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Situation consistently bad

Cleary-Camp — 2000-06-20

Jo and Tom have called by radio and informed us that they won’t have the saddle frames finished until Wednesday. That’s quite all right with me, as the condition of my back is unchanged. The weather is still very nasty. The storm goes on incessantly and it seems like the weather wants to make up for the rainless period in the beginning of our journey.


In the evening I turn the wireless on, to talk to Jo and Tom. The reception is poor due to bad weather and I can barely understand Jo. I kneel down on the wet floor before the small speaker and listen intently. ‘No Denis, there’s been no update on your web page!’ ‘What, that can’t be?!’, I cry dismally into the microphone.

Meanwhile communications with our friend and manager, Mike, in Germany have become very difficult. Jo and Tom do not have a computer and consequently no internet access. All of my questions are telephoned to Angelika and Claudia in Perth, who then contact Mike in Germany. Mike answers my queries then it takes time again for the information to return to me per radio through Jo and Tom. Unfortunately we can’t e-mail one another, as our Provider is currently relocating, that’s why the update hasn’t been completed yet. Some computer program on my PC has to be changed, or at least that’s the way I understood it. I am able to send e-mails to Germany but cannot receive any, so here I am, sitting excitedly under our drenched, dome-like, tent this evening and preparing to beam another message into the heavens. The connection appears to have been successful, but no new messages appear… The seconds and minutes speed by and eventually I resign myself to the fact that more hard earned money has just disappeared.

I would like to note that every minute online costs us DM 7,-. A short e-mail usually takes over a minute to be received, making them at least DM 14,-. The reports we write about our adventures generally take 7 minutes to be beamed into space. Although it is wonderful to have such modern technology out here in the bush, we have to finance it too and that’s one of the things that makes the expeditions so expensive. The most expensive facet of our trips is the documentation and communication thereof. Many of our readers presume that our costs are covered by sponsors, this is the case for a greater part of our equipment but some things like communication, text translation etc. are paid for out of our own pocket. That means that our life too is a financial tight rope walk. I have been asked often of late, how we manage to publish our experiences so quickly in internet and magazines. The explanation is that we have many good friends and partners on our side. Mails are sent to our friend and manager, Mike Tauer, he proof reads them, makes small corrections when necessary and then sends them to our translator. After they are translated into english, the texts go back to Mike who then sends them to our friend and graphic artist, Uli Knauer. Uli transforms the whole thing into an acceptable image and then mails it to the provider who adds it to our web page. It’s understandable that this long procedure has the occasional hickup, and that’s why one or two of our updates take a little longer. Of course we all work as fast as we can, but delays are often innevitable although we do our best.

It is 9.00 p.m. as I, rather depressed, turn the satellite phone off and put away the computer. The connection was there but as previously explained I could not recieve any messages. I am again plagued with the worry that our satellite communication could be jeopardized by yet another technical problem.

Day: 40

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