Dan and Amelia:  Incipient Doubt…

Published on 13.04.2010 - Northpolechallenge.co.uk

Whereas they had thought that things would get better as they got nearer the Pole, in fact just the opposite occurred. And the couple has started to doubt...

An example of what the couple is experiencing on a daily basis. This happened on 07 April. Dan and Amelia had a lead in front of them that was too wide to be spanned. Fed up with their wetsuits that were leaking and letting in water, they skirted the edge of the passage and found a place where the two banks were close enough together for the sledge to be put over the lead. They put the sledge over it and Amelia committed herself to it. Suddenly, the bridge that had been chosen for the passage widened, and the two banks moved away from one other. But the separation was not gradual; it occurred pretty violently and over an incredible distance of more than ten metres. Amelia extracted herself at the last moment but the sledge was in the water. They had to find another way across.

On 09 April, Amelia, instead of continuing to recount their endless setbacks, drew up a list of the difficulties that were constantly impeding their progress: large clouds, zero visibility, deep snowdrifts, a mosaic of fractured ice sheets that was constantly fissured with channels of interstitial waters or young ice, the negative drift of course (whereas they had thought that it was now behind them), a congestion of awful ice, the blizzard, abrupt snowstorms, and so on.

Making headway had become so incredibly difficult that the two of them were starting to ask each other questions and wondering whether they would be able to hold out in such conditions for very much longer. Were they going to reach their goal? They have admitted to a fair amount of mental suffering. The problem was that the interstitial waters that so delayed them each time were so numerous that they were hardly able to do even fifteen kilometres per day. Whereas they would need to do at least 20 to arrive at the Pole in time.

Dan wrote on 10 April: "We can only do as many as we possibly can and hope..."

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