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Phenomenal phenomenon – Spectre – Transantarctic Expedition

Phenomenal phenomenon

Date = 28/12/2017
Day 38 (Expedition) Day 44 (Antarctica)
Location = No man’s land
Coordinates  – S86 51.931’, W93 19.887’
Altitude = 2249m
Temperature =  -24C
Wind speed / direction = 3-12 knot SE, Sunny
Windchill = – 25C
Distance travelled = 117km
Distance remaining = 848km

Today’s question folks – what is this phenomenal phenomenon?

We’ve seen few halos around the sun and a couple of sun-dogs but yesterday either somebody slipped something into our porridge or we were blessed to witness an utterly psychedelic, three dimensional display of polar sun refraction and reflection.

For about half an hour, we were over awed by what we were seeing. Photos don’t do it justice. It was amazing.

Yesterday we were fully geared up on standby to leave all day. The wind direction and strength wouldn’t allow us to go in the way we wanted. Twice we were fully packed and ready to go but within 100m it became clear it wasn’t happening, so twice we re-pitched the tent in exactly the same place.

Then the sky put on its mind blowing rainbow show and we let go of the frustration and wondered at this place we are visiting.

We had dinner, I got into bed and right away Jean excitedly mentioned “the wind has changed direction”. Sure enough it had swung around later than predicated and we had a solid 10-12 knot SE wind. We geared up and broke camp for the third time.

Setting off at 11pm it all lined up and we were flying! Fully powered, cross wind on a soft surface with clear, sunny weather. Our midnight run was as good as it gets, 101km in 6 hours. We called it at 5am. Then 7 hours later, we were off again, and managed 16km in 3 hours on the tail end of the SE. The good news is we are now officially half way in terms of kilometres. Although Mark seems quite perturbed by this. Hopefully the next 840km will be less taxing than the last?

Now I am exhausted. Good chance we’ll be here for few days waiting for SE unless Jean gets his way and then we’ll be aggressively up winding in deep snow with our massive loads. He has got kilometre killing in his mind and there is a mile massacre about to occur!

[Leo]

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