Tuesday, 5 May 2009

NIALL: DAY 12, 4th MAY

Failure to prepare is preparation to fail. Last night we erected the tent in near calm conditions. We could see the wet shaped front of a hostile weather system but knew that we had just outrun it and that it would strike with all it's force a little further to our east. Concerned that we might experience a little turbulence from this passing front we angled out tent so that the rear end faced into a light breeze and piled up a little more snow than usual on the snow skirt that is stitched around the tent's fly sheet. We were asleep by 11pm as usual, but at midnight I was woken as the tent shuddered. I was showered with little ice crystals of condensed breath from the ceiling and the tent groaned again. The temperature inside was -18.4C and the barrage had started. 6am came and I cooked breakfast (while Murray slept). I could barely hear the stove, normally so loud over the sound of the wind outside. The winds are raging at force 5, gusting 6, blowing from the N/NW as predicted, which would cut into our faces should we haul out into it. We had to make a decision. In these winds could we safely take down camp? And at these extreme low temperatures in lethal combination with the winds could we avoid frostbite? The answer was obvious. So we returned to our sleeping bags while the tempest raged around us. We resolved to wait until 12pm when the temperature would be much less dangerous and reasess our situation again. We played a game of scrabble, in which I scored a fine 275, then Muzz popped his head out to have a look at the weather "absolutely no way". The winds are forecast to subside at around 6pm today and we expect favorable easterly winds force 2-3 tomorrow and Wednesday which we aim to make up for this lost day, well I am at least. I think Muzz is quite happy with a day of R&R after the beasting I've given him these past couple of days. We are 70km to the highest point of our crossing and 368km to go to the finish. By my conservative calculations we should reach the summit in 3 days and the coast in a further 12 days. But I am assured by the people at Expedition Greenland that we may be even faster, given the ability to travel quickly that we have demonstrated thus far. As such, although it's a little premature to make bold predictions, I calculate our ETA on the west coast as being maybe the 18th or 19th.
Things are really rather serious today and are both eagerly anticipating a return to relative normality tomorrow.
Our position remains 66 20.476'N 41 56.849'W, altitude 2238m.
We are well rested but we are both in need of the loo. A polar poop is quite out of the question in conditions like these. A big polar hello to all of the kids at SuperClubs Plus and GoldStar Cafe. We will toast you a warm cup of hot chocolate tonight. We hope you are enjoying following our journey and are very much uplifted by your support. My love also to Rachel and my family.

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