Just me and my thoughts.
Mentally I prepared for a day of thirds – 3 lots of 30 km southwards. I launched the gutsy little 6m kite in borderline-storm conditions making the first thirty km in two hours! Despite my hands suffering, holding onto the kite-bar (controls) it was nothing like the upwind beat I’ve had to endure previously.
Quick kite-change mid morning to a 9m as the wind was dropping and I got going again, far more slowly this time. The storm has blown me a little off course (eastwards) – 30 km by dead reckoning (guessing) when I checked was 28.9 km – one of my heroes is a little known Inuit called Henson who is argued to be the best dead-reckoner that ever explored! Google him he’s a legend. As an aside, Simon Goodburn and I were billeted with his great Grandson at the end of our Greenland Expedition.
Thinking of Henson, I thought back to how tough The Great Polar Explorers were, with leather based clothing, heavy gear, pemmican and seal fat diets. Even still, they had something I lack out here, company! It’s coming up to day 10 soon, for me this is the next mental barrier becoming better accustomed to isolation. You can feel like you’re going mad sometimes, alone with your thoughts as the only company available.
Henson and Perry had each other and a host of happy canines. I am overwhelmed with gratitude daily, having the opportunity to tackle this great adventure but the weight of isolation, silence, white vastness, the ever pervading cold can start to erode your mental state – “the wolves” of fear and loneliness (who only get bigger if you feed them) are extreme at times.
Non “People” people might love it? Although maybe there are those who just aren’t being completely honest? I think back to large animal practice, (in my early days as a vet) we always knew which animal needed help, as it would isolate itself. I believe we are all created for community, engagement, friendship and love. Usually, it’s those we know who have isolated themselves, that we tend to worry about.
It’s a funny train of thought, but I’ve got loads of time for that here. Appreciate your loved ones today, reach out to the “isolated ones” you’re concerned about. Let them know you “see” them.
Another 23 km and the wind died completely forcing me to make camp. With joy I realised I was not as perishingly cold as normal! I am beginning to acclimatise! Look out POI, I’m coming for you!