A CORK man prepares to embark on one of the most ambitious expeditions of our time with intense training that includes learning self-defense against polar bears.
World-renowned explorer Jim McNeill has recruited Cork author and children’s animator Anthony Galvin to be part of the first-ever team to reach the North Pole of Inaccessibility. The journey is made possible by the Ice Warrior #LASTPOLE Expedition initiative which brings together ordinary people to perform extraordinary expeditionary feats.
Anthony, from Conna near Fermoy, will also collect vital data related to climate change along the way.
Defined as the furthest point from earth on the Arctic Ocean, the North Pole of Inaccessibility remains the last truly significant place in the Polar Regions not yet reached by humanity. It is over 270 miles further than the geographic North Pole.
The expedition will serve not only as a record-breaking challenge, but also as an opportunity to gather crucial data on the state of the ocean for scientists at the NASA-funded National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). It is hoped that this, along with weather data, pollution measurements and polar bear counts, will shed more light on the reality of climate change.
Anthony spoke about his training to date.
“One of the things we learned was how to deal with polar bears,” he said.
“They are in decline, but in some places the numbers are starting to pick up. We are almost certain to encounter polar bears. They are quite aggressive. If they are hungry, we are a good convenient meal for them, so you have to be very careful. He explained the precautions they might have to take during the trek.
“Because polar bears are endangered, it’s a last resort that we shoot one. If that happens, we’re all in trouble. They can, however, be scared off with flares to scare them away.
“Situations like this are what we are trained for.”
Despite his fears, Anthony can’t wait to see the animal in person.
“I would like to see a polar bear, but only from a distance. It will also be nice to see arctic foxes up close.
Anthony shed light on the other aspects of his training.
“We’ve also been trained in the use of the specialist equipment and how to prepare the stove super-fast. If it’s minus 40, you need to be able to get it to work quickly so you can get people food. as soon as possible after a day’s walk.” The Cork man says it was his persistence that picked him for the team.
“A lot of that is down to perseverance. She’s the person who always smiles and says let’s keep going, even though she’s exhausted and finds she has three hours left to go, she searches.
Anthony hopes he can go the distance.
To learn more about shipping, visit www.ice-warrior.com.