Saturday, December 12, 2015


I never took the trip lightly, in fact a little too serious that I quit my job for this. Whenever time allowed (week nights and weekends), I trained and prepared for it. I think I was well prepared for it mentally and physically. But in the past few days I came to realize that my body needs to handle much more for the intensity and speed of traveling. In fact if we ski at the pace my body can handle it'll take us beyond the last flight out of Antarctica which is Jan 27. Time is not my friend at this point. The endless series of delay due to weather gave us no wiggle room either. And I don't think it's fair to drag down the team on their expense. With all disappointment and sadness, I made the decision to stop my ski journey to the south pole this time. It is one of the most difficult decisions for me so far. I do enjoy the expedition so far and the challenges it presented. I wish Em and Carl the best of luck.And my dream to do the journey has not terminated with this trip. I know I will come back to this white continent again one day.KhaiPS: I leave the satelite phone with Em and Carl as they continue the journey. That means I will not be able to blog or send photos until I get back to Punta Arenas (not sure when as you all know how much dependant it is on weather)Photo: Looking SouthSent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Friday, December 11, 2015


The last two days were very windy, with gusts up to 30 knots (54 km/h?). It was very hard work. There was a pass we also had to climb. It was a not steep and was about 100 m but pulling sleds and on skis climbing it is not so trivial.I should talk about his we camp. At the end of the day, we pitch our tents, first the big one (two person tent). While Em and I finishing the small tent, Carl would start the stove to melt snow for hot water. We use hit water for "cooking" our freeze dried meals. Carl and I share the two person tent and Em stays in the single. In the morning we also melt snow for hot water for freeze dried breakfast before breaking down the camp and keep moving.Photo: selfie of us in our big tentSent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


We woke up finding our sleds were buried in deep snow. It was windy last night. Butthere is always sunshine after the rain, in this case after whiteouts. We had the sun out the whole day as we passed by old camp site of Patriot Hills. Such a beautiful site. Too bad the weather there is not the best that's why the camp was moved to Union Glacier. As we skied the head wind (the katabatic wind from the pole) was about 20 knots (40 km/h?) which is pretty strong. The snow surface improved a bit. All in all we had a pretty good day.Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

More whiteout

Another day another complete white out. And the wind. And the soft and heavy snow. In the last trip Carl guided Lewis, they got 3 no contrast days and here we are 3 days in the expedition two of them are white out. This year weather has been very bad. First endless of delays in UG and now snow dump. As Carl says welcome to the white room.Photo: the white out we "see" the last two days.Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Monday, December 7, 2015

White out

It was a hard day today. We skied in complete white out. We couldn't see anything. Carl had to use compass to navigate. But we did pretty ok for whiteout condition with 8 nautical miles. Can't wait going to bed.Photo: our parked sleds outside of the tents.Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

From Antarctica - December 06, 2015 at 02:38PM

We started the day slightly earlier at 8:45 cuz we were a little too efficient and breaking the camp. The weather was nice at the first 30 mins then changed to be quite windy. On top of that we had to climb a big steep hill. It was pretty hard work. We gained about 420m in elevation and traveled 5.9 miles or 9.5km. Now we are in our nice and cozy tents.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

First day skiing

We finally got dropped off at hercules inlet this afternoon. The flight was short and sweet. As soon as the plane took off, we didn't waste anytime to start skiing. We did about 2 hours and cover about 2.1 nautical miles (2.5 miles or 4km? I can't do the math now :)).We are camping camped for the night. It was a fantastic first day (maybe because it was short?) although the snow was heavy (after the recent storm) but we are all feel good. We'll go slow and steady for the next few days.Photo: bad selfie of myself. Em and Luke in the background. The plane 's about to leave us behind to start our journeys.Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Scenic flight

After dinner last night, Carl went to the comm box to check on the weather as we were told there might be a chance we could fly. As usual, it was the pointer to 4:00am this morning and Carl would inform us if we fly by 4:30. If we hear nothing from him, that means we are not going.By 3 something I was woken up by the sound of the Iridium turned on by Em. By 4:30 I heard footsteps around Em's tent and some chatting. My heart started to race. Are we flying, I wondered. I couldn't wait to hear the news so I popped my head out of the tent. Em informed me there was no flight. I didn't hear from Carl either.At breakfast, we were told there was another opportunity to fly out after lunch but by 10:30, Carl said we were going at 11:10. Needless to say we were overjoyed. It didn't take us long to get ready. The goodbyes to the Messner team was quick but not without a bit of emotion for me as we have spent quite a lot of time with them over the past 3 weeks. As we took off, as UG camp drifting out of the plane windows, the mountainous scenary appeared before our eyes. They are so beautiful, especially in such a beautiful morning like today. We had not seen blue sky for such a the past several days.10 minutes passed by. I was dozing off as I didn't have much sleep last night. The flight time was supposed to be 15 minutes. There was no sign we were descending. Looking out the window, a thick blanket of clouds covered the entire area of Hercules Inlet. There was no even a small break in the white blanket for the plane to attempt to land. At this point Carl told us we had to go back to camp. Needless to say I was disappointed. But I was glad in a way because safety is the highest priority here.We were back in camp just in time for the great lunch.The next weather update is at 5:50 pm today.Photo: Part if Ellsworth mountain range from the 15 min scenic flight today.Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sous chef

After this morning briefing, we were told the weather continue to be bad and the next window is Friday. But around 9:30 Carl told us we might have tiny chance to fly after he get an update at 10:30. Of course that was a pointer to 12:30. Remember the linked list? So we decided to go out for the 10k ski again, without sleds this time. There was so much fresh snow after the bad weather the past few days. We did in 3 hours this time.By the time I hit back in camp, Ricky, one of the two chefs who specializes in Asian dishes, didn't appeared too happy "You are late, chop chop!". I talked to Ricky yesterday about food and he suggested we should have gỏi cuĂ´́n, Vietnamese spring rolls and asked if I could help. They have most of the ingredients except for the bean sprouts. Of course I gladly accepted it.So I got changed quickly and ran to the dining tent. All the ingredients were laid out on the table ready to be rolled. I tested the bún (vermicelli) it was almost raw. I asked him to cook it. He added hot water and soaked it for a several mins. Surprisingly it was cooked and soft. We were supposed to make 120 rolls, half of which were vegetarian. I only had two helpers so I asked another person chime in. She was happy to help. I showed them how to soak the rice paper and his to make the wrap. The task was easy so everyone got on it very quickly. We finished the wrapping fairly quickly while Ricky making the sauce. OMG the hoisin sauce he created was a killer, it was delicious, just like home cooked, even better than those peanut sauce you would find in Vietnamese fast-food shops in San Jose. He also made another sauce, just coriander, lime and sugar and a little chili. It was also fantastic. The rolls were not perfect but for Antarctica, it was heaven. There was so many praises for the dish and of course the killer sauce.Photo: Sous chef of the daySent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Testing day

The weather improved today in Union Glacier. Not much of wind or snow. But unfortunately we still have to wait for good weather to fly which is now forecasted for Friday!. The flight day keeps being pushed back. Lets hope some miracle happens.This morning Devon came to my tent for a short interview. He's making a video for the trip for his family and friends and especially for his girlfriend who wonders what kind of people would do this type of trip. He's interviewing everyone from the two teams and Luke. I'm sure I'll get a copy when I'm back.We also tried to be a little active and did a 4.8k ski run to the fake Christmas tree next to the "landing strip". I was leading the way there and Em leading us back. Our ski time for the return trip was one hour and 10 minutes. This was actually pretty fast. We probably won't ski with this pace in the field. This was also the time I tested out a few things like my mask, new pair of insoles and knee braces. They seemed to work quite well for me. Em also tested out her insoles and new binding. She's quite happy with them as well.Photo: View from my tent in Union Glacier camp after the weather improved Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.