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Baikal 2010 - 400 km & How We Turned into Handymen

First, I want to add a piece of information to what Pavel said about our diet yesterday. I know that being a vegetarian he probably thinks that meat’s not worth mentioning... :-)
Baikal 2010 - 400 km & How We Turned into Handymen

But in my diet, meat is quite important (wherever I go :-)! I have four kinds of jerky with me here and cannot complain. The meat was given to me by the INDIANA company - thank you! It’s mys main source of protein and believe it or not - I still like it even after I’ve been eating it every day for more than 2 weeks :-)

We had the first serious problem with the technology yesterday - we didn’t talk about it in the previous message as we wanted to know first how it would end up before we tell you :-) It happened in the afternoon and we don’t even know how. We have 3 solar panels connected to special batteries in total which we have spread on top of our sleds during the day. One of the cables which connects the panel with the battery broke of yesterday... “Houston, we have a problem...” The cable broke off in the very spot it was connected to the panel. To have one panel less means less energy which is quite a big deal if we want to keep on sending the daily updates, photos and videos...

As we were both staring at it I said to Pavel, “Come on, we’re gonna fix when we get to the tent...” And we did as we said :-) We didn’t have time to do it in the evening but we did it the first thing in the morning. Pavel skillfully “disemboweled” the rest of the cable from where it was connected to the panel and then stripped the cable of the plastic cover to reveal the wires. We then twisted all the wires together and I searched through my “service kit” to see what else we can do about it. I found a piece of a stiff copper wire and rounded it to create a small hook-like shape - a soldering iron. I also found some tin and colophony. We hold the copper wire in the pliers above our stove and managed to join the wires with solder. Then we just wrapped the newly-made connection with electric tape and we were done! The sun was already shining so we put the panel outside of the tent right away and it worked!!! I think I don’t need to say how proud of our skillful hands we were! :-)

We also dealt with another problem yesterday. We both’ve struggled with the worn out thermal inner shoes in our boots for some time. Pavel has problem with his feet and I’m fed up with the inner shoe constantly shuffling inside of my boot which I cannot tighten enough because of my swollen shin. When I took the boot of yesterday, I found out that there’s a pretty big hole in one of the inner shoes... quite a problem as with a hole in it, it wouldn’t hold any warmth. If we were to have -40 °C (-40 F) again, I would get frostbites for sure. I was staring at the hole for a moment, thinking of what’s the best way to fix it... Then I looked down on one of the mats I was just sitting at - I had a knife in my hand before you could blink an eyelid and started to cut a piece of the mat off. I cut exactly the shape I needed, stuck it in the hole and attached it to the shoe with a heavy-duty tape (the silver one). I then placed a piece of aluminum foil (I used one of the bags in which are packed our dinners) and a piece of soft fabric over it and sew it all together - beautiful! It worked perfectly. Well, we Czech are just born handymen and there’s nothing you can do about it :-)

And what about today? We got up to a very pleasant and sunny weather which we had even for the rest of the day. It was very warm today (-12 °C = 10 F) and dead calm. Again, we walked through a very changing terrain... There were more and more snowfields to cross and we even had to put the skis on which we hadn’t need to do for at least a week. And in the afternoon... well, we had another reason to celebrate a little in the afternoon but we’ll tell you more in the video :-))) It's in Czech and a bit untranslatable - we're just happy we've covered the 400 km :-))

As today was the nicest and warmest day we’ve had so far, I decided to dedicate it to my beloved wife Martina who really loves sunny and warm weather (that’s why she married a polar explorer... :-))

Thanks to all of you for your great support!

Vasek

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