Greenland Snowkite: Day 8

Date 13/05
Day 8
Location N 72 0.27 W 047 29.16
Distance (day/total) 42/371 miles
Weather Snow, wind and and very poor visibility for most of the day
Wind 15-30mph Temp -9c
After being tent bound yesterday we woke early this morning to the same white out conditions.
A pretty little black and white bird came to the door to say hello, I think he must have been lost in the blizzard!
By lunch time we were bored and the wind had stabilised to a steady 16mph. Visibility was still very poor with no horizon visible between the sky and snow but after much debate we decided to give it a blast.
About 30cm of fresh soft snow took the sting out of the bumps and once we got moving it wasn’t as hair raising as we’d feared.
Travelling at the same pace the wind creates a strange calm and it was more than a little bizarre hurtling through the fluffy powder into the white at speeds up to 20 mph.
Bruce took the lead and after a disorientated start heading due east we corrected and made 42 miles NNW. He held back the nausea caused by the total lack of surface definition or reference points making my life much easier simply following his red and blue figure into the mist.
Obviously loosing one another out here would not be desirable but with a gps each, radios and most importantly keeping a visual on each other it was surprisingly fun until the clag really closed and the building wind starting gusting dangerously hard.
Now well drilled in setting up camp it wasn’t too harrowing pitching the tent in the gale. Pretty arctic outside right now and tomorrow looks rubbish with this storm peaking mid afternoon at about 50 mph so another sleeping bag day.
Thankfully looks like Sunday afternoon will bring an end to this crappy weather and hopefully we can cover some serious miles through in the midnight sun with more characteristic high pressure and katabatic easterly wind.
So far I’m definitely finding the journey more challenging than anticipated. We’ve had a few hours of plain sailing but the rest has been hard earned. That said compared to man-hauling it has been pretty low effort. This bad weather and deep fresh snow must be killing the kite-less teams on the classic west – east crossing.
I’ve read more this week than all year and am throughly enjoying Noam Chomsky’s – How the world really works – strongly recommended for insight behind the headlines.
My old mate Andy Cave is having a big party to celebrate his 50th in the lakes tomorrow night. Happy birthday Cavey, would love to be there celebrating with you and all the crew but instead I’ll be holed up here in blizzard. Oh well we’ve still got some whisky and I’ll be sure to raise you a toast!
Track the progress of Leo Houlding’s month-long 1000 mile snowkiting expedition across Greenland’s ice cap with 10 minute updates on the adventurers location.