Not as fast as needed

Published on 02.12.2011 - Antarctic Ice Expedition

Training in Norway before the start of the expedition

Training in Norway before the start of the expedition

© Expedition website

Even if the two Belgians can now use their kites almost every day, they do not progress as fast as they would like to.

On day 8 (29 November) of the expedition (counting with the new start on 22 December), they have done 4 km in 5 hours hard work on the ice ; finkle winds and dynamic snow conditions left them little to show for their efforts.

The next day, they performed 35 km although the terrain was quite tricky. That day, Julie Brown who is managing the HQ of the expedition (and who is also by the way Dixie's wife) made a basic calculation : "... After 9 days of progression", she wrote, "they have advanced a total of 325 kilometers.  This current average of 36 km/day needs to eventually double in order to achieve their final distance goal, but as we are still early in the expedition, we have no worries about this expected increase. ..."

On day 10 it was a real kite rodeo : "..; "Yesterday was like a rodeo!" exclaimed Dixie this morning.  "Falling - getting up - riding the unpredictable wind until she dumped us like an untamed bronco.  We bounced our way across 41 kilometers of Antarctica's wide open spaces, tangled up between the lines of our kites and the sharp sastrugis wating to snag us.  Not pretty, but we earned the distance."

In the meantime, Sam described their less than graceful progress last night:  "There is a real art to this. It's all about timing, steering the kite correctly, applying the right amount of brake on the lines, and holding a steady course.  If we go too much with the wind, our kite collapses.  If we go too little with the wind, we start heading the wrong way and lose too much speed.  It's not easy on good terrain, but the real difficulty begins among the monstrous sastrugi...."


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