Day 20 A day of two halves

At moments like this, it really is important to focus on the positives. Am half sitting, half lying in the tent, still breathing a bit heavily… it was ultimately a good day, but it has taken me some time to be able to describe it like that.

The day started off brilliantly. Not much pain, really great progress. 14km to the coordinates they gave me for the medical resupply location, in just over 4 hours. Really very happy!

But!  Oh yes, there is always the but!

med pick up point location error

When I got to the location, there was nothing there. I circled around a couple of times but nothing. Had to call in – and really I hate doing that as fingers get cold so quickly – to see what had happened. They had realised that they had given me the wrong coordinates. The actual location of the drop was 7km directly east of where I was. Not even a little further south. So that effectively meant 7km of wasted distance as not getting any closer to the Pole over it.

So frustrating! I managed to refrain from uttering words that immediately cropped into my head. For the next couple of hours, it was a good job that there was nobody around me for miles. After going so well, then to find that they sent me to the wrong place going directly east also meant talking the sastrugi from side-on – ie on their vertical sides. They did often reach up to a meter tall meaning I had to go around a lot of them. I did fall over once though, but nothing serious.

And then the pain started to get worse. Maybe it was the increased tension and frustration causing me to tighten up. But my pace started to reduce.

Eventually I managed to get to the actual location. All a bit slow, double checking the GPS again and again as I got closer. Especially as I couldn’t see the flag until I got to within 500metres. But I managed okay. It was nice to have the new meds. I did another few kilometres after the collection. This brought my total distance up to 24.35km… which brings me why I am describing it as a good day…

good distance despite frustrating detour

Last night I spoke with Steve Jones (Antarctic Steve!). Steve is the expeditions manager at ALE. He is super friendly and helpful, and he had been my main contact with ALE. I asked him what might be expected distance-wise of an expedition in my location. His reply was a little disheartening: “if fully fit, would expect 13 nautical miles” – 25km… and I have only been going 20-21km. So, to get to 24.35km total… with all the stress and the decreasing pace after the mistake in location Ultimately it’s a confidence booster in that I can see I am capable of those distances, despite not being fully fit. I am sure that had it but been for this issue I would have managed at least 26km today. So, despite my initial despair and the frustration of lost time and all that exertion, yes, it was a good day. I now have more meds, but I was able to get some good mileage in for a while even without any of them. So, time to put all that behind me, and move onwards. And southwards!

yesterdays thunderous roar explained

Oh, Antarctic Steve said that the strange roar yesterday sounded like must have been a collapse of a layer in the snow pack. Contacted the other teams near to me and they all felt it as well. Terrifying for half a second but apparently does occasionally happen and you get used to them..!

Advent calendar goody for the day: Borghetti! Yum yum yum!

Photo – the resupply point. Second time lucky!

Please support Ben’s chosen charity Cancer Research UK

Visit Ben’s blog site to hear Ben’s audio diary from his overnight camp.

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