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CNN Today

Explorers Ann Bancroft, Liv Arnesen Discuss Progress Across Antarctica

Aired January 15, 2001 - 2:26 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Two women making an epic journey across Antarctica are nearing an important milestone: the South Pole. Looks like they've made some gains, Daryn. Daryn Kagan has been bringing us their story. They were stuck there for a while. She's here again to talk with them.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Natalie, they are just doing great. You've probably been following the story with us of Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen as they make their way across Antarctica. We almost didn't think we were going to get this phone call today because they've been doing that well. We thought they might have to keep skiing and sailing. But I believe we have Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen on the phone with us right now.

Ladies, are you there?

ANN BANCROFT, ANTARCTIC EXPLORER: We are. We're actually sitting on our sled just taking a quick break from sailing.

KAGAN: Well, we appreciate it. We're glad to be a rest stop for you. How close are you now to the South Pole?

BANCROFT: Well, we don't know exactly, but I'm -- you know, you spend your whole day. We've been out 12 hours today and I'm guessing we've got about 60 miles to go. But that's only, you know, the little meter in our head telling us that.

KAGAN: Well, I can tell you I was able to talk to your command center team in Minneapolis before I talked to you, and I think they have you under 60 miles; about 58, maybe even a little bit closer than that. So that is fantastic news. That means if the wind cooperates, you could hit the South Pole as early as tomorrow.

BANCROFT: Absolutely. We're going to go through the night if this small breeze holds. We're going to keep going.

KAGAN: Now, you say "through the night," but remind us: it is 24-hour sun where you are, right?

BANCROFT: Yes, and we were very deliberate of pointing our faces at the sun to speak with you.

KAGAN: We appreciate that. Now, the last time we talked to you -- and people have been following your story here on CNN -- you guys were a little frustrated. You weren't getting the kind of wind. Since then, you've had some tremendous days. Give us a comparison of the frustrating days and the kind of days you've had recently.

LIV ARNESEN, ANTARCTIC EXPLORER: Yes, it was -- we had a whiteout and we couldn't move, and the cold -- pretty cold weather day after day -- actually eight days after each other. So we have a time pressure, also because we were delayed in Capetown. So it's really exciting for us to approach the Pole now and hopefully continue to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this week.

KAGAN: And as you get closer, as the clock ticks down, have you had to ration your food?

ARNESEN: We have food for 57 days, so we are actually not eating full rations. But we have breakfast and a lot of chocolate. So we're really looking forward to something that tastes different than sweet.

KAGAN: I bet.

ARNESEN: We're dreaming of cheese at night.

KAGAN: You're dreaming of cheese?

ARNESEN: Yes, other food would taste good. Bread and cheese and apples.

KAGAN: So what kind of things are you down to. What are you eating right now?

BANCROFT: Right now we're primarily...

KAGAN: I think we -- yes, I think we lost our call. Maybe they'll call back. If not, I can tell you they're probably within a day of hitting the South Pole. And when Ann and Liv do make it to the South Pole, they're going to be calling us immediately. And so you'll hear their exciting phone call and their exciting update and the resupplies they'll be picking up at the South Pole. You'll hear it live here on CNN. Could be as early as tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, you can follow their progress on their Web site. The address is yourexpedition -- that's one word -- yourexpedition.com. Also on there, there's a little poll and you can see it. You can go ahead and vote when you think Ann and Live will hit the South Pole. And right now, most people voting for after Jan. 17, which would be after Wednesday. If they keep doing this well, they are going to hit it a lot sooner than that.

Meanwhile, if you miss our phone calls or want to hear them again, go to our Web site, cnn.com/nature. We've been posting the phone calls there for folks to listen in if it's not convenient right now.

So it's getting exciting. It is a time crunch. Natalie, as you heard them say, they are rationing their food a bit, but it's getting close enough that perhaps they could even see the South Pole. ALLEN: And perhaps get some cheese and apples.

KAGAN: Yes, cheese. Of all things, dreaming of cheese.

ALLEN: That's not a lot to ask for after such an ordeal.

KAGAN: No.

ALLEN: Well, it's been so fascinating. Thanks, Daryn.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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