ON THE GRIND IN GREENLANDDay 7 on terrain.
POS 65 05.45 N 46 13.46 W
MILEAGE: 111 km
After a mentally taxing period being held down by foul weather and bad visibility, we managed to squeeze in 25 km of travel in the final daylight hours late last night (prior to the conditions becoming unsafe).
We had high hopes for this morning to make some more distance north. The alarm went of at 3 am (as is becoming customary) to see if we could harness some of the cold air that tends to brew here overnight. It certainly has been challenging, not having the benefits yet of continual daylight (nights here are about 4 hours). It means some of the best conditions for kite assisted travel are dancing suggestively outside the tent in the wee hours of the morning, when its too dark to do anything safely (we have night kited and it was scary!). We don’t anticipate experiencing the midnight sun until we get a long way north. Hopefully by then we have entered the "wind belt" which we have lamented over, staring endlessly at satellite and meteorology projections whilst we were in the preparation phase of the expedition.
What we received instead was harsh wind, spindrift, wet snow, low or no visibility and a whole lot of white. After dozing until a more sensible hour, we had an opportunity to move with enough light and wind to get away - conditions were still ominous however. We had resolved to push hard for 2-hour slots, with short breaks in an attempt to achieve maximum mileage before we lost wind or visibility completely. We have to kite in close formation when the visibility is low.
Its great in theory always keeping within close sight of one another, however the conditions that generate whiteout weather are usually intense, meaning a little healthy distance can save us from a kite tangle or collision. That being said there is certainly a sense of isolation and edginess as you chase down your lead navigator in Geoff.
There is certainly a lot travelling through your mind in this environment, having forced uncluttered thought as you focus on one swoop of the kite at a time. Thoughts of my love, family, friends, as well as the heroes of adventure and the inner workings of life back home - food for the soul.
Gratefully we managed to squint our way through 86 km of storm driven ice and snow today - an awesome result given the conditions, resting up now and waiting for our next weather window.