Hours of journey: 9h30' - Accumulative: 210h45
Km./Day: 26,1 - Accumulative: 433,7Km. Remaining to the South Pole: 711,5Km.
Days of progress: 25 (21 Solo) - Inactive Days: 15 (0 Solo) - Total Days: 40
I could be very happy because I passed for the first time, the 26 Km. in one day, but I finished the day quite badly... both mentally and physically.
Mentally because the first 4 hours in the morning have been very fast with a very flat and hard terrain which made it easy to keep the right track. I got to a good pace thinking I was getting closer to better lands...But the Antarctica always wants respect, and just after a longer stopover to eat and drink, and already closer to the end of the journey it has changed dramatically. I thought I was doing Trial. I knocked the sledge over three times, I had to correct the course constantly and I have often got stuck, in short, it has cost me dearly to advance. Today's 26 Km. have come mainly from the first 4 hours of push, because if it had been for the second half I would not have got to 25. And that stressed me out as It made me think constantly about what was left and fit would be like today, alternating good areas with other terrible ones... meaning more effort, less Kilometers and more days.
And physically because if the blisters appear to be under control so far, a couple of days ago one of the bandages made with american tape are starting a little wound in the upper part of my foot. I have been tuning it as I need to keep pushing with minimal blister damage, and I have got in the end with a very inflated wound in this part of my foot. It hurts quite badly. So far I have clean it a bit, I've taken all the tape out to try and wrap it differently, and now I will let it to dry and rest for the night... And tomorrow morning I ´ll patch it with whatever I can and one way or the other keep pushing, hoping it will stay there and does not worsen.
I'll explain briefly how I manage with the orientation
With the map, one can hardly do anything, as there aren't good quality maps of Antarctica nor geological references to work with them. The most important thing is the GPS.
I have already set a route on my GPS, marking the areas with major cracks, the gradient of the slopes upwards or downwards close to the mountain zones, and references to other expeditions that followed the same route.
So, basic orientation is pretty easy, as I only have to join the different waypoints I have stored previously, and are separated from 12Km. to 40 Km. The issue here is that I cannot always go in a straight line to the next waypoint, as the terrain does not allow it. And for that reason I have to constantly control the course, using the compass, which is quicker than to look at the GPS, that only marks the direction when in motion, and saving GPS battery.
For that reason I carry the GPS off inside the jacket to avoid fast battery consumption. Be aware that anything that has a battery (camera, gps, etc... ) if carried outside would have a very short battery life because of the intense cold. So I only switch the GPS on every now and then to check to right course and the amount of Km., and use the compass as guidance.
In order to advance with the compass, i also set a fix course, and then, by means of getting a minimum visual reference into the direction I have to go (could be a group of Sastruguis, a small snow hill, or even a cloud...) , and I move forward in stages. The problem here is when there is no visibility or a clear reference. Then you have to go with the compass in your hand all the time, or come up with something as I did the day of zero visibility, which I will explain tomorrow.
The map, in fact, is used in the evenings to mark where I am, and see my progress on the established route.
I DEDICATE THE JOURNEY TO:
Strategycomm in general, and specifically to Sandra, as I have been working with them for a long time now, and they help me with all matters concerning communication and press relations.
It's obvious, if someone pretends to gain trust from sponsors for a given project, then he has to do the best he can to provide a return on their investment. And is Strategycomm and Sandra who takes care of all that, aside of the contents that is generated through the project development.
I trust I will be giving you much more work during the next few days, that would mean I'm there. Thanks for everything.