A very pleasant day: about half of the day it was all uphill or soft snow...and during the other half, both things simultaneously, all in all, 9h45.
I finished exhausted and I had a couple of brutal fainting fits. I've been able to move on and defend a worthy 25 Km. taking plenty of Power Bar products. I'm lucky to have plenty of them with me, as they're so good and tasty, where in days like days I would run out of reserves very fast.
I'm aware that from where you are and look at the last 5 remaining degrees to the South Pole it seems all downhill. I know and I'm grateful to all who were giving support when reaching the 50% of the traverse, and I'm also aware of the information I was told that from degree 85 it would be easier But the truth is I'm having a beginning of the second half much more complicated than I expected.
This is a reflection based on a published text in Andreu Mateu Blog when crossing the Atlantic Ocean alone:
In all seriousness, this expedition has been jinxed since the beginning. Bad luck has accompanied us since the first day: 4 months before departure a main sponsor who practically committed to our project pulled out. We had all sorts of problems getting some key material which didn't arrive until the last minute. When in Chile, About 70% of our dried meat was confiscated. The Cargo material was delayed for 10 days travelling by truck as there was a Volcano eruption in the Andes area and it had to be retained. The plane that was taking us from Punta Arenas to Antarctica was 8 days delayed due to poor weather conditions. We where stuck in the tent for 13 days with a horrendous storm and 2 to evacuate Carles. I was left without team mate at Km.30 from the 1.145 that I had to do. The terrain has been terrible during the first half the traverse, and the sledge is very heavy as I assumed the common material we had planned with Carles which otherwise I wouldn't have taken if I had planned to go solo. Right now I'm suffering much more than expected to get from degree 85 to 86, when everyone said it would be much easier.
And many more details, that make me come to the conclusion that we really had very bad luck; maybe it wasn't the right time, or the right year. One asks himself if it make sense all together, where sweating my guts out and put so much effort when everything is against you, only wears you down and brings little satisfaction; to be all alone in such uncomfortable place and repeating the same monotonous routine is a complete disaster; and, in a nutshell, right now, I can see few positive things to this project. Yes, we have been really unfortunate.
Beware though... reality can be perceived in a different way.
I am fortunate to be part of this expedition in one of the most pure, remote and special of the world. I've been lucky to keep overcoming the obstacles that I've been finding along the way, as it often happens in an ambitious project: we found tow very enthusiastic sponsors (Factor Energia and DAMM) when that other sponsor I mentioned before pulled out, and we could close the budget. We where too smart at customs police and they took about 70% of our dried meat away, but I kept the rest in a different bag without them noticing. The Cargo was 10 days delayed and it would have been a disaster if it wasn't for the Antarctic flight being also delayed which gave us time to receive all the material sent for the traverse. I have covered almost 60% of the route, despite getting stuck in the tent for 15 days due to bad weather and Carles evacuation.
To lose my teammate was a major setback, both for him as he was very disappointed as for me to decide whether to continue on my own; But I've been fortunate to be ablt to perfectly adapt to my new condition of solitary expeditionary, and I have discovered as if all these years of adventures prepared me to face it. Added to that, this unexpected change of direction turned to be an opportunity, as a person attracted to big challenges, I would have always wanted to do such interesting thing solo, but my responsibility as a family man, would surely make me not even think about it. I carry more weight for not having prepared which material was required to do a solo traverse, but I also have the advantage of sleeping in very wide tent and when finishing each journey I'm so comfortable that I do rest and relax magnificently. Terrain conditions have been and continue to be very hard, and this is what makes me see the value and merit of this adventure. In short, I've been and I am very lucky in all what happened, and I realise that I'm going through in one of the most specials projects of my life.
The discomfort, the loneliness, the suffering and the toughness of the project in general mean a really intense experience where I will learn a lot and it will be useful for my memories and to apply in several aspects of my life.
Yes, I have been very fortunate.
I suppose you can already imagine which of the two visions on this expedition I choose, right?
Normally in life is not that important what happens to us, but what do we think about what's happening to us. In addition, concerning having good or bad luck, it's not only a matter of perception, but attitude, as we are mainly responsible of attracting the "good luck "or" bad luck" which is completely different to the simple chance concept. I am a great fan of a book written by Alex Rovira and Fernando Trias de Bes called "La Bona Sort - The Good Luck", from which I will mention a very powerful sentence that goes more or less like this: "Who does not take care of the opportunities and its circumstances, will always depend on chance". And who tries and look for, create and take advantage of the given opportunities, and work on the circumstances, is never worried about chance.
I DEDICATE THE DAY TO:
Andreu Mateu. Personal friend who's done a lot of adventures with a radical approach, nonconformist, who always tries to think outside the box and who always fight to make special projects to happen.
From all of his challenges, the most significant one is the Atlantic Ocean crossing, rowing and on his own and without any support between November 2006 and January 2007. I was following him daily on his blog, funny, and full of teachings, which enriched my life. A well managed blog like his, is like reading a good quality book, fresh and wrote day after day, departing from an intense experience and reflections lived at the same time in a very special way. I hope this blog will go in a similar way.
The fact is it is me now who's alone in the ocean, and an icy one in this occasion, and I realise how important it was to follow Andreu in his Atlantic insanity. Loads of critical moments I have been through brought some of the comments he was making when he was lost in the middle of the ocean.
Andreu: As I know you're following this site, and surely you will read this, think that all of this is about buttering you up and get a free dinner when I'm back. Of course, you inspire me, as when I'm screwed during this traverse, I think, if Andreu was able to row for three months in the Atlantic, I must be able to walk in this land for two months!!!
Big hug Andreu...and we'll see each other soon to discuss this and other stuff, of course.