Distance to go:
Ben and Tarka will cover 1800 miles starting from Scott's Terra Nova Hut at the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back to the coast again. That's equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons hauling up to 200kg each (the weight of roughly two adult men) of kit and supplies necessary to survive.
Distances here are shown in statute miles.
White Island (Day 3)
Day 3: S77° 52' 24.837", 167° 33' 58.1976"
Duration: 6.5 Hr
Daily distance: 6.3 Mi
Distance to go: 1772.9 Mi
Temperature: -30 °C
Wind chill: -40 °C
Wind speed: 16 MPH
Altitude: 105 Ft
We spent today hauling our extraordinarily heavy sleds at extraordinarily low speeds between the evocative and unmistakable landmarks of Mount Erebus (the whacking great volcano atop Ross Island, which the wispy plume of smoke coming out of the top would suggest is still very much active) to our left and White Island (a feature both Scott and Shackleton used to waymark their entry points to the Great Ice Barrier, or the Ross Ice Shelf as we know it today).
The photo is of the former, and I've spent a lot of today a) pinching myself I too am trudging over this hallowed ice, and b) wondering what the scenery looked like for Scott and Shackleton. Now we've lost McMurdo and the Pegasus snow runway (one of McMurdo's three airfields) over the horizon behind us, I reckon it would have looked exactly the same.
The going is still incredibly tough, and on the poorest surface - usually soft snow - the sleds barely move at all. At those moments it takes the kind of effort you might use for, say, pulling a tree stump out of the ground, or pushing an broken-down car off the level crossing to make any forward progress.
I'm not sure about soul-destroying, but our muscles and tendons and toes and heels certainly feel it, and my hip bones feel bruised from the harness. Tarka, sat on his sledge and eating an energy bar at one of our hourly breaks, turned to me with a bemused look framed by the fur of his hood. "Andy kept saying 'Enjoy it, enjoy it' to me before we left", he said. "I'm not sure he really gets what we're doing."
We stopped early today to repair a frayed solar panel cable, and to get a bit of rest as we're making good time. The mileage should creep up tomorrow...