Day 56–Fooled

December 30, 2011 7:00pm

December 30, 2011

S84°07.539 E055°02.714

Elevation 11433 feet

If yesterday’s progress suggested the successful final phase of our expedition, today’s non event brought us back to the drawing board. Nothing is certain, except that we have fourteen to fifteen days to reach the Pole before we run out of white fuel for cooking. And today suggests that getting there could be drawn out.
We were fooled again. While the remarkable wind conditions of yesterday held through the night and into the morning, we anticipated another glorious day of distance for today. There was no rush getting out of the tent: the previous two days held great winds, and as we are descending in elevation–and conquering new land!–we naturally expected for this to last. In the tent, we even joked about having found the Nirvana of ice kiting, and that we should set up a luxury kiting camp called “White Dessert” which would compete with the existing “White Desert”, except that ours would have a French pastry chef, and our katabatic winds would always be perfect.
We’re re-thinking the business model. We got out around 11:00, and I set up a shot with a camera mounted on the sledge behind me; we coordinated our synchronized lift off for camera, got the kites up in the air and ready to rip, and then…nothing. There was a breeze on the ground, but in a reverse of yesterday, nothing above.
Where I expected a glorious tracking shot from the rear as we glided, in formation, over the ice, we snailed around at four miles per hour, gyrating as we struggled to keep the kites in the air. And that old nagging feeling of doubt and crushed ambition creeped up again, fast, as I watched my kite fall out of the sky like a crumpled up cream puff! We were back in the doldrums. Within an hour, the wind simply shut off altogether. Incredulous, and not quite ready to admit defeat, we set up the tent as temporary shelter from the cold, but kept our clothes and boots on–not yet moving in–in case the wind would turn on again. I called in for Marc’s wind model forecast, and while waiting for his call back, starred at the tent fabric for any sign of life. Nothing. The call finally came, but the projections are bleak: no wind for the next forty eight to seventy two hours–the extent of the forecast. Tomorrow, we will likely strap on the skis–and start walking. We managed a measly six kilometers today, which leaves 656 to the South Pole, and fourteen days to do it in. We’re going back to work.
My lunch bags of nuts are becoming insipid by now, but that cream puff image is getting me all worked up! Luckily, I have managed to save a twenty day bag of Hebalife protein powder from the fuel contaminated food we jettisoned. Now we just need enough fuel to make water for it. Fourteen days…

One Response to “Day 56–Fooled”

  1. BASILE says:

    Patience, vous avez dit patience?!!! Plus Courage!

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