Sunday, April 29, 2007

A chair, a dip in the ice, and speed kills

Burning news from the frozen Arctic!

I’m looking at a red mountain beside a frozen bay in the comfort of a sun chair.
I’m looking at the drift of sea ice from the comfort of a dip in the ocean.
I’m looking at wild glaciers of Southern Spitzbergen in the comfort of travelling at 45Km/h on skis.

If all this doesn’t make sense to you, keep on reading!

Last couple of days were full of excitement : new things to see and new stuff to think.

We spent a full day camping on a glacier overlooking the bay of ice known as Isbukta.
The contrast with the carven face of the glacier front and the frozen sea of the bay were astonishing and I spent a little time carving a comfortable armchair out of a snow block to be able to fully enjoy the beauty of the place.
Sorry but this beauty is not to be described here
Not that I would not like to, I just can’t find words.
I spent the whole afternoon and evening in the chair.
We returned to the location four days later and the chair remained where I built it, visible from a distance of more than three kilometres.

I learned how to swim in the garden of my parents. From early age they taught me swimming lessons in cold water. I kept the fashion.
Lucas and I celebrated the arrival of the Frozen five at the most Southern point of Spitzbergen. This point is also called the point of no-continuation, but we continued tough a 100 meters to make a meter wide hole in the 10 centimetres thick sea ice.
If you believe me or not I don’t care, but I enjoyed every second of that bath in minus 1.9° water.
Undressing and breathing and slowly sliding in the hole is the one moment in my life when my mind was so empty but under full concentration, and very few things can compare with that!

Well, how do you power up your skis to 45 Km/ hour on a flat snow surface without the help of any kind of machine?

Take a kite: a bit of fabric, a few lines and off you go.
A friend of mine lent me his kite for the expedition.
We still have just practised and so far haven’t used the kite yet to cover some distance.
It is just pure fun to be well over the snow by pure wind.
I like the rush of adrenaline in my veins and I must admit I like speed, speed without machine.
The wind whips the lines It is the song of speed.


PS and erratum from Sylvia, French back up team : Another "swiss pools" story!
The distorsions in our satellite communication system ended up in another funny story!
The "PBM" mentionned in April 25 article as a smell dropping and body lotion is in fact a "VBL", or Vapor Barrier Liner, an anti-condensation bag to put inside your sleeping bag to keep it dry and avoid ice forming from human breathing in very cold atmosphere. Lucas sent me the exact meaning by sms.
Technology is not my part but now I have a great story to tell when I'm invited out to dinner!

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