Home' Scoop : Scoop 53 Spring 2010 Contents BOUTIQUE AGENCY...
Century 21 Vantage
Tel. 08 9329 2121
459 Albany Highway, Victoria Park
424 Roberts Road, Subiaco
CENTURY 21 - The
real estate icon on
the planet, is now
in Victoria Park,
opening your doors
to the world.
anywhere else on the planet. Just because it’s an
expedition, it doesn’t need to be miserable.”
Indeed, Tom enjoyed a unique birthday, marking
his 40th at 84 degrees north. To celebrate, he
indulged himself with three phone calls to loved
ones. “All three g ot Message Bank,” he deadpans.
The long hours alone gave Tom plenty of time
for reflection, about family, friends and home. “I let
my mind wander a lot and the days would g o very
quickly because of that. The mantra for any polar
explorer is to keep moving, which I was focused
on, but I always appreciated my surroundings.”
The main thing on his mind, however? “There
were so many days I thought about food, exclusively,
for 10 hours,” he laughs. “Ten hours of skiing would
go by just thinking about one item or one meal.”
But after 47 days on the ice and 300km short
of the pole, disaster struck. Skiing across a stretch
of ice that looked solid, Tom fell through it, into
the water. Hypothermia took hold. Faced with
death, and with his hands too frozen to work it, he
activated his EPIRB distress beacon with his teeth.
“It would have been easy for me to give up but
the process was very mechanical. I fell in love with
life, I really wanted to live. I was giving death the fat
finger. But I was on the ropes, I really had to fight.”
Any other day he would have died. By pure
chance, however, the Canadian military was on
manoeuvres in the area, practising the very kind of
mission needed to save him. Within hours he had
been airlifted to Canadian Forces Station Alert.
Safe and sound, Tom found his mind was still
on the ice. “That first night when I was in Alert, I
had this great room, bed, clean sheets, all the mod
cons, big flatscreen TV... and I couldn’t sleep
because I missed being in my tent. That’s how my
brain was working when I got back.
“I did everything to excess, I was always
thinking someone was going to take this away. I
was in a military barracks and every meal lasts for
two hours... and I ate for two hours.”
Tom always intended any extraction be covered
by insurance: “You can’t step on the ice without
it – you need insurance to get a flight in.” When he
came to talk costs, however, he g ot surprising news.
“Alert’s commanding officer said, ‘The rescue
cost $72,000 but generated over $5 million in good
publicity. We need to thank you for falling in!’.”
After being reunited with his mother (“I was
grounded”), Tom returned to Perth. Now, several
months on, and despite having come so close, only
to fall short, he’s far from downhearted.
“It’s great to be doing something that I feel as
though I’m good at and that I clearly enjoy,” he
says. “This first trip was just a rehearsal.
“I don’t want to limit myself to doing polar
trips. I don’t want to repeat myself, I want to
exceed myself. But I will go back to the pole – it’ll
eat away at me if I don’t.” He laughs. “It’d be nice
to start from where I fell in.”
So if not the pole, what’s next? With planning
underway for Tom’s next big adventure, all he’s
willing to say is that no one’s ever done it before.
The location? He smiles. “Somewhere hot.”
Tom’s next adventur e is planned for Januar y 2011.
Keep up with developments at onemanepic.com .
Tom’s accommodation for his time on the ice. Inside
the tent the temperature could reach a toasty 10
degrees. RIGHT An average meal included high-energy
drink Fortisip, olive oil ‘ice lollies’, frozen peanut butter
and a big serve of pig fat.
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