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.
Wind and Watts
N68° 53' 50.8", W029° 43' 27.4"
Temperature: -16 °C
Wind chill: -26 °C
Wind speed: 29 MPH
It was flippin' windy last night and I don't think Tarka or I got a great deal of sleep. At times I lay awake wondering if the people that sewed the tent's panels together realised quite how much faith and hope was hanging on their rows of stitching. And at times I would nod off in the thundering din only to be woken up again by a shower of hoar frost, shaken loose from the roof of the tent.
I'd like to say that we got up this morning, strapped ourselves into our sledge harnesses and battled through the storm, but the truth is that the wind had blown itself out by the time we'd had breakfast, and after a brief foray outside to unbury our tent, we retreated back inside to spend a morning working on our communications set-up. Most of today's challenges have alas involved terms like proxy server, FTP and bandwidth, rather than crevasse, couloir or bergschrund, though Tarks and I did make it out for a high-speed blast without our sleds this afternoon. For a few blissful hours we let ourselves imagine that we were in reach of the South Pole, and that we could leave our sleds say 30km away and carry on with just a small backpack each to bag the Pole and race back again.
One minor victory has been our new 62-watt solar panel; it's incredibly effective and means we now have seemingly unlimited electrical power. We're running two laptops and two satellite phones via three lithium polymer battery packs, and even in a cloudy evening sky we're not worried about running out of power. One minor defeat has been the realisation that the eight-part series of the French drama Spiral that I'd loaded on to one of our laptops to indulgently watch in the tent at night with all of this electricity is missing its English subtitles. Zut alors!