Seb and Dixie have been working split shifts over the last 24 hours.
It has paid off as they have progressed a total of 157 kilometres.
Dixie wrote late last night:
A rodeo is a wild thing to watch. Both the cowboy and the bull go at it shaking, hobbling, jerking and always out of balance and the goal is to stay upright as long as possible. That is exactly what we experience going through the sastrugi at considerable speed. The only difference is that we get shaken,not for seconds but for 7,8,9 hours on end. Something had to give and after Seb’s knees that now need constant attention and care, now my ankle is suffering the damage. We play nurse for each other and see where the other can use some help, we are now a well-oiled team and a good joke is always the best remedy!
We did enjoy one relatively flat passage that coincided with impressive clouds coming over us from the west and a increasing wind, letting us believe that the inlandsis of Greenland is not only covered with sastrugi ...
It is the first expedition that I have had to deal with them for so long on end and we have now covered a total of 809 km. We would need confirmation from specialists but it would make perfect sense that the past couple of big storms just chiseled the ice cap out for an extra challenge. Besides being hard on impact and making navigation much more complex (forget the straight line from A to B), the added bonus is that speed is reduced by half. That one flat stretch felt like a speedway where the gliding was good, the stress of falling disappeared and the feeing of bliss was offered free of charge.
Still we did 106 km :)
Later today, Dixie added to their story:
As foreseen, the gloomy conditions materialised and the only thing that allowed me to take the decision to give it a go was the horizon that was faintly visible. Without that the risks are too high.
Through the early morning - we have taken the habit to rise and shine at 5 am and get going at 7 am - the wind blew at an average of 6 to 8 knots so we used our biggest kites and with a South/Southwesterly wind it was a difficult course, trying to keep the kite from falling out of the sky as our generated speed is regularly faster than the wind speed. So it was very fine kite handling and steering with hundreds of kite loops, designing figure-eights on ‘starboard side’ or small power-strikes as high in the sky as possible as there is definitely more wind higher up. With our extension lines of 50 m, it is a pleasure to find more wind.
Here is hurrah to a major change !!!! Since we are moving more north it seems we are finally leaving behind the worst of the complexities of the southern Greenland complex weather and now the sastrugi have decreased in size, they are further apart and allow for slaloming between them.
What remains is the constant friction of everything stowed in our sleds when we go at high speed. Everything vibrates especially when going over the sastrugi so things DO break or get quickly abused by abrasion. Sewing, glueing, repairing with superglue or tape, drilling holes to re-attach hard materials... it is all part of our daily creativity.
No dead-end breakage (yet) but holding my breath every day.
And so another day went by but was ended by complete white out around noon coupled with the wind that decided to take a break. A heavy silence installed itself, the two birds that visited us decided to taint both of our kites by using them as their toilet. As cute as they are, our kites are holy and have souls, so I played scarecrow for a while.
The white out is now lifting and we are ready for tomorrow.
Their current position is:
N 68° 39' 31"
W 48° 01' 14"
Their trajectory continues to unfold at Expeditions Unlimited via LiveExplorer tracking system.