North (Log #42)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 43 in Antarctica. Lou skis into a day of good weather - sun is ringed by the halo of another parhelion and wisps of cloud shaped like a crucifix. He makes his best-distance yet, covering 16.1 nautical miles as he heads North, around the underside of the planet, towards the Transantarctic Mountains...


Dec 15 2018 - 

Good evening everyone...

Reporting in now from day 43 of the expedition. It was pretty good weather today, which was nice – feels like it’s turned a corner a bit and is stabilising. The sun was out; light side wind which wasn’t too bad, and stunning halo around the sun as well. The image I’ve sent back today is a shot of that and the cloud almost formed a crucifix – it was pretty stunning. It made for good travelling; I made my best-ever distance yet – I managed to travel 16.1 nautical miles, so that was good. I’m running North now (obviously every direction from the South Pole is North..). Heading for the Transantarctic mountains. I can’t see them yet. It’ll probably be another 10 days, maybe slightly longer, before I start to see the peaks of the Transantarctics on the horizon, which will be a huge morale booster. My next target is aiming for 89 degrees South, so doing the degrees in reverse now. It feels quite weird – before I was making my way up the degrees to 90, now I’m just doing it in reverse and heading out the other way. So I’m half way down to 89, and after that I’ll be into 88, which will be a great morale booster.

So I finished today, and put up the tent. I thought I’d do a bit of a self-medical, a check over, and I can plunder the medical pack – I want to sort my lips out – they’re a mass of pus and blood. I’ve taken some pain relief and I’ve started a course of antibiotics now, having consulted with the ALE doctor on the sat phone tonight, and see if that helps. It’s not something I’ve suffered with before. I’ve seen it happen with team mates, but for some reason it’s got me this time.

Quite a funny encounter as well. I bumped into a truck – some Arctic Trucks are out here doing some work. They pulled up and a guy and a lady in there jumped out, and we had a two-minute chat. The lady asked if we could get a photograph. I said of course and they came alongside. She asked me if I could lift my goggles and my face mask and I think she probably regrets saying that. I think my face is now just a mass of blood. ‘Oh, you’re bleeding,’ she said. ‘Just a bit. I’ve been drinking my blood all day as I’ve been skiing along,’ I said!

Other than that, I’ve been doing some gluing on the tips of my thumbs. I’ve got some massive splits on the end of my fingers and thumbs, so I got some medical glue and I’m trying to seal those up. I got my thermals off and had a quick look at the rest of my body. And my God, I’ve lost some weight. I’ve got abs for the first time in a very long time. My legs are like chicken legs. I reckon I’ve lost over 10kgs already. It’s obviously taking its toll, the journey. But hey, that’s all part and parcel of being on expedition.

To finish off. A shout out to Greg Hill. I’ve got your Union Jack and I’ve done all the photos with it at the South Pole. I look forward to returning that to you and thanks for that – really appreciated.