Great progress!

Published on 27.11.2008 - Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition

The relatively mild weather conditions prevailing during the early days of the Antarctic season have enabled our adventurers to make good progress. You can never take anything for granted in the Antarctic, though, and you have to make the most out of the good conditions to cover as many kilometres as you can.

21st November was a "rest" day. Henry Worsley's team has decided to progress a "short" day of 6 hours once a week, instead of the usual 8 hours on the other days. This explains the day's 8.21 nautical miles (15.2 km) progression.

The following day, on the 22nd, they broke their first record: 14.4 miles or 26.7 km! Just to recap, the average distance they are to cover each day in order to reach Ernest Shackleton's original turning back point 97 miles from the Pole is 12.5 nautical miles or 22.5 km per day. They managed to break their record despite the short days, the cold and their heavy sledges, but they reckon they will be able to make even better timing once they have reached Beardmore Glacier and the polar plateau.

23rd November was another good day (13.9 nautical miles or 25.7 km) but then the weather turned sour the following day, with temperatures reaching minus 25°C and fierce winds. Their yield for the day: 12 nautical miles (22.2 km).

Despite all their weather problems, the three adventurers and their logistics team have not lost their sense of humour nor their desire to teach something to other people. So, for anyone who wonders why nautical miles are often used to measure distances, the men explain that the distances used by the early polar explorers were measured using maps divided into degrees and minutes on which 1 degree of latitude = 60 nautical miles and 1 minute = 1 nautical mile. Also, if you were wondering what polar adventurers do with their faecal waste, the Antarctic Treaty stipulates that no "waste" of any kind may be left behind on the frozen continent. "Everything" is brought back in bags... This means that the weight of the sledges they have to haul around doesn't diminish quite as fast as you may think!

By the evening of 25th November, the men had covered a total of 128.9 nautical miles or 238.7 km.

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