Shaune Adderley and Mark Roberts.
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
TWO intrepid Bahamians yesterday completed the “journey of a lifetime” and planted the Bahamian flag at the North Pole.
Mark Roberts, 48, and Shaune Adderley, 40, were a part of a six-man group that have made a 100-mile ski trek over moving sheets of Arctic ice this week, making them only the second and third Bahamians to reach the top of the world.
“We are on the North Pole, we are on a polar ice pack and it is bloody cold, colder than we thought,” Mr Roberts told The Tribune yesterday afternoon.
“This is an epic experience and we are very excited about being here. We just planted the flag at the North Pole, it is fantastic.”
Mr Adderley, a junkanoo enthusiast, used the moment to send his best wishes to his beloved Genesis group – of which he is the leader – and fellow workers at FYP/Builders Mall, where he is president of construction and development.
When asked what the moment meant for him he joked: “All this means is that I have to drag him (Mark) all the way back.”
On the shifting ice Mr Roberts gave precise co-ordinates to prove where they were. “The way that the ice is flowing we are moving to the east and left to the tight centre of the pole,” he said. “We will spend the night here at the North Pole and probably get to bed at midnight north pole time and when we wake up in the morning we might be back at the North Pole again.”
In January Mr Roberts, the owner of FYP Builders Mall, was challenged by a friend to accompany him on the expedition after two members of his regular team backed out.
“I got a call from one of the members of the team, he mentioned that two of his teammates bailed and that there were two open spots. He issued the challenge and said that he would have to babysit us the entire trip. He said we couldn’t cut it. I mentioned it to Shaune and before I knew it, we were training to get it done,” said Mr Roberts.
The pair have spent the last three months training, building their physical conditioning with gym work, running and bike rides, and acclimatising to the Arctic temperatures by spending time in a commercial freezer. They have also had to get used to towing 100lb sleds.
Last week, they boarded a British Airlines flight from Nassau to London to meet up with the other four members of the New Zealand team and flew on to Longyearbyen, Spitzbergen, the closest town to the North Pole, at the weekend.
Because of the shifting ice packs they flew to the Russian polar camp Barneo and then set out on their challenging trek at the start of the week.
The North Pole quest is rated as one of the top 20 toughest challenges in the world. In 2013 Nassau-born, New York-based artist Tavares Strachan completed the first successful expedition to the North Pole by a Bahamian in which he retraced the steps of Robert Peary and Matthew Henson.
Listen to the Bahamian explorers live at the North Pole on tribune242.com and read their final diary in the Weekend section today.