If you're going through hell, keep going. Unless that's just completely reckless, in which case put your tent up and enjoy a day of R&R. After a soaring days skiing yesterday we both slept well and awoke hoping for more of the same today. Unfortunately Murray's snow blindness has deteriorated so we aborted all attempts to ski today after 30mins and spent the day hunkered down and recharging our batteries.
Snow blindness is essentially sunburn of the retina. The best way to cure it is to cover the eyes completely, which is what we've done today. But there are several methods of soothing the discomfort. One that was recommended to us on the sat phone today was to place cold, wet tea bags on his eyelids. I had a quick look at our store of all of our tea, all citrus flavours, not exactly ideal to have lemon tea in your eyes "that's a negative on the tea, we've got loads of coffee though if that helps". Murray spent the day with a snow wet pair of used long johns wrapped around his face. Eating has become a two man operation, as has drinking. You can imagine my consternation when Muzz announced that he needed to pee. While Murray's been blindfolded Ive taken the opportunity to swap all the rubbish bits of food out of my food store for all the scrummy bits in his. And as for his toothbrush, he's going to get a big surprise tonight when he goes to brush his teeth as I've had all kinds of fun with that!
Today has been predominately about caution. Muzz is very tough and very brave and we could have been gung ho and pushed on. But what with a third party being evacuated from the icecap these past two days we well appreciate the necessity of a pragmatic approach to this challenge.
We have consumed our regular daily rations so our bodies will be enjoying a 2,500 calorie surplus tonight. It's now a week since we were dropped off onto the ice and over 2 weeks since leaving the comfort of home. This means a week without washing… for Murray… and 2 weeks for me. Amazingly though, we don't appear to be smelling too bad.
People have been asking what we do to occupy ourselves in the evenings. Aside from cooking, eating and drinking we chat a lot. There are so many interesting things to discover about each other that we are never short of conversation. We sometimes play scrabble (I won tonight) and each evening one of us gets out the pen and paper to write a daily blog.
Here are a couple of other interesting little titbits from our daily routine:
Toothpaste freezes at this temperature so we brush our teeth using tooth power. It takes about 45mins to melt enough snow for our food and drink every morning and evening. We are taking an extreme mix of nutrient tables to replace lost vitamins and electrolytes (a cocktail of NUUN, Berocca and Ola Loa) so much so that I feel like the Keith Richards of the adventuring world. The expedition beards are progressing nicely. Muzz has some great coverage and I look more and more like Confucius every day.
We didn't move far today but for those wanting to plot our position for camp 8 our position is: 66 08.203'N 40 34.319'W
We are well rested and, after a week on the ice, well into our routines. Everything is slick and efficient. Both of us are eagerly looking forward to continuing our journey westwards safely, rapidly and in high spirits. I'm off to get some more coffee for Muzz's eyes. Speak to you all again soon.