72 nautical miles to the North Pole!

by John Huston

Today was a bit of everything. Tyler and I began with a little tent project or two. He fixed his ski binding using his Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Tool and a few nuts and bolts. We also had family day this morning. Tyler talked to his wife, Sarah, and I talked to my girlfriend, Jennifer. It's always a highlight to connect with home and everybody at home is excited to meet us in Oslo after the expedition, so we are always thrilled to be thinking about that.

We started with very overcast skies, low visibility, and almost whiteout conditions, which means we can barely make out what we were skiing into as far as things to look at on the horizon to navigate by and what is right in front of our skis.  So we're always running into snowdrifts and that sort of thing. The winds out of the southwest at 10, 15, and 20 knots all morning long were the highest of the expedition. They brought blowing snow and also snow with them and that made a tough morning weather-wise. Thank goodness it was warm. It cleared off nicely later in the day.

And after some discussion due to the high speed of our drift to the east and south, and also the fact that we want to have some margin in our schedule to reach the North Pole on time before the 26th of April, Tyler and I decided to bump up to a 27-hour day schedule. So instead of working on a 24-hour clock, we're now working on a 27-hour clock. So we're traveling around 16 1/2 hours each day and then we spend the remainder of that 27 hours sleeping and having breakfast and dinner in camp.

It's a long travel day.  We're tired. We feel really good with our progress. It's going to be very interesting to see how our drift works out. Hopefully, these northern winds that are forecast don't push us south too much, but we feel that our travel schedule allows us to adjust for that. Also highlight for the day, we swam one short lead, and crossed the same lead later on, which was kind of funny, but it had changed directions. And we are now into the routines of the big push to the pole.

So, thanks for listening. The steady Victorinox North Pole '09 train rolls forward tomorrow, and we are having a nice sleep right now. OK.

Daily Expedition Data
Date: April 19, 2009
Location: N88°48.391' W063 32.578'
Time Traveled: 15.5 hours
Distance Traveled: 15.1 nautical miles
10:00AM (4/19): -6° F
1:30AM (4/20): -2° F
AM: SW winds, 15-20 knots, low contrast, snow
PM: clearing in afternoon, some sun
72 nautical miles to the pole

John and Tyler are committed to raising
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