Saturday, May 10, 2014

Slack day

09/04. Camp 20.
Same position as yesterday.

We already knew since some time, that there were a few days with significantly less wind ahead. Yet after 3 days of good progression, we had somehow forgotten, that its entirely possible not to move at all. The worst is however that there actually was wind. We could hear it in the tent. It was moving the tissue of the tent and when we paid attention, we could even hear it in the tent lines. So we woke up with bad conscience of a missed slot for kiting.
When we finally got out to measure the wind speed, it was around 15 km/h. Peaking at 18 km/h. Definitely enough to fly our biggest kites and to get moving with our pulks - in principle.
Yet the wind was blowing from southerly directions, and we ought to move northwards. Contrary to what one may think, this is about the worst case scenario for efficient kiting. While its perfectly possible exceed the speed of the wind by far along directions perpendicular to the latter, we can go at best at windspeed along its direction. Yet in reality its often less.

With big distances behind us and a positive attitude towards the days to come we decided not to move, at least for the moment. Back in the tent, with no anthropogenic noises any more, the wind again attracts our attention and slowly winds up a feeling of bad conscience and of a missed opportunity.

We get out again, armed with the anemometer and some hope. Again, the reading is a little low taking into account the direction and the bearing to follow. 14 km/h.
Back in the tent we hear the wind. Get out again. On our faces, we feel the chilly air stronger than it actually is, as the sun goes down and temperatures plummet. 13 km/h. The game repeats itself at least one more time, until we accept our fate.

The sun is now low and bathes the the snow and our tent in beautiful colors. Facts, bad conscience, and possibly missed opportunities. In the light of the last days there was no point in trying to get going in the morning. Considering the situation in the evening, the slot in the morning appears as a missed opportunity. Its pretty cold now. With these thoughts, we try to find sleep after having rested the entire day already.
Image: our "Svalbard 5 Camp" tent in the low midnight sun.

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