Colliding with the surroundings and going faster

Published on 05.01.2012 - Antarctic Ice Expedition

Although the sastrugis fields are not behind them yet, Dixie and Sam are more and more in the flow of their voyage. Everything just seems to happen. "It's a very special feeling to surrender to it all..." (Sam).

The nightmare of the expedition

On day 44 ( 4 January), Sam and Dixie had the nightmare of the expedition. In the middle of the morning, coming back from the loo, Sam told Dixie : "Dixie I believe we have a problem..."

What was that ? Both of the runners of Sam's sled were only holding on to the body of the sled by the front and rear screw. The metal strip plus the ski that slides over it were no longer attached to the sled. Actually sicen two days, the pair has almost flown over the ice, the sleds bouncing and rebouncing on the sastrugis still present along their route. µ

Admittedly, there are less satrugis in this part of the continent than before the SP. But still they are there and the love-hate relationship team has with them still persists. To one side they make Sam and Dixies's life more than miserable with their knees hurting so much after a day kiting like mads, on the other hand, they have an endless beauty when they show how Eole has created them, with so gracious foms and perfect flows...

With screwdrivers, screws and glue...

In a nutshell, because of the sastrugis, the sleds were in bad shape (the one of Dixie showed the same disaster). Here is how the guys managed to get out of this almost dramatic situation (excerpts 4 January) : "... Yes, we knew that since two days now, the snow conditions should be called rock-hard ice conditions and the sled suffers more on hard ice, especially when you are going at 20 or 30 kms/hr and sastrugi or other obstacles bite hard in the sled."

"Sometimes the sled, that actually lives its own life, goes sliding sideways and hits one of these monstrous sastrugi head-on.  No wonder that the lateral impact on the skis underneath the sled is enormous.  Anyways, the verdict for my sled was the same!  We had packed all of our stuff and were ready to go, but with a major problem like this (a true mortgage on the expedition!) we had work to do.  My mind raced and immediately I took stock of the repair stuff that I had left. We had all the tools necessary to make new holes, put screws all the way through the ski, runner and the body of the sled, and also a good deal of two-component glue for this purpose.  We emptied both sleds, cleaned them thoroughly and dragged the first one in the sled where we operated on 'Orythia' first and were quite happy with the result.  'Eolus' followed and we used the last of our screws to finish the same procedure.  It is of course quite amazing that the 12 rivets on each ski had all snapped!  We are now holding our breath to see if our repair will hold, but actually we are quite confident. ..."

Their latest datas

  • Day 45 - 05 January 2012 / Current position: 81° 06' 09 S  124° 09' 33 E / Daily Progress: 135 km / Distance Total: 2885,4 km
  • Day 44 - 04 January 2012 / Current position: 82° 17' 18 S  125° 55' 26 E / Daily Progress: 56 km  /  Distance Total: 2750,4 km
  • Day 43 - 03 January 2012 / Current position: 82° 47' 30 S  125° 57' 44 E / Daily Progress: 121 km / Distance Total: 2694,4 km
  • Day 42 - 02 January 2012 / Current position: 83° 51' 53 S  127° 16' 59 E / Daily Progress: 160 km / Distance Total: 2573,4 km
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