Former Royal Marines Commando and adventurer Dave Thomas from Seven Sisters in South Wales has just celebrated his 68th birthday in the coolest possible way.
Dave is aiming to set a new Guinness World Record, becoming the oldest person to ski unsupported from Hercules Inlet to the Geographic South Pole as part of Mission Spiritus Antarctica. This is a multi-purpose scientific polar expedition featuring a gruelling sled-haul of 1,150-km with fellow Bootneck, Alan Chambers MBE with whom he has been buddies for 30 years.
The intrepid duo expect to reach the half-way point on or around Christmas Day and, despite some atrociously bitter weather conditions and strong winds, they have been hitting the daily target of travelling 20+ km a day, the distance necessary if they are to reach the Pole within their 55-day time frame.
Dave and Alan are also fundraising and raising awareness of RMA – The Royal Marines Charity with the aim is to be standing at the South Pole no later than the 14th January 2024, flying the Charity’s flag at the bottom of the world after 50+ days’ hauling all their supplies with them. To date, they have raised close to £5,000.
They have also had “some amazing days of brilliant and incredibly bright sunshine, surrounded by 360 degrees of reflecting UV off the snow that can be brutal on the vision even with our expensive goggles,” says Dave.
“We have had days that have been a cloudy whiteout when it’s been difficult to locate the horizon or any features to aid navigation; so reliance and concentration on compass is essential.
Our daily routine:
up at 5am,
melt around 10Kg of snow for flasks for hydration,
set off around 7:30am,
travel until 17:30 with breaks to feed/hydrate,
another 10Kg of snow to melt for food and overnight,
sleep as best we can in 24hrs of daylight – get up repeat!”
Mission Spiritus Antarctica is first and foremost a multi-faceted scientific and educational expedition involving global collaboration with eminent establishments around the world.
On their way to the South Pole, the duo are conducting experiments into the spread of nano plastics into the world’s cleanest environment, and a human health study to further understanding of temporal and human performance on the ice.