Day 32–Hopeful Signs

December 6, 2011 3:49pm

December 6, 2011

S77°54.494 E023°52.609

Elevation 11260 feet

At 6:30 this morning, I heard the low rumble of wind outside the tent. These days, any sign of wind is reason to get agitated, and the morning signs can make the difference between a deflated or energized mood. This was good enough to wake Eric up, and by 9:15, the kites were gingerly climbing in the sky. Conditions were far from epic, but given the last few days, a few knots of extra wind goes a long way. Ten minutes into our section, the terrain smoothed out completely. It was remarkable; the sastrugi was entirely gone which made for a silky glide and effortless skiing. The North-north-westerly was delivering a consistent twelve knots of straight down wind tack, the sun was blasting in our backs. Life was good. Had we finally reached the plateau’s smooth terrain and gentle katabatics? Our first two hours certainly held promise. A straight downwinder generally requires figure eight’s with the kite, and S turns with the skis. On smooth ice, given the very light resistance from the kite–we’re traveling in the same direction as the wind–and no snagging of the sledge on sastrugi, this is it actually quite fun. On our break, we marveled at the conditions. But it was not to last: barely into our second section, the ice roughened again, and soon turned into the worse we’ve seen since the demolition derby day. The wind was there but the ride turned into a rodeo as we bucked over the sastrugi cutting at a ninety degree angle across our path. The wild ride lasted twenty seven kilometers, or the length of our two hours section. This is not the environment where you want to land a kite, as the lines invariably get caught in every bit of sticking ice preventing a take off, which requires walking back and forth to clear the snags–it will drive you nuts! By the time we cleared that section, we were back to the usual conditions: a mix of smooth and rough ice, and weakening winds. They shut off by late afternoon but not before we managed to close 80 kilometers for the day. We needed that, if only as a boost of confidence. We are now 748 kilometers from the POI. If we can maintain a 45 kilometers average until the the South Pole, we just might be able to keep to the itinerary. This would leave us with twelve days to cover South Pole/Hercules Inlet and meet the mission’s three objectives:
1- First unassisted Novo to POI
2- First opening of POI/South Pole route
3- First East/West transcontinental crossing of Antarctica
From today, 45 kilometers per day separate us from those objectives. But let’s not count the eggs before they’ve hatched… Still, it’s good to dream a little.
Thank you for all the well wishes on our first month out here. Your support means a great deal to us; it is very much appreciated from the tent and on the ice!

17 Responses to “Day 32–Hopeful Signs”

  1. Stephane Planchon says:

    Come on guys you are gonna make it !

    May the wind be with you !!!


  2. Victoria says:

    go sebastian!

  3. Morten says:

    Fantastic how the conditions of the endeavor is reflected in the narrative about the events… it seems as if they gets deep into your souls, you becoming one with the environment. Go for it, guys… godspeed

  4. Marina Blinova says:

    Sending all the good energy from New York!!!!!!!!!

  5. Shadowjo says:

    Thanx for taking us along for the ride….
    ur blogs allow me to dream ur dream and to feel how it could have been !
    I will never do what u have done..
    but at least u let me feel I could have !
    Cheers Sebastian !

  6. joe says:

    A little wind just when you need it most. May the good fortune continue! lets get those skis up to speed and see if you can get a good long haul in. Lots of support from everyone here. Ava, Jesse, Jasmine and I all send you much love and well wishes. Ski on!

  7. Alicia Alex says:

    May the winds carry you swiftly and safely to the end.

    May the sun be warm upon your backs.

    You are an inspiration to many, I wish you safe travel and know we are all there with you in spirit to be your wind and angels to guide you safely there and home.

    Safe Journey my friends.

  8. John, Justine and Master Luca says:

    We’re following your exploits with the greatest of interest! Great lesson in perseverance for the next generation, Sebastian. Remember Persius “He conquers who endures.” (Awesome mantra.) Luca will be ready to strum you a tune upon your safe return home, and the wee one now growing in mama’s tummy is already doing cartwheels at the retelling of your feats of derring-do! Live the dream.

  9. Andrew Macpherson says:

    Great post, great story, and great accomplishment, bravo and look forward to reading more. Keep ’em coming and keep warm!!!

  10. Karin says:

    Thank you for taking us with you on your extraordenary adventure. The first thing to do in the morning when I arrive at work is turn on the computer and read your lines.
    We are all with you all the time. Be safe!

  11. Harry Golbach says:

    Strong practice an prayers are working!!!!!! TRUST – FAITH & DEVOTION is the KEY.
    Keep on going , may you be well at all time….

  12. Anna Lapushner says:

    Wishing you success in your mission Sebastian. If anyone can do it, you can!

  13. Anna Lapushner says:

    Wishing you success in your mission Sebastian & Eric. If anyone can do it, you can!

  14. Keep the spirit! I keep longing for a smoothy ice terrain waiting for you ahead, so you can avoid all the sastrugi and make it to your goal! Best luck!

  15. Leila and Mathew says:

    That day must have felt so good. Aidan asks about your progress every day. Francis too young! But likes the pictures,
    Lots of love,

  16. BASILE says:

    Je croise les doigts pour que la météo se maintienne… Fingers crossed that the weather will be maintained
    You can do it!
    Best wishes ♥

  17. Penelope Casadesus says:

    It’s amazing the highs and lows you both can through in a short space of time. Keep on truckin’ – I know you’ll make it!
    All love – your mother xxx

Leave a Reply