Hot cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner, oh and did I mention sauna and hot tub..

Date = 1/1/2018
Day 42 (Expedition) Day 48 (Antarctica)
Location = No man’s land
Coordinates  – S86 28.559’, W88 31.867’
Altitude = 1920m
Temperature =  -20C
Wind speed / direction = 6-10 knot ESE
Windchill = – 20C
Distance travelled = 20km
Distance remaining = 795km

Not the best light to kite in…

New Year’s Day, not quite escaped No man’s land.

We weren’t expecting much for today, based on the forecast, so we’re kind of pleased with the 20km we managed to grab first thing at the limit of the wind direction we can use.
Low expectations, high hopes for this leg of the journey and the year ahead!!

The visibility started poor and deteriorated to the point where you wouldn’t be able to see a man eating crevasse right in front of you so we stopped.

It’s very strange kiting in bad visibility. With flat light and no surface contrast you can’t tell which way is up. All you can see is the pretty, colourful kite dancing through the grey and white. At one point I couldn’t tell if I was moving or not, until I hit a bump and fell over.

Thankfully it appears tomorrow the wind finally swings in our favour and for few days we have SE/ SSE wind. Although it’s due to be very light, so perhaps not the gallop we want to be able finally break out from no man’s land.

This is day 42 in the deep field, and although we’re in good shape and spirits, we’re ready to see that checkered flag appear over the ever shifting horizon.  We still have 500 miles to go! And if / when the conditions line up, we are excited for some quality kiting and a little more of what has been rare type 1 fun.

But with so much down time in the last week, confined to clothes, sleeping bag and now tent, we are permanently permeated with the slightly sickening odour of post-digestion dehy; one can’t help pondering some the delights the near future holds.

The remote outpost of Union Glacier is an emerald city in my imagination. The food there is genuinely delicious and all you can eat. Currently the thought of the hot cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner is actually making my mouth water. And beer and wine… so close but so far… and seats and tables and heated spaces. Then there are the hot showers fed by giant snow melters. And a set of clean clothes. And a real toilet with a seat that’s not windy or -30C.

When we get back to Punta Arenas it’s going to be a giant meat fest. Steak and lamb from the Asado. Those amazing burgers from Lomitos, my gosh they are good, stuffed with Avacado and chill sauce.

After an hour of scrubbing in a hot power shower with luck they’ll be a sauna and a hot tub in our hotel and we can sip cold beers as we sweat the last of the dehy. from our system. And reminisce with pride and joy about our fraught but funny journey to of the Earth.

And within just a few days we will soon take those luxuries for granted. We will have forgotten the squalor and smell and doldrums of no man’s land and our minds will soon drift back to the golden moments of our most excellent adventure. The camaraderie and challenge. Our 6 weeks away from the rest of humanity, where our entire world and wellbeing lived in a sledge we never left.

And then soon we’ll be home in our respective corners of Earth. Mark returns to true summer in the beautiful sun-blessed playground of Wanaka in New Zealand, where his wife and friends are BBQ-ing on the beach right now.

Jean to his ancient village in the southern Alps. So far it sounds like a good winter with lots of snow down in the valley. I’m sure he can’t wait to play in the snow with his 5 year old son, Malo who is learning to ski.

For me back to the ever green lake district. My two team mates, both being from places with 300 days per year of sunshine, give me lots of grief about living somewhere where it rains so much. We prefer to call it very green. And I can’t wait to get back to those mossy old walls, old oak forests and comforting colours of home.

But of course what I crave the most is to be with my family and enjoy some of the simple life with the full assistance of all creature comforts and supported all modern conveniences available.

Enjoy what you have. It is not until it is gone you realise its value.


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