 to 10 dinner choices, home cooking is missed very much, specially fresh vegetables. When at Christmas time little presents are unwrapped, there are nice surprises like her favorite Montazuma’s chocolate, “Chilli and lime” and aunties fudge. Home is a bit closer and farther away at the same time. Stopping homeward-bound in South Africa the first stop is at the diner for steak and red wine, ……..mmmmmmmmm.
Once back in Great Britain, Ella likes to get behind the family stove and make some proper English foods. A trip to the pole this year or the next is already boiling on her stove!
Thanks Ella for your enthusiasm on the subject and scientific effort to keep the south pole from melting.
the Dutch Cook
Chocolate shop link Montazuma http://www.montezumas.co.uk/chocolate-gifts/Find-Our-Chocolate-Shops.html
UK Polar network about Eleanor Darlington http://www.polarnetwork.org/new/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=137:ella-darlington&catid=34:committee&Itemid=55
Cold swet youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eJDj0JS4Os
Extreme world races http://awoladventure.com/page/ExtremeWorldRaces
National Historic Musem Londen www.nhm.ac.uk