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CNN Today

Two Women Discuss Trip Across Antarctica

Aired January 3, 2001 - 2:27 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're trying to trying to make phone contact with Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, who are trekking their way across Antarctica -- and this is satellite telephone technology, which is why it's a little spotty.

I think, though, we now have Ann and Liv on the phone with us. Are you there?

ANN BANCROFT, EXPLORER: We are there, Daryn, nice to talk to you again.

KAGAN: It's good to have both of you with us.

I understand you're having kind of a frustrating day, and I'm not talking about the phone call, I'm talking about the weather.

BANCROFT: Yes, the phone call we can handle. The weather is just -- we're in our third day of very, very thick muddy whiteout.

The first two days, we were able to get some sailing in, albeit very slow, but make some miles. And today it was just totally calm, and we could barely go out of the tent without tripping, it's so thick.

KAGAN: So you're just sitting in the tent all day?

BANCROFT: We've been in the tent all day doing a little repair and journal writing and those kinds of things, but very frustrated with the pace of things and just very anxious to get up and go. Sometime early this morning, we hope, there's a little flutter in the temp right now. And the horizon is coming back, so we're hoping that means some kind of a change.

KAGAN: For those of us who've never had the experience that you two are having, which, let's be honest, is most of us -- of being in the middle of Antarctica in the middle of a whiteout -- can you explain the conditions to us?

BANCROFT: Well, it's -- when you're traveling in a whiteout, it's very disorienting. In fact, we -- week or so ago, we were pulling in a whiteout, no wind, and Liv got really nauseous: Just because you lose your equilibrium, you have no sense of up or down, sideways. You're just following the needle of the compass. And so you're in this white world, and it's not just below your skis and your sled, it's all around you. And it can be very maddening at times. You get weird sensations that you're heading, you know, to the left or to the right, or you're going uphill or downhill, and when the light comes back, you're astounded to find out where you really are. So it's -- it's really slows things down, makes things frustrating, and we're desperately hoping for it to clear so we can keep working our way toward that South Pole.

KAGAN: I know you've been working at this, all the preparation in the world, for about two years before you left on the journey. But if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, then you are in a bit of trouble.

We're going to bring in right now one of our meteorologists, Orelon Sidney: She has a question for you.

Orelon, go ahead.

ORELON SIDNEY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Thanks a lot -- I have a question for either Ann or Liv, and my question is which is more important to you. I know the temperatures have been very warm there. I was looking at the temperatures this morning, and I've seen them around freezing and just below. So the is wind more important, or the temperatures, or is it a combination of both of them?

Well, this is Liv.

LIV ARNESEN, EXPLORER: The wind is the most important thing for us. We can travel in really cold weather, so that it doesn't matter. We really go for the wind, so that's the most important for us.

SIDNEY: I know the winds are very, very light. I've looked also at some of the wind observations, and the winds are extremely light. The temperatures, as I said, are also pretty warm. Is this unusual for this time of year in Antarctica?

ARNESEN: Yes, it seems to be -- it seems to be quite unusual weather the last three years. But we have also had snowfall today, and the whole day has been snow falling down very quietly. And we, actually -- we learned in school that we are in a desert, and it is not supposed to snow in Antarctica, but it does.

KAGAN: So does that snow make it more difficult for you?

ARNESEN: In addition to the whiteout, it's really difficult today. So we figured that was too much -- too much -- it was hard -- too hard for us to start pulling. We would rather save our energy for sailing, because if we have to pull to the pole, we need 22 days. So we will save our energy for the hard sailing.

KAGAN: Well, we wish you well. We'll continue to check on your progress, Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, calling by satellite phone to us here at CNN.

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