Two degrees of latitude crossed in less than a week!

Published on 28.11.2008 - Finnish South Pole Expedition 2008

Morale is sky-high with Kari Poppis Suomela and Pasi Ikonen as they make "big strides" across the ice, even if they are travelling on skis. Better still, they continue to have the time of their lives!

On 19th November, they passed the 81st degree South which was a minor achievement in itself: it marked the one-tenth stage of their expedition that will ultimately take them all the way to 90 degrees South. Provided you go in a straight line, each degree of latitude represents 110 km. Sometimes, of course, the terrain forces you to zigzag a little. The weather gods are smiling on the adventurers at the moment: it's cold, but there's not much wind and the sky is a beautiful blue.

Summer is almost here. The two Finns like to take advantage of their meal breaks during which they pull out the football and have a kick around. "We used the two sledges as goalposts," they report, "but we left our shorts in our bags!"

At the moment, the two explorers are skiing for 8 hours out of a "working" day of 10. Because morale is so high, because they are feeling fit and because they have gotten used to both the pace of travelling and the cold, they are planning to increase their skiing time to 9 hours a day soon.

On both 21st and 22nd November, they covered over 25 km each day.

On Sunday 23rd November, Poppis and Kari decided to have a "day of rest". This meant skiing for just 7 hours and treating themselves to a good meal. "We decided to eat al fresco today to celebrate the fact it was Sunday. We were lucky, too, because when the time came to eat, we found a really nice restaurant," joke the two young men, adding: "Café Ant Arc Tic is a really airy place, with a very continental and cosmopolitan atmosphere. We even found a table that was free. The food was family-style and quite delicious, which gave us a boost for doing more kilometres!" Despite skiing for just 7 hours, they still managed to cover 24.1 km and, that evening, they had passed the 82nd degree South.

24th November was an excellent day, despite the wind: 26.4 km. They hope that, at this speed, they will reach the Pole some time between Christmas and New Year's, as planned.

Their daily average dropped to 21.8 km on 25th November. "As with sport, some excuses are allowed during polar expeditions," declare the two stooges. "Today it was the sastruggis that slowed us down. These mounds of snow that are created by the wind and hardened by the cold, stop us from skiing properly. Some of your ski is always off the ground".

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