Yes, yes, yes! 201km!!!

Date = 5/1/2018
Day 45 (Expedition) Day 52 (Antarctica)
Location = Thiel plateau
Coordinates  – S81 38.123’, W80 06.266’
Altitude = 782m
Temperature =  -15C
Wind speed / direction = 15-20 knot S
Windchill = – 20C
Distance travelled = 201km
Distance remaining = 250km

We started off in nasty rock hard sastrugi thinking it was going to be a tough day. We battled through and the hit another run of silky smooth perfection. We switched to our beloved big 15m Ozone Chrono’s and the kms started to die. We kited over 5 hours covering 100km+ without stopping! With a 20knot of wind, landing a high aspect ratio 15m kite is no mean feat so we just kept going and kept looping.

We stopped after 160km, and after a drink, we decided to go for one more session, and we are so glad we did. Relaxed, fully powered, perfect surface, glorious sun; Yes, yes, yes!

Nearly 40km an hour, with 100kgs+, whooping all the way – so, so, good.

The belief that this was here is what motivated me to make this expedition happen. The fact it took 40 days to find is a mere detail. Well we finally found it wholeheartedly! Almost 500km in 3 days. We can see the Pirrit Hills on the horizon. My goodness we have come far! We are now just 250km from Union glacier!

We have another 130km across the ice cap and then we will be treated to mountain views as traverse the horse shoe valley.  The last 25km is over a mountain pass and down a glacier. It could take a whole day if we can’t kite.

Mark satisfied with his day’s work

So suddenly the flashes of the checkered flag in the distance! No complacency, we are not there yet! I had a terrible high speed crash today, worst of the trip. Not exactly sure what happened, but suddenly I was 6 metres in the air hurtling forward at 20kmph. Mark got full visuals and tells me my 196cm long skis were wind-milling. I ‘landed’ it, but my skis came off, and I cratered hard, narrowly missed by the speeding pulk behind me! Thankfully it was a soft surface. I was winded, and my unzipped down suit was full of snow, but I walked.

An incident like that on the sastrugi would not end well. One second, that’s all it takes. We’ve been out here pushing hard and getting hammered for 45 days and just one second can decide how it ends!

So we must be safe and steady for the final phase of the final phase, and of course rip as fast as we possibly can, with wide eyes and giant grins all the way.


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