The Antarctic and 1910 expeditions to the South Pole are part of family history for Times Colonist cartoonist Adrian Raeside.
Raeside's grandfather, Sir Charles (Silas) Wright, and two great uncles, Thomas Griffith Taylor and Raymond Edward Priestley, were all on the expedition led by Capt. Robert Falcon Scott. But while Scott died trying to find the South Pole, Raeside's relatives survived back at base camp.
Raeside delivers a lecture as part of the Royal B.C. Museum exhibit Race to the End of the Earth, which runs from May to October 2013 and focuses on the discovery of the South Pole.
Next September, Raeside and four others will speak as part of a lecture series called Quest: Antarctic Adventures. Other speakers include Hayley Shephard, wilderness guide and author of South Solo: Kayaking to Save the Albatross; Pat Morrow, photographer and mountain climber; Gareth Wood, author of South Pole: 900 Miles on Foot; and Jana Stefan, conservator and Royal B.C. Museum arts technician.
Raeside plans to speak about the personalities on Scott's expedition. "I think they are the story behind the story," Raeside said in a telephone interview.
Race to the End of the Earth is planned as a retelling of the story of Antarctic exploration - the 1911-1912 quest to be the first to reach the South Pole.
Norwegian Roald Amundsen, with four others, was first, reaching the pole on Dec. 14, 1911. The team of five, equipped with skis and dog teams, then was able to return to its base.
Scott's party of five arrived on Jan. 17, 1912, to find they had been beaten. On the trek back, the five all died from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and cold. Raeside, whose relatives were not on that final push for the pole, recalls growing up with tales of the expedition.
In the winter of 2008, he travelled to the Antarctic, a journey he later described in his book Return to Antarctica.
During that trip, he remembers being awestruck by the almost otherworldy danger of the Antarctic.
"It's really like being trapped on Mars," he said. "And it's so easy to lose your bearings, because there is no horizon there. The blue [of the sky] just changes gradually to white. And if you get lost, you are going to die."
In some respects, Raeside believes the personalities involved helped the expedition succeed - and ultimately, fail so tragically - as much as poor planning and preparation. "There always seemed to be a sense that, 'We're British, dammit - we'll make it work,' " Raeside said.
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