Windy Night (Log #16)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 16 in Antarctica. The Polar banshees are howling all night and Lou is forced to wake every hour and check the tent poles. Then the morning wind conditions delay Lou's travel. By 2 o'clock in the afternoon the wind dies down and Lou fits in five hours and achieves 6.4 nautical miles.


Nov 18 2018 - 

Good evening everyone… 

Reporting in now from day 16 of the expedition. A bit of a different day today for me. Last night when I finished skiing and pitched my tent the wind was beginning to build and get pretty strong. Through the night it really did rage. The old tent was taking a bit of a hammering. I was waking up every hour, having a quick check, making sure the poles weren’t taking too much strain. Quite a lot of lifting, which again puts a lot of strain on the tent canvas and then pressures the poles. I did a bit of digging as well through the night, just to make sure that the tent was going to be ok. 

By the time it got to this morning at 7 o’clock it was still pretty full on wind conditions, so I decided against travel initially. I think being solo, you have to be a little bit more cautious. There’s not much room for error when you’re on your own, if you maybe damage the tent, snap a pole, the canvas gets ripped, or – worst case – you lose control of it trying to erect it or pack it away and it goes in the wind, then you are in a real survival situation. There’s no room for error. So I thought I’d be cautious and waited it out. I was potentially looking at a full rest day, if it carried on blowing all day, but by the time it got to 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I could sense it was beginning to ease, and forecast, which I checked, showed again that it was easing throughout the day, so I decided to go for it.

So I got packed up, and managed to get going by 3 o’clock and skied till 8. I did five hours, so a half day, but still achieved 6.4 nautical miles in a half day, so quite happy with that. I look upon it as having a bit of a rest day with some bonus mileage thrown in there, and I’m sure the half day’s rest will have done my legs some good and given them a little bit of a breather. So that’s pretty much how today went. The wind has died right off now, so hopefully fingers crossed tomorrow it will be a good day and I can get a full day in and make up some good mileage.

Just to finish off, I’d like to do a quick shout out to Richard Crook, from Airbus, who’s been a massive help with supplying the communications equipment for this expedition – some of the specialist cabling out to my solar panels, and the power pack as well, which is super small and lightweight – it’s definitely the best one I’ve ever used on expedition. Huge thanks to Richard and the team at Airbus for all their infrastructure and communications support towards the expedition, hugely appreciated.

That’s all for tonight, we’ve got something interesting in the blog, we’ve got a competition for you all to have a go at. I’ll be offering up a question, and whoever gets it right, will receive a prize. All will be revealed tomorrow night. [Note entrants will need to make a donation to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity through the Justgiving page in order to qualify].