Thursday, November 17, 2011

Antarctica: Check!

Round 1 is complete!  It started as a beautiful sunny day perfect to begin our world sampler of skiing.  We boarded the zodiac and drove 3 miles down the shoreline to the base of some pretty nice mountains.  we saw a potential landing spot, but as we approached the skiers so waves breaking in a ice and sluch-filled water.  we suggested to the drive that we abort and go farther down but he insisted.  The harrowing beach landing almost ended Ski710 before it began!  as we nosed in a large wave broke over the stern of the zodiac getting some of our gear wet.  A second wave knocked us sideways, where a third, large wave nearly rolled us over and soaked two of our team members.  The driver jumped in the water with his water-proof boots and tried pulling us up onto the rocky and icy beach. We still werent convinced it was the best place to get out, but the alternative was to have more waves crash over us, so I climbed onto the bow, timed it for in-between waves, and jumped as far as I could onto the beach to avoid soaking my ski boots.  We all made it out and threw our gear up onto the ice.  The driver climbed back into the boat and drove off.

Once on the snow, our guide dug through his back pack and realized he forgot his skins for his skis.  We waited for 45 minutes for them to be delivered from the ship.  Finally we started.  Over the next 8 hours we skinned or booted up 6 peaks and traversed 3 miles along the coast line (there was no way we were going back to that beach for pick up!).  It alternated warm and calm near the shore and uphill climbs, to cold and windy on the ridges and going downhill.  At 5 PM, tired and wore out, Scott and I skied down a crusty re-frozen slope to start the clock for Ski710.  Let the adventure begin!!!!!

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