They have celebrated passing 83 degrees south and the first drop-off point.

Published on 05.12.2008 - Base to the South Pole

Now that they have passed the 83rd parallel, some of the team members are already dreaming of the 85th, which means they will have completed half of their trek to the Pole.

On 26th November, spurred on by the thought of being re-supplied and assisted by their lightened sledges, the whole group made good progress. In the middle of nowhere the day before, a plane had come to drop off fresh supplies of food, fuel and a few surprises: some brownies and a cask of Chilean wine.

On 27th November, their guide Sarah McNair-Landry allowed everyone to sleep in until midday. This was to enable their bodies to get some good rest before setting out again.

On 28th and 29th November, feeling well rested, the team made good progress despite the poor visibility that prevented them from fully appreciating the terrain, which was covered with sastruggis. That was also when they passed the 83rd parallel.

30th November saw them break a record, with 27.4 km covered in a single day.

The day-to-day lives of these novice explorers are very much like the days of any others in the Antarctic: awake by 6.30 in the morning, prepare water for breakfast and their thermos flasks, set off at about 9.00, a break every hour and a half to drink and nibble something. After each break it takes about 30 minutes for the body to heat up properly again. When they have been skiing for 7 hours, they stop to put up their tents, heat water for their evening meal and thermoses and then into their sleeping bags by 9.30 and goodnight!

Eager to find out everything they can, some of the team members are taking advantage of their adventure to carry out some small experiments: for instance, how long does it take hot water from the thermos to freeze? If you pour a few drops on your trousers, it takes about 25 seconds. A full cup takes 30 seconds before a sheet of ice forms and 1 minute 20 seconds for the contents to be frozen solid.

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