Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Getting a bit confused here...

27/05, camp 36
Distance today : 153 km
Total distance: 3174 km
Position : N75.354 W28.291, alt  2400 m
Moving time : about 10 hours

How many days, haw many camps, what's the day today ... ? We sometimes loose track of all this, It's even harder to tell what of the week is today, probably because it doesn't make any difference for us now. But what's noticeable is that we're also loosing track of time within a day !
Our daily rhythm stretches over a 28-30 hours of time. It's not like we've decided it that way, but in the end it seems to be a good balance between effort and rest. A kite session (the moving time only) is for about between 1/3 and half a normal day time. Intermediary sections would be pitching and wrapping our tents, another one (important) is the food time, in the tent (dinners and breakfasts ; in the northern parts of the trip, because of extremely cold temperatures we even had lunches in the tent, before to start our kite session ; we added snack pauses while kiting during those hours.The rest of the hours go into sleeping , resting and communications.

During the first weeks we don't need to rest as much, and we use more time kiting than resting or eating ; that enable us to keep our daily routine into the 24 hours frame. But as tireness kicks in the routine stretches a bit, we need to rest more (we can't skip a rest time), and 28 to 30 hours is the time we need in one day. That's made easier by the never ending day light.

Considering this daylight it's no problem to live a 30 hours-a-day life, as long as we don't have to follow any accepted standard, or if we don't have to attend social life. What gives the tempo here is the aerology. Catabatic winds are often stronger during the night hours for instance, while winds directly connected to the weather are more unstable and don't follow any rhythm.

This extra long daily routine makes us therefore sometimes miss some good catabatic windows unfortunately... But the presence, force and direction of winds are so hard to really understand in a very precise way, despite all the information that we collect and observe, and despite the deep analysis we get from our routers Marc and Fritz every day.

To be short, our challenges are strictly connected to our direct environment, so it's impossible to establish a regular rhythm. As we're trying to follow the catabatics which happen to be often at the coldest hours we continuously shift a little our rhythm by a few hours, forth and back, and we just simply loose tracks of time ; it gets really confusing. We just sometimes can't make head or tail of it all.

For 130 of the 153 km kited today we used the Beringer 8, with wind speeds up to 50 km/h and drifting snow (that gave us wonderful lights when we departed around 3 in the morning. If we were a bit challenged in the beginning skiing upwind, it got better after ; we even kited the last 20 km/h downwind, with a bit slower winds.

This is got to be the most eastern point of our trip now, at the longitude W28 ; we plan to head south-south west for now on. We've now passed the southern latitude of Spitzbergen.

PS :
- special greetings to our norvegian friend Niklas Norman, who did the first longitudinal crossing of Greenland. He still has got the time record for it : 2300 km in 21 days, in other words about 110 km per day. Niklas, thanks for your message, we really measure its value :-)
- Greetings as well to my friend Loulou (we don't forget Franck and the other family members), for the good memories of the "T-shirt times" of the first Latitude Nord expeditions. Thanks my friend for all your help, i don't forget that...
- Alain R ; don't worry about Iceland this summer ; the message was aimed to Alain K ;-)

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