Baikal 2010 - The Cable Broke Off... Again...
But they called me via the satellite phone, spilled out all they wanted to tell you and asked me to put it in a message. They seemed to be in a good mood and very happy about the miles they put down every day. Even though they sounded a bit tired, they were very optimistic! And, what was the problem then? It was the cable connecting the solar panel with a battery - it broke off again. Or rather, another one broke off. The one they fixed few days ago is now in the best shape compared to the other cables. It broke off right in the morning so they didn’t manage to charge one of the batteries. They still had left 2 fully charged batteries but unfortunately it was not enough to send the message - they usually need 2 batteries to power the laptop and 1 for the satellite modem... The guys only did manage to send me the coordinates of their today’s camp and download your comments. They started to work on today’s article but didn’t manage to finish it. Pavel and Vasek also had a video ready for you today... so let’s hope they’ll be able to send it tomorrow! They’re going to work on fixing the panels first thing in the morning.
The guys said that they were having more and more problems with their equipment every day. That’s also why they try hard to reach the other side of the lake as soon as possible. And believe it or not, they can actually see the other side already!!! The mountains around the Nizhneangarsk village have appeared in front of them today! The end is in view! Pavel and Vasek said that to actually see the ned was a great boost of energy and that they’re very excited about it! And when do they think they reach the other side? Last week they hoped for Sunday 21, today they believe that if all goes well, they’ll manage to get there on Friday 19!
As for the equipment, what bothers Pavel and Vasek most are the thermal inner shoes in their boots - with number of holes they look very used, the guys said. Pavel also has a hole in his self-inflating sleeping mattress and Vasek had to fix his the ice grippers they put on their boots. In short, the equipment is becoming worn out as well as they are... What’s good news is that it’s been quite warm in the past few days so the holes in their inner shoes is not such a serious problem. The guys said it was only -12 °C (10 F) but dead calm so they even took off the jackets and walked in just two layers of woolen shirts. In sharp contrast to the warm days are the nights which have been extremely cold for the last two days. The temperatures fell as low as -30 °C (-22 F) - Pavel and Vasek think that it’s because they’re very close to the mountains now. They said that it gets freezing cold the minute the sun hides behind the horizon. Everything is covered with a thick layer of ice and frost in the morning.
Today - the guys were enjoying the spectacular views of the mountains first on their left side and later in front of them as well which was even better as it was a clear sign that the other side is very close! As for the terrain, it has changed a lot. There have been almost no areas with clear ice lately as the ice is covered with a thick layer of snow. However, it didn’t slow them down as they put their skis on and kept going. Pavel and Vasek said that it felt good to walk on ski for a change, though it’s much harder to drag the sled through the deep snow. They’d like to thank to Mr. Oleksak who equipped them with two pairs of Madshus expedition skis. They’re very happy with the skis and said that it was worth having the skis there with them - they hadn’t used them for more then a week but after today they think they’ll ski the rest of the distance as there’s only snow covered ice as far as they can see.
Before the laptop battery went flat, they managed to download and read most of your comments from March 14 - those about what “extreme” means to you. Pavel and Vasek were excited about what you’ve written to them and said that there’s so much to think about that they’re worried that their brains would overheat tomorrow! :-)) If all goes well with the technology, they’ll to reply to some of the comments tomorrow.
Not only are the guys happy to see the other side of the lake finally but they’ve also allowed themselves to eat more which lifts their spirits as well. They can afford to eat more as they had food for 35 - 40 days which they originally estimated to spend on the ice. Vasek said he’d been treating himself with extra biscuits and jerky, Pavel said he eats up full double portions... They suppose that their daily energy expenditure must be higher that they expected as they walk longer distances... Well, good news is that they have enough with them to eat their fill!
That’s about all they said. They said hi to all of you and are really excited about your encouraging comments! I only add - let’s hope for a proper message from guys tomorrow! :-)