Stepping up from 11 to 12 hours

Published on 09.12.2008 - Finnish South Pole Expedition 2008

The two Finns have gone up a gear. Since their rest day, they have added another hour of skiing to their daily programme, taking their working day from eleven to twelve hours.

And it was by great good luck that Kari Poppis Suomela and Pasi Ikonen were able to celebrate Finland's independence day and their passing through 85 degrees south at the same time. As we have mentioned in other updates, the 85th parallel marks halfway point for all of the expeditions travelling the route between Hercules Inlet and the South Pole. It provided the two men with an opportunity to rekindle their patriotic feelings by saluting the Finnish flag before setting out for the day. They also reiterated the fact that in the eyes of the world, the Antarctic belongs to no one nation in particular and that Finland was one of the original signatories to the Antarctic Treaty back on 23rd June 1961.

Another reminder of where they are now comes from the position of the sun on the horizon, which tends to make the journey more difficult for some (those who find that it gets too hot inside their tents in the evening), yet more comfortable for others (those who enjoy seeing the sun's rays shining in this world of cold and ice). In any case, the way the two Finns see it, the temperature they wake up to in the morning now is no different from what they are used to when they get up early at home.

8th December saw the return of the sastruggis, although that is not what is bothering the two adventurers the most. Over the past few days the men have noticed lumps and bumps forming all over their bodies, rather like pimples that itch a bit. They are wondering whether it is the high fat content in their food that may be causing these unpleasant pustules – or is it something else? In any event, they have decided to keep a close eye on these little spots and will talk to the doctor about them during one of their forthcoming satellite links.

Thus far, Suomela and Ikonen are showing themselves to be the fastest out on the ice, moving at a rate of about thirty kilometres a day.

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