Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Crazy Arctic Guy ailing, closing in

Another busy week, so here's the last few days:

Sat, 18 Mar 2006 // 08:42

Latest position : N88°34'10' E83°41'32'
Distance to go: 160km
Temperature: -15°C
Days of food left: 13
Average daily distance required: 13km

Mike and Borge have spent the last 54 days walking in darkness, catching only a glimmer of sunlight on the horizon some days for a few hours. With the sun rising at the North Pole for the first time each year on the Spring Equinox, which is approximately March 21st (3 days time), the walking duo saw their first glimpse of the sun today - a welcome sight...

'We woke up in white-out conditions this morning and with very strong winds. It was a very difficult day. Bad terrain and poor visibility hindered our progress and we only advanced 15kms in 10 hrs. We could hardly see two metres in front of us. Ice conditions were bad, with some moving patches and leads appearing. Just when we thought that our swimming days were over we were forced to put on our swim suits and cross two leads. These must definitely be the last!!

The temperatures were cold when we woke up but they gradually warmed throughout the afternoon. You won't believe that we saw our first glimpse of the sun today. Ironically we looked at the temperature gauge at the same time, but saw that there was no change. It was still reading -38°C. It was an amazing sight to see the sun and it re-zapped us with instant energy and well-being.

Now, at our camp this evening it is dead calm, the winds have dropped and the temperature has climbed to -15°C. We hope that now the winds have calmed the southerly drift will also stop. We're fed up with drifting backwards! The winds appear to be turning to NW which might give us an easterly drift, or even better we might stop drifting altogether.Only 160km to go to the Pole and only one major concern at this moment. As we are speaking, Borge is sawing his skis in half. Unfortunately his last repair job did not hold out so he has no choice but to shorten the skis and move the bindings forward. This shouldn't hinder his progress too much we any rate, nothing is going to stop us from getting to the pole now!!!'

Sun, 19 Mar 2006 // 09:16

Latest position : N88°53'19' E80°14'47'
Distance to go: 124km Temperature: -28°C
Ice drift: Northeast
Days of food left: 12
Average daily distance required: 11km

It's unbelievable to think just a few days before reaching the pole we are finally getting a drift in the right direction! Wouldn't it be nice if it stays like this until the end?!?

Once again, Borge is repairing his skis this evening. He is sticking the cut off portion (that he took off last night) onto the underside of the ski. This means that now his skis are double thickness and will be more solid to withstand the rest of our journey. I hope for his sake this'll be the last time he'll need to repair his ski!

DAY 57: THE FINAL 100KM...
Mon, 20 Mar 2006 // 08:01

Latest position : N89°07'45' E78°
Distance to go: 97kms
Temperature: -28°C
Days of food left: 11
Average daily distance required: 9km

A monumental day it was today, because not only did we arrive at the 89th latitude, but we also have less than 100kms to go until we reach the Pole (97 to be exact). We think that in 4 days we'll make it, and if by some chance the drift is with us, we might even make it in 3 days.

Borge ski repairs seems to be finally lasting. We are hoping that now they will be fine until we get to the Pole. He must be very careful where he places his feet because I doubt that he'll be able to repair them again after this.

I have an upset stomach today and am feeling nauseous. Not at all sure why - perhaps it's the food, perhaps it's because of the vasodilator I am taking, perhaps just generalised fatigue. We've only had two days rest until now - the 15th day and the 29th day. Once we get to the Pole we'll be able to rest but for now we want to keep on going. I'm sure my stomach will come right after some food and a good sleep.

Mon, 20 Mar 2006 // 23:34

Latest position : N89°21'26' E79°05'25'
Distance to go: 72kms
Temperature: -26°C
Days of food left: 10
Average daily distance required: 8km

Mike seems to be suffering from some form of intoxication, perhaps from a possible fuel leakage inside his sledge that may have contaminated some of his food. However, neither he nor Borge really know where it came from.

He is suffering from generalised weakness, body aches and nausea and has no desire to eat or drink. Always reluctant to take medication, Mike has finally succumbed this evening and has taken some antibiotics. We hope that the double dose he took will take effect immediately and that his condition will soon start to improve.

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 // 23:01

Latest position : N89°35'19' E79°37'43'
Distance to go: 45kms
Temperature: -28°C
Days of food left: 9
Average daily distance required: 5km

Today the winds calmed down completely and the temperatures were -28°C. The forecast predicts southerly winds tomorrow of 5m/s (11mph) which is very positive for us. The following day northeasterly winds are predicted. Our plan is to go as far as possible tomorrow and turn into the northeasterly winds on Thursday continuing straight to the Pole. Ideally it would be better to have a complete rest day to help my body get over whatever it has, but we want to continue because of the changing weather. It is better for us to continue now while the going is good.

The Spring Equinox has arrived and the sun is in the sky 24 hours a day now. We didn't realize that what we were seeing before was actually only the reflection of the sun. It wasn't the sun at all. Now, after 3 months we are looking at the real sun and it is something different altogether. For the first time yesterday we saw shadows. You think you feel heat in the sun's rays but in fact you don't. It really is the most amazing sight.


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