From Bengt: Sunny and nice weather, cold last night…In total we did 30km, very happy about that. As always we started the day with outmeal porridge. Børge’s secret recipe. 180grams that we mix with hot water. During the day we eat chocolate, nuts, cheese, freeze-dried fruit, chips, noodles, salami and biscuits. In the night we have dinner in a lot of different tastes, made my Real Turmat. Every night we have a meeting in the big tent so everyone knows the plan for tomorrow. Our plan tomorrow is skiing for 9 hours. Divided into 8 legs with a 10 minute breaks in-between. The midday break is longer, we even put up a telt as shelter. All good here, cheers!
From Bengt: A cold and windy morning, but sunshine! We woke up in the shadow of the dome after a cold night. Wind is still from the east – 8-10 m/s, temp in the 20’s. On our way we passed the runway and camp Raven which is about 3km from the station. In the summer season Raven is manned by a team of two who maintains a training airstrip for the US Air Force. It used to be a place we stopped by to say hi, sometimes for a coffee. But now with a new crew and perhaps new regulations adventurers are not welcome.
So we silently passed by. Looked to the right and left to see if there were any planes coming in, and heded towards 127 degrees on the compass. Which is our heading to the eastern icefall. Today we did 25km, wind settled in the end, now we are enjoing a real dinner, before going to sleep.
From Bengt: Nice day, with changing wind. We could see the DYE station when we started, some 20 kilometres away. We had a brief moment with weather coming over us, then it was gone. The station kept growing as we got further, but it seemed like we never got to it, and then finally we were there. We had a real dinner before we went in to see this monster from the inside.
The building got left in the late 80’s, and it really looks that way on the inside. Paint is falling off the walls, and the interior is moved around, some places are in bits and pieces. It is really good to have reached this milestone. It took forever, with slow progress and 3 days of heavy storms. Now we look forward to the next milestone – the summit. Well, not really the summit of the cap, but for us the highest point of our journey.
From Nigel: Well the storm that was predicted arrived! It was a beauty too. Winds over 30 metres per second peaking with gusts over 38 m/s. The hard work we had put in digging down and building a wall paid dividends and we were well protected despite the elements. With only room for 2 tents it was a squash and with 4 of us squeezed in one tent like sardines there wasnt much room. Upside was it was a great chance to sleep and rest bodies as we have some big days ahead. Late afternoon the wind eased and we dug the camp and pulkas out. Quite a job. We set off early evening and the wind died completely. It was glorious. We were excited to see DYE 2 in the distance for the first time. Pitching camp in the late evening we were glad to be back on the move.
The wind doesnt seem as crazy as the last storm either as we built a huge snow wall that mother nature enforced with more deposits of snow. Our camp is solid after six hours of digging and building! Such a surreal scene to encounter, wind so strong it was hard to stand up, the sun eerily peeping through the clouds and all of us digging like mad before it got stronger. And now we get to wait it out playing games and reading.
How do you take your tea? Probably not with milk AND lemon juice! This rather peculiar combination may not have been one of Nansen’s best inventions.
Nansen’s expedition team were only a week or so into the crossing but had already encountered hideous storm conditions, and were fighting unquenchable thirsts. With their drinking water limited, Nansen struck upon the ‘brilliant notion’ of adding citric acid to the group’s tea for extra refreshment. However, they had forgotten about the condens…ed milk which they’d already added to their cups. The result, as Nansen described, was a disaster…
“…our disappointment when we saw the milk sink to the bottom and slowly curdle was indescribable. We drank the mixture however, and I, who, as the inventor and patentee was bound to set a good example, could say no less than that I found the refreshing qualities of the tea increased by the addition of citric acid in spite of the unwelcome lumps of curd. But this dictum did not meet with general acceptance, and the experiment was never repeated.”
From Nigel: Probably the coldest day so far with a keen wind meaning most opted for goggles and big over-gloves at least for the morning. Skiing into the wind the view is unchanging – flat and white. We strained our eyes to see DYE 2, our next destination point without luck. It is a remnant of the Cold War, an American radar warning site. Mid afternoon we heard a noise and were amazed to see a helicopter fly overhead. We skied on. Excitement today was changing long skis for short ones, which will help with glide and speed. Another 20km day.
Big shout out to Miss Wilkinson, Chris W and class at Christchurch South Intermediate who are following the journey!
Roll on tomorrow.
From Bengt: We started the day with a happy birthday song for Keith. Bridget made a fantastic birthday card that we all signed, which Keith got after the song.
Keith is the one who is documenting this trip and therefore is the one who always have to walk the longest in a day. He needs to be ahead, in the back, far away, and in the situation – all at the same time… a job that Keith does very well, we all look forward to seeing the result. We did 8 hours of walking yesterday, that gave us 20km. Some wind straight in our face, but realy nice surface. We are now almost at 1800m above sea. We even saw signs of life, two packs of geese. Camp is 52km from Dye2
From Bengt: At 0630 the wind settled down, and we quickly understood that we could move. We used a long time to dig out the tents, but finally could start moving.
In the second break, what we thought was a dog-team yesterday came skiing towards us.
It was an English team of six, which is also crossing the cap. No dogs there 🙂
We spent some time talking before we headed away on a slightly different course. In all we did 8 legs of 50min that gave is 17km – all good!
From Bengt: Approx. 0400 the wind came in and at 0600 when we normally start our morning it was quite clear that today would be a tent day. Wind has been stable right under 20 m/s with gusts way above. We have been outside only to do work on the camp.