Good days and bad days

Published on 28.11.2008 - Base to the South Pole

This group of beginners is discovering that a polar expedition is made up of both highs and lows. Good news and bad news alternate as the days go by, with not a single day resembling the day before.

20th November was a good day, though, as the whole team celebrated the passing of 81 degrees south. They now have another 9 degrees. According to the calculations made by one member of the team, if they continue at their current daily average of 11 nautical miles (20 km), they should reach the next degree of latitude in 5 to 6 days from now.

All of this information has had to be gathered a bit haphazardly over recent days because the communication equipment does not appear to be working as planned. The batteries are not recharging properly, which appears to be irritating more than one person on the trek: "Give me a carrier pigeon with polar clothes, it might be slower, but at least it would work!" said one of the team members.

They had a big day on 24th November, with blue skies, but a headwind and poor terrain, which made progress difficult. It was a fine effort, though, which was rewarded by the passing of the 82nd parallel south. This is better than what had been forecasted four days before.

25th November was a good day, with fine weather. However, sastruggis, those little mounds of snow hardened by the cold, slowed progress down.

Englishman Thomas Davenport, appears to be getting tired of the scenery: "The view is the same in front, behind and out to the sides," he said. "It's all very pretty in the beginning, but after a few days with no change of scene, and with the prospect of it lasting for another two weeks, I'm just glad I have my iPod with me."

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