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Becalmed – Spectre – Transantarctic Expedition

Becalmed

Date = 19/12/2017
Day 29 (Expedition), Day 35 (Antarctica)
Location = California Plateau
Coordinates  –  86° 35.846’S, 143° 29.197’W
Altitude =  2072m
Temperature =  -15C
Wind speed / direction = 0-5, South,  foggy clearing to sunny
Windchill = -10C
Distance travelled = 0km
Distance remaining = 1367km

 

Thanks to all you twitchers out there for the bird identification. Uncle Ed, Mika and Sue agree it is a Southern Polar Skua.

And BTW Uncle Ed – respect on first ascent of Spectre! and GrizzlyPeaks! Incredible ascents.

Mark plotting the GPS route onto the maps

Since our mega upwind session 2 days ago, we have been truly becalmed. Yesterday after a lie in we enthusiastically attempted to tack upwind with the gentlest breeze on our biggest kites. We covered 1.5km after almost an hour before accepting it was futile because we were  so underpowered. We could’ve walked all afternoon and today to cover 30km but instead we cooked bacon and eggs and have enjoyed relaxing and resting for a while. Still on the doorstep of the Trans-Antarctic mountains and the edge of the plateau. It is so much nicer out here when it’s calm and sunny!

We spent some time accurately plotting our new return route from GPS coordinates on to our rudimentary maps, not a simple task but it has given us more confidence in our plan.

It looks like tomorrow our old friend the wind will return. If southerly, with a bit of luck, it could enable us to cross the California plateau to the South Pole traverse ‘road’ in a few hours, covering more distance than we would’ve walked in two hard days. With a bit more luck, the predicated swing to an easterly wind might even allow us to continue kiting south towards our depots.

Tomorrow is the official half way point of the expedition in terms of days. It is daunting to think we have so far ahead, but rewarding to know how far we have come.

We are all in good shape considering what we’ve been through, and are ready to face the next set of challenges. Equipment is currently all holding up well, and we have a comfortable 12 days of supplies. (Touch wood)

I do seem to have caught a bit of a frost nip on my nose that must’ve been during the cold up-winder, which is a concern for the cold days ahead, but I have other face protection options and will get the boys to keep a close eye on it. Mark has repeatedly offered the use of various parts of his body to the rewarm the affected area.  None of which sound too appealing, so I politely declined.

It seems for a while we are settled into expedition life and optimistic about the next few days travel.

No doubt very soon a new obstacle will stand in our paths, delaying our progress and testing our resolve, but when it comes we will be ready, and one way or another make our way home over the next 35 days.

That bird is the only other living thing we have seen for weeks. It’s wild to think we may not see anything else for another month!

Such a privilege to be here.

[Leo]

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