Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year & South Pole traditions...

Today the team traveled 23.1 kilometers in white-out conditions, but the day ended with sun and an opportunity for Bob to reflect on the simplicity of expedition life. The temperature was around -17 C with a 10 knot wind that added a bit of chill.

Bob, in his audio update below, mentions a precaution the team takes in white-out conditions to help ensure they don't lose sight of each other. It is amazing how quickly the blowing snow can reduce visibility to nothing. Even a couple meters between people can make it very difficult, if not impossible to see one another. Skiing with the tips of one person's skis just off the back end of the next person's sled helps ensure that everyone sticks together.

Speaking of sticking together, it looks like our crew is bound together by party streamers! We love this picture as well as the enthusiasm and spirit of the team. If we all take even a little bit of their determination, courage, and love of life into the new year with us, we will all be better off as a result!

Today at the South Pole a special ceremony took place. The annual moving of the Geographical South Pole marker. Every New Year's day a team of surveyors from the United States Geological Survey locate ninety degrees South with precision. They fix the spot with a metal pole topped with a special sculpted marker, roughly 8 inches in diameter. Each marker is... "designed, selected and machined by the handful of hardy souls who keep the scientific enterprise operating during the six months of cold, darkness and total isolation that are the hallmarks of a polar winter."

This year's marker, a bronze sextant, commemorates Amundsen's historic expedition and the "Heroic Age" of Antarctic exploration. On the side and bottom of the marker there are 47 individual degree marks representing the number of people who wintered-over at the South  Pole in 2010.

On New Year's Day next year, this marker will be roughly 10 meters from the "new" South Pole marker freshly placed at 90 degrees South. That's how fast the ice is moving north towards the ocean.

The team's current position is S.86.24.550, W 86.58.935. We hope you listen to Bob's audio update below. It cuts off at the end, but this seems to be a problem related to embedding the audio file into the blog, and not the call itself. We are trying to get the full call up soon! Check back again tomorrow for another update from the team!

No comments:

Post a Comment