Beware The Fruit Pastille (Log #45)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 46 in Antarctica. A drop in weather conditions leads to changing visibility. Lou makes 17.4 nautical miles in under 12 hours of skiing. He is constantly gaining altitude, but has now reached 9,613 feet and is still climbing. In another week he'll be descending towards the Transantarctic mountains. Lou also discovers the cause of his cold injury...


Dec 18 2018 - 

Good evening everyone...

Reporting in now from day 46 of the expedition. Weather wasn’t quite so great today, visibility was a bit in and out, but not complete whiteout. I managed to get in 17.4 nautical miles in just under 12 hours of skiing, so quite pleased with that. Gaining altitude still – I’ve been climbing ever since I left the Pole. Just very gradually, but I’m now at 9,613ft. I’ve come up 300-odd feet since leaving the Pole. I think I will climb a little bit more and it’s going to be probably another week or so before I start to descend towards the Transantarctic mountains.

My target now is – I’m nearly half way through 88 degrees, so I want to try and cross 88 degrees South, my next degree line, in two days’ time. So if I keep pushing hard, and a couple more days of 16/17 nautical miles, I can reach 88 degrees, so that’ll be a great milestone, really looking forward to that. Forecast is not great now for the next two days either – just had it in from ALE – winds are really going to start to build tonight, and be pretty strong over the next two days. But if it remains in the same direction, it means it’ll be coming from behind. That’s not such a bad thing, I can literally get a big down jacket on, hood up, and with it blasting along from behind, I might even get a bit of a push! So it could be a good thing, although I imagine there’ll be a lot of spindrift, which’ll make the going quite tricky.

I mentioned about, I’ve been trialling, and seeing what’s going on with my mouth. It’s a cold injury, that initially caused it. But I noticed, I’d set off skiing in the morning – I’d do a two-and-a-half-hour stint, I’d start of skiing at half 7 now and ski straight through till 10 before I stop at all for my first break. I noticed that my mouth didn’t hurt at all during that first two-and-a-half-hour hours. It’s only after I have a break, on some of the breaks, that it seems to trigger the pain and I’m in agony for an hour or so with it really throbbing. So this morning, I tried different things. On the first break I just drank the drink, no issues. Next one, I had bit of cheese and salami on that break, no issues. Next one, I got stuff out of my grazing bag and it triggered it. And I’ve worked out, in my grazing bag, I’ve got four or five fruit pastilles. Every time I have a fruit pastille, there’s something in there, acidic, or whatever it is in the sweet, if it gets onto my lips, it then really reacts with the cold and I’m in agony for an hour.

So the fruit pastilles are gone! They get eaten in the tent at the end of the day when I’m in a warm environment and it doesn’t cause me an issue. 

And I’d like to quickly finish off, I’d like to dedicate tonight’s blog, and say a huge thank you to my wife Lucy. Without whose love and support I couldn’t do these expeditions. I spent, in the last seven years, three Christmases in Antarctica. She never complains, just keeps the home fires burning, runs the family, and keeps everything on track while I’m away. So huge thank you for all her support. I couldn’t do these journeys without that.

That’s all for tonight.