Date = 31/12/2017
Day 41 (Expedition) Day 47 (Antarctica)
Location = No man’s land
Coordinates – S86 37.792’, W90 10.171’
Altitude = 2055m
Temperature = -20C
Wind speed / direction = 6-10 knot ESE
Windchill = – 24C
Distance travelled = 33km
Distance remaining = 815km
Happy new year from the doldrums of no man’s land, Antarctica!
We dubbed this region No Man’s land on the map as it is likely very few, if any have passed, here and certainly not traversed by kite.
We perhaps jinxed ourselves with that name, as we have indeed had a hard time crossing this 360km of land less travelled.
The surface is smooth and soft. Foot prints sink 10cm deep into the softest snow we have encountered. There is no sastrugi at all. The terrain is not perfectly flat, but very gentle rolling slopes that seem to be endlessly up but when you look behind appear down?
The snow is extremely heavy. It grips the heavy pulks like an anchor and drastically reduces the available power. It would be man-hauling hell. Today the sun is shining and it his warm out, due to the complete lack of wind. It’s much nicer than the last two days but we have been frustrated by winds; a bit too light from slightly the wrong direction.
With 15knot SE wind we could easily do 200km+ in a big session. Today with 8 knot ESE we worked hard for 5 hours before we lost the wind completely. 33km and we were pushed 5km downwind from our track. It’s going to be a long haul at this rate!
But we are getting closer and a slight route tweak means we are pretty much on track and 103km from the classic route. However we cannot loose anymore ground to wind until we get there, so if we don’t a have the wind to hold that heading, we must not travel, as there are some major open crevasses to the north of our track.
We’ll get across there sooner or later and then we are confident that the next 720km will have better wind patterns and kinder travelling conditions. At least we really hope so!
Of one thing we are very certain, we will complete our mission sometime early in the New Year!!!
We celebrated with a snow carved HAPPY 2018, that Jean then destroyed under kite. Very funny. A couple of Antarctic breeze and hot choco-vod cocktails and we are ready to begin 2018.
Looking forward to starting out from here with our long overdue Big session to whisk us homewards…
May your year be full of love and adventure.