Day 25–Wondrous Shapes

November 29, 2011 11:11pm

November 29, 2011

S75°03.035′ E013°10.911

Elevation 11231 feet

Today did not turn out to be the day of glorious travel we have been waiting for. It was, by default, a day of rest. The morning was dead still and by noon, when a weak flutter manifested off the tent’s fabric, it turned out to be a Southeasterly–squarely where we are headed (our bearing at this point is 151°). Besides, by mid afternoon, as has been customary, the wind died altogether. A weak consolation prize: the sun was blasting the tent, and outside, the lack of wind made for a pleasant day which I optimized by going out on a walk. With camera, of course. I have been mesmerized by the shapes the low angle sun defines on the ice–raw, abstract and organic. This has become somewhat of an obsession these last weeks, and for today, a good way to constructively use time. Hidden in these random forms, shaped by the wind, are faces, animals or art deco lines and patterns. The ice delivers infinite variety, and chilly though it got, I put in two hours of good work. Besides, with four feet of ceiling space, a day in the tent essentially means lying down. Anytime the sun is out, the wind absent and temperatures hover around 20C below is a good opportunity to stretch the legs. This of course, will not get us closer to the 1167 kilometers that separates us from the POI, our first stop which I had hoped to reach by December 15th. It now means an daily average of around 72 kilometers, not daunting per se, but given the weak winds and poor direction–and our daily kiting average thus far: 42 kilometers!–a growing concern. This pretty much eclipses my hopes to make time on this leg for the uncertain stretch between POI and South Pole, a crossing that has, to this day, never been done. A big focus of the mission centers on that 800 kilometers section, opening it for the first time. Theoretically, the slow downhill grade that leads to the South Pole should generate tail winds, even if weak. Unfortunately, that is the same logic that should manifest northeasterly katabatics here and, well, we all know where that theory has gotten us. I had factored twenty five days for that section, one that remains a mystery. Any chartered flight within that region is so cost prohibitive that they are not even an option. In a few days, I will have to consider foregoing the POI and focus on the South Pole for just a transcontinental crossing. Our pick up off the ice is no later than January 26th. Seems a long way out, but not for the distances we need to cover. So we pray for good winds, starting tomorrow…

One Response to “Day 25–Wondrous Shapes”

  1. Evelyne Gaudin says:

    Dear Sebastian,

    I am amazed by what I read..and so looking forward to seeing all hour photos..whatever you reach is still a tremendous achievement… I wish I could send you the winds that I heard will be blowing today in parts of Europe..
    Sunny Regards from Switzerland where I will be for the next 10 days, prior to returning to Santa Monica.
    May the good winds be your way!!!

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