More new photos at http://bit.ly/auCc7D
March 03, 2010: 141st short message (01:46 a.m. CET)
7 a.m. The storm slowed down for awhile. This gave us the chance to repair the fan of F2 in five hours. We have to further protect F2 with snow and built a protection for the “restroom” (igloo style). All of it to better the conditions in which we have to refuel the tanks, even though it is still tough. We were able to improve the state of our position.
A continuation is still not possible, yet. The sight is less than ten meters.
The team is doing well, the atmosphere is good, the Russian-German friendship very strong, excellent companionship. Engines are working. Position remains unchanged.
March 05, 2010: 142nd short message (08:46 p.m. CET)
6 a.m. After the third night, on the third day, the storm finally slowed down. Less snow is in the air. The sight is about 50-60 m.
We will start to dig out the cars and defrost the axles and gear box with the Webasto hot-air jet (the oil froze; we cannot start driving like that). It will take approximately eight hours. Then – if the weather didn’t change by then – we will try to continue our journey.
March 06, 2010: 143rd short message (01:29 a.m. CET)
11 a.m. We dug F1 out and are now trying to make a track. The burner-lamp doesn’t work. Even the Webasto jet that we are trying to point at the axles gets blown away by the storm. Thus we cannot heat the oil up – we have to try it like this.
The sight remained at about 50 meters. Hopefully we will be able to “break out”.
2 p.m. We started.
March 06, 2010: 144th short message (05:46 a.m. CET)
The break-out succeeded. We fight our way meter for meter. Just now we managed two difficult ice passages and thus reached a headland.
Current position: N 65°13.176 / W 172°12.393
March 06, 2010: 145th short message (09:39 a.m. CET)
8.30 p.m. Just now we took a break after a difficult inclined drive and a rise with many snow drifts from the shore all the way to the seafront. We drank some warm coffee and ate something.
Outside is a raging storm again and we also turn up. But this time we turn up the music. After the last few days in imprisonment and today’s break-out, we are just happy for once. We turn up the music as far as it will go and send each other one song after another via radio.
Thanks to Christopher, Rudi has a mere endless supply of songs of all kinds. And I have enough songs on the hard drive of F1 to create a hit parade. Oh well, once in a while even we need that.
Anyway, it’s awesome that we are no longer stuck in the snowstorm. Let’s see if we can manage the pass that’s ahead of us.
Three kilometers ago we noticed during a stop that F2’s upper axle bearing in the front swerves. The long-arm dangles. Oh well, as usual we use some belts and copper wire, the strength of two men, some luck, a protection against the wind, one hour, and the thing is almost welded – except that it’s only “welded” with cloth. Let’s see how long that will last.
The team is doing well. Our current position: N 65°15.710 / W 172°12.030
March 06, 2010: 146th short message (01:15 p.m. CET)
11 p.m. Awesome: During snow flurries, wind, in the middle of the night and sometimes no sight at all, we reached the pass at N 65°17.119 / W 172°13.385
March 06, 2010: 147th short message (11:56 p.m. CET)
We will stop now to get some sleep.
Current position: N 65°20.164 / W 172°12.642
March 07, 2010: 148th short message (01:33 a.m. CET)
9 a.m. The weather is better. We can see around 60-80 m, less wind, less snow.
Now, after some hours of sleep, we will continue.
Our position: N 65°20.891 / W 172°12.383
We just met two hunters with a russian snow mobile, who were pulling a hunting boat made from walrus skins. Awesome, but at the same time it’s crazy that they can actually go in the water with this. The person using it must be very light; the paddles are hardly 10 cm wide. Interesting how they also want to pull seals in there.
12.30 p.m. We are approaching Lorino. Severe snow drifts complicate advancement. Again and again we have to uncouple the F1 trailer, make a track with F1 and sand sheets, load everything, attach the trailer, and continue.
Current position: N 65°23.002 / W 172°11.084
March 07, 2010: 149th short message (05:01 a.m. CET)
At N 65°24.934 / W 172°09.521, we just arrived at a refuge for fishermen. There we met two hunting parties from Lorina who are hunting seals. Warm welcome. Now we have about another 25 km to Lorino. We take a short break, then we have to refuel and then we will fight our way again.
March 07, 2010: 150th short message (07:26 a.m. CET)
6 p.m. We arrived at a spiritual place of the Chukots. Our position is N 65°27.359 / W 172°06.597. At this place on the narrow headland, bones of whales are sticking up into the air for meters.
They were erected here as a spiritual memorial. Sacrifices are made here, as Victor explains to me. That’s what we do. As a representative for all of us, Victor goes to the bones with good food – our favorite chocolate, bread, etc. – and gives it to the gods as appeasement. We will see if it helps. When Victor climbs back into the car and sits for a moment, his knife, which he had placed tightly in the dashboard right in front of him, falls into the foot space. Actually this isn’t possible.
Even if you pull on it you can’t get it loose and he didn’t even touch it. Strange. This was the first time that it fell down and he thinks it’s a sign that the gods have seen us and said okay.
Now Rudi gets out of the car as well, wants to see the place by himself. He is standing there for a while, facing away from us, looking into the far distance.
Maybe this is really a magical place.
By now it is dark. Nobody says anything. Neither in the car, nor via radio. Everyone is in thoughts and somehow it is as if the expedition stood still in everyone’s minds as well for a moment.
I will get some sleep here.
March 07, 2010: 151st short message (09:00 a.m. CET)
The last 5 km were really tiring. We had to uncouple and attach the trailer about 40 times, made a track, drove back, etc. But now we reached the utter end of the headland at N 65°29.027 / W 172°04.992. This means that only 15 km are left until Lorino. We have to drive 1-3 km over sea ice in order to get onto the other headland. But this depends on the ice situation. We won’t go about it at night. We wait for daylight,
Team alright, fuel reserves okay. The engine of F1 stutters due to problems with its fuel supply. At the next opportunity we will have to clean the fuel pump. Additionally we have had an overheated servo steering; air in the system. When we weld the axle of F2, we also have to repair this.
We lay down to sleep. It was a tough day.