A Philatelist Heads to the South Pole
We recently caught up with PTS Member Tony Shields from Shields Stamp and Coins. He told us about a trip he went on to the South Pole. Here is his story
'A week ago I was a speaker on the first ever plane to fly from another continent to the South Geographical Pole in Antarctica non-stop. It was a Qantas Dreamliner with about 250 passengers and crew and a 16 hour flight from Tullamarine to Victoria Land in the Antarctic, Mount Erebus which is one of only two active Antarctic volcanoes, and then a route due South following Captain Scott's historic trip in 1911 on which he died. We circled the South Pole for about 30 minutes looking at the icy Plateau which extends to the horizon in all directions and the only feature we could see was the Scott-Amundsen Antarctic Base. The pole is 2000 feet higher than Mount Kosciuszko, and it was bathed in sunlight. Everything from there is North, and east and west do not exist which makes navigation very interesting. They also have one night of darkness for 6 months and one day of sunlight for 6 months per year so a very different reality in a 24-hour period from what we are used to.
It was a sensational trip and I had a number of friends on it. We also flew over the Dry Valleys which are the driest place on Earth, with no rainfall or snow for over 2 million years!
On December 28th I am going again to the Antarctic but this time by ship via the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. The trip is a little over a month and I have done it before but this one has a number of descendants of the original famous explorers on board and is commemorating the death Centenary of Ernest Shackleton who was the most famous of them.
It's wonderful to hear what our philatelic traders get up to outside of stamp collecting.
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