Nearing what for most might be retirement age, Beau continued to accept nomadic assignments. He packed up his cold weather gear and headed north to the Arctic with the US Navy, attached as the official staff artist to Task Group 572 West and the International Geophysical Year expedition. The group set out to supply and establish sites along the DEW (Distant Early Warning) line, which was designed to alert the U.S. and Canadian military to intrusions by unfriendly aircraft. Based in Point Barrow, Alaska, on the flagship, USS Eldorado, Beau flew and sailed more than 30,000 miles, painting and sketching the Arctic territory. On this expedition he helped make history. Aboard the Canadian ice breaker Labrador; he traveled through the Beaufort Sea and the Amundsen Gulf to the famed Bellot Strait. The expedition for the first time traversed from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic ocean through the ice. The "Northwest Passage" had been found! He wrote that he was "attracted to all strange places and peoples, but none has held the fascination of the Northwest Passage....I have the honor to be the first artist to transit the Bellot Strait and first to paint it."
The paintings resulting from this expedition represent some of his most unusual and exquisite works, as seen in Arctic Ice Blink and USCG Ice Breaker Making a Lead, Popular exhibitions of these watercolors later toured throughout the United States.
When the Navy launched Task Force 43 to Antarctica in November of 1959, nothing could keep Beau at home. As the Official staff artist attached to the USS Glacier, he recorded Naval explorations of the Bellinghausen Sea and the "Eights" Coast.
Antarctica proved to be treacherous. At one point, while crossing a snow bridge, Beau fell into an ice crevasse. Roped to a friend, he dangled ten feet above the black freezing water below Slowly, with great effort, his friend pulled him from the crevasse, saving his life. He had been lucky, although his painting arm was injured once again in the process.
Beau completed 350 sketches and 25 paintings in the Antarctica, but weather problems in the land of the penguins prevented him from reaching the geographic South Pole. Inspired nonetheless by the intense beauty of the place, Beau undertook another Antarctic voyage in the winter of 1960 on the expedition entitled Deep Freeze 61.
As discussions ensued concerning the second trip, the Commodore said, "Beau, how about making a painting at the South Pole?" "Yes sir," he replied, "on three conditions. If I am able physically do so; if weather conditions of blizzards, white-outs, wind and plain exhaustion do not defeat me; and IF I can get to the Pole!"
Once again mesmerized by the scenery he wrote: "Antarctica is fantastic, indescribable, unpredictable, inexplorable and ruthless, yet hauntingly beautiful....It is alone, apart, defiant and awesome. A great white desert."
With persistence, Beau made it to the South Pole. Planning to stay for six hours, the weather changed for the worse, and he was marooned for seven days! He described this experience as "the most rugged in a lifetime of adventure and excitement." The Pole Station is twenty feet underground, which Beau felt was like living in a freezer. Despite the conditions, Beau executed three paintings looking out the scientists' observation dome. He also brought back many 30-second sketches which were made outdoors in the brilliant midnight sun. Treacherous conditions on the ice made painting outdoors virtually impossible, even with two pairs of gloves and a hand warmer. But he succeeded in painting the South Pole at the geographic South Pole by mixing torpedo alcohol with his paint so it would not freeze. "Mission Accomplished!" It is extraordinary to think that Beau traveled to the Antarctic at seventy years of age, producing paintings of historical relevance and dramatic beauty.