Monday, May 22, 2006

Sunday, 21. May, can it still get worse?

The wind got even worse during night. Most of sunday we had wind speeds of 16-20 m/s, which was hard on the tents. Visibility was down to 20m because of blowing snow, we had what is called "white-out". No contours can be seen, there is no difference between the sky and the snow. Everything seems to be floating, because there are no reference points, and you intuitively lean against the wind. You can walk right into a 2m high wall of snow without knowing. The drama started when JP's dome tent inflated like a soccer ball at 4 am. At 10 in the morning two other tents had inflated, and when people crawled to the kitchen tent they found JP, who had been shut up for hours during to a 2m high drift in front of the door. When we dug out the Honda and started it it produced no electricity. That was a bad situation! Three sick generators inside the kitchen tent, no electricity for our tools and cooking. The wind was still very strong. Around noon we arrived at lighting up two primus' to warm up the tent. In polar areas it's very problematic to be in non-heated tents, it becomes incredibly humid. The clothes can't dry, and all electric communication can break down due to condense water. Once the primus' started to spread heat the mood improved. We decided to "cannibalize" the two generators and to connect the good engine with the good dynamo. The Hatz distributor in Aalborg advised Steffen over the Iridium phone. He was very helpful, and the generator worked again at 17.30. for the first time in two days we had a "normal" meal. Everybody is tired but happy, both those who repaired the generator and those who fight to save the remaining tents. It should be OK now, and we just hope that the weather improves soon. At the moment traversing camp is hard work in slow-motion. Now at 21.00 we're back to "normal" snowstorm. Lars and JP are happy they brought the big kitchen weatherport! During the day we have been in Iridium contact with: VECO in Kangerlussuaq, St. Nord, Aalborg and Copenhagen.
Typical weather: -12 C, 16-20 m/s winds from 340 true. 928,53 mb, horizon:
nil, surfacecontrast: nil. visibility 20 m. Blizzard. The air so full of
blowing snow that sun was not seen.
At 2200 visibility increased to 50 m and winds dropped to 11 m/s (the
usual blizzard).


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