It's the fifth consecutive day we have not been able to go outside our tent because of the wind and snow storms that are hitting as quite badly. But yesterday through our email satellite system we received all the messages you have been sending to our site and that has been of great support and we are extremely grateful to all of you.
One of the several messages was from Andreu Mateu, (personal friend as crazy as Carles and I, who has done, amongst other adventures, the Row of the Atlantic ocean alone), and he was asking about the rescue possibilities during the expedition. So, as we have time, I will try to briefly explain how does this works:
We have an agreement with the North American/Chilean base "Union Glacier" to execute an emergency rescue in case we need it. They are tracking us daily, both through our Yellow Brick System, that you can also experience on our ‘Race Tracker' site, and through daily phone call at 20.00h to check everything is ok.
If they do not get a signal from our Yellow Brick system or have not received a call within 48 hours, the system is triggered automatically.
The rescue is carried out using a light "Twin Otter" airplane that only flies if visibility and wind conditions are sufficient enough to guarantee both flights allowing one more hour to mark the most appropriate landing area.
We have to bear in mind that landing in the Antarctic continent is done manually and if the runway is not clear (always white), the airplane will not land. As an example, if during these last 5 days we had to ask for an emergency rescue, it would have been impossible as visibility and wind conditions were not appropriate.
Another factor to take into account in a rescue of this nature is the economic cost. Weeks before departure we had to sign lots of documents, disclaimers, etc... in order to define all parties responsibilities when securing an emergency rescue, as well as demonstrating we had contracted a personal insurance policy of up to 300.000 US per person in case of medical emergency.
It does not mean that a rescue commands this cost, but it could reach that figure depending of the rescue characteristics (more than one flight to evacuate a group of people, airplane failure or malfunction, airplane rescue, and many more different situations that have to be clear.) We are not covered in case we decide to pull out and quit, for lack of food or any other reason which would cost a lot of money In other words, if we decide to pull out because we gone mad (very possible in these circumstances), we are not sure if it would be considered a medical reason or not, but we quite strongly think that it would not be that case...
In short, if we have health problems, we have secured an emergency rescue evacuation procedure as soon as the plane can flight. And if we are ok we have to resist until the end.
This is one of the major differences in a polar crossing of that nature, whereas in a mountain climb, one always can try and back down, but not in here, where one is always lost in this massive white carpet, and the concept of going down does not exist, and moving forward is the only option as there is no other option.
We just hope that this rescue issue is only dealt from a theoretical point of view and we will carry on calling tp base everyday at 20h to say we are OK and we still have not go mad....
That is it folks, only insist in thank you so much for your comments and support messages. They are free and much more useful than the Twin Otter rescue!!!