Monday, 30 May 2011

Field Trip Part Three - The Journey Home

On arriving back at the camp the wind had picked up again but visability was OK and I got a bit lost in time just watching the ice crystals dancing across the surface of the snow. I have to say that one of the higlights of this trip is that I haven't had to cook a thing! I haven't even had to make myself a cup of tea. Mike has looked after me so well!
So that night Mike cooked up a great dinner and we settled in for the night with a bottle of wine. Mike had ensured that the wine was left hanging at the apex of the tent so that the heat from the stove would keep the wine from freezing. Attention to detail...I like it
Dinner was followed by a beautiful sunset.

Of course, with no cloud cover, the overnight temperature dropped to -20, and we woke to a thick layer of frost inside the tent. Everything inside was frozen solid and it took us ages to melt the water for our morning cuppa. Taking advantage of the good weather we re-visited Cavajal. This time we wandered along the coast, enjoying the wildlife, although not the smell.

The following day the weather turned nasty and after riding out on the Sidoos for an hour we had to turn back. The visability had dropped to 20 to 30 metres and there was almost no contrast. In a situation like that it is as if you cannot trust any of your senses particularly the one of direction! We returned to the camp and we were tent-bound for much of the next 48 hours.

Where did I put the Roof?
To allievate the boredom Mike set out to teach me how to build an igloo and we did pretty well before the weather forced us inside the tent again..

I read a book.... and then another book.....and then the Paros Life....desperate times.....

all of it....

from cover to cover.

The next morning we spent a fair amount of time digging ourselves out of the snow that had accumulated around the tent and digging the Skiddos out. A lot of snow had fallen!

Tent Peg Here Somewhere

Then it was a brilliant but uneventful five-hour ride home, where we had to unpack all the gear from the sledges, clean it all and stow it all away in it's place, ready for the next team to use. Mikes first priority was a hot meal. Mine...a long hot shower! My shoulders and back really ached from riding the Skidoo...they are very physical to ride and require a lot of input.

Despite my intial anxiety I really enjoyed this trip. Mike was a superb leader and great companion. Being exposed to the fury and the calm of Antarctica has made me appreciate the beauty of this continent even more.

Thanks Mike

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