“this is not what it said in the brochure…”

It seems a bit grim outside today.

Date = 21/11/2017
Day = 2 (Expedition) – Day 7 (Antarctica)
Location = middle of nowhere
Coordinates  – 87.9808S, 131.6591W
Altitude =   2908m
Temperature =  -28C
Wind speed / direction = 18knot gusts to 20knot
Windchill = -45C
Distance travelled today = 0km
Distance remaining = 2000 km

Well this was not the flying start I had envisaged! Yesterday it was cold, but sunny and clear with a 12knot wind when we were dropped off. We could have travelled but unacclimatised to the cold and altitude we thought it prudent to spend the night here. Overnight the wind picked up considerably and visibility has dropped dramatically. It’s pretty stormy outside right now and moving does not seem like an option. We need at least reasonable visibility to travel as we really must keep a visual on one another all of the time as we mustn’t get separated out here. Ideally we’d also have our first couple of kite sessions in gentle, friendly wind to get used to the giant loads and this hard, bumpy surface. So we’re tent bound in a storm and it’s really very unpleasant outside!

Jean and Mark – the boys inside the tent

The thing which is causing us our main concern it the wind direction. For 3 years I have been studying wind models and at this location the wind almost always comes from the south. This is important as it means we can travel either north along 132’ latitude to get to the Spectre but also crucially it means on the way back we can travel east towards Theil Mountains and back to Union Glacier. Last week when we looked at wind models it appeared the wind was coming from the NE for most of the week. Something I have never seen before for such a long period. Right now it appears it is still coming from NE. When it clears up we can still travel to Spectre on this wind direction, but if it’s still the same in a month when we head back up here, it totally scuppers our home bound strategy. No point in worrying too much about weather a month from now, especially when we’re currently pinned in a storm. So much for the stable high pressure and southerly winds which we were not only anticipating, but banking on.

This unexpected wind direction is also throwing our sense of navigation. This far south it is quite confusing working out directions, magnetic North, true north, magnetic variation etc. and this peculiar wind direction further compounds the confusion. Thankfully our GPS devices have waypoints and tracks pre-programmed so as soon as we begin to travel we will quickly establish whether or not we are going in the right direction!

Must try to keep motivation up and stay on top of the situation so that when it clears up we are psyched and ready to go. It is possible we could be here for days!

It’s snowing outside which is extremely rare here in what is officially classified as a desert. When the sun shines we have been told on good authority that it can be too warm to be inside a sleeping bag in the tent. That however is very much not the case in these conditions. It’s bloody freezing in here.

Mark is being heroic, filming outside in the storm. Jean is measuring climatic conditions, though they both keep berating me that “this is not what it said in the brochure”.

I am doing the important task of communicating our predicament with the outside world from the comfort of my sleeping bag…

Mark in the storm relaying condition information back to Leo in his sleeping bag in the tent…

Just received a weather update. Going to get worse for a couple of days with winds up to 40knots, then looks like it’s  clearing on Nov 24 and wind will swing around to a more normal southerly direction. Time for some R&R before we drop the hammer towards the Spectre in a few days.

Please keep your comments coming, it’s really inspiring to know people are following our journey and keeps up the motivation for sending these updates and battling with our 3.5kbs data connection to send out photos!


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