Polar expedition sets sail bearing the Commonwealth flag

London’s Tower Bridge was raised on 6 December to allow the South African icebreaker, the SA Agulhas, to sail down the River Thames, marking the start of its journey to Antarctica for the first-ever winter crossing of the frozen continent.

The Commonwealth-flagged adventure, under the leadership of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, is considered the last great polar challenge: a 2,000 mile trek across the South Pole, in near darkness and with temperatures that could reach minus 90 degrees Celsius.

Dubbed ‘The Coldest Journey’, the expedition aims to raise $10 million for Seeing is Believing, an international initiative to combat avoidable blindness, which operates in 15 Commonwealth developing countries.


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