This last week we’ve hit the halfway point of our time down south; well for those of us who arrived at the start of summer. After a summer of long long days, we walk to work now in the dark and walk home in the dark (not unlike Canberra or Hobart I suppose, but this lasts a lot longer and it’s a little cooler). There’s still much more darkness to come as we’re still six weeks away from mid-winter (AKA the winter solstice) and up until then we’ll continue losing about 8 minutes of daylight each day.
Unlike Davis (show-offs) we rarely get to see the auroras as we do our daily commute, we seem to be more often under complete cloud cover and even in snowfall. But it’s still beautiful, and especially peaceful on those mornings where it’s completely still and if you listen very careful over the crunch of your footsteps (and the humming of the main power house) you can hear the snow falling as the perfectly structured flakes drift slowly down around you.
The bonus of this darkness is that we’re up and awake for sunrise and sunset, so giving the opportunity for viewing some extraordinary colours lighting up the snow covered ground and icebergs in the distance (if only we remembered to bring our cameras to work).
We’re getting a ‘bliz’ now approximately once or even twice a week (sustained winds over 34kts and visibility reduced to less than 100m); but we’re still waiting for that ‘big bliz’ where we’re confined to the Red Shed (our living quarters) or have to venture out in pairs, dragging ourselves along the bliz lines for fear of being lifted of our feet and blown like tumbleweeds down the main street. Walking into a bliz is literally breath-taking with the wind sucking the air out of your lungs and the blowing snow sandblasting any small piece of skin that may have been left uncovered. An amazing experience in the safety of station confines where you can easily escape to the comforts of the Red Shed, but I imagine something terrifying if out alone in it not knowing where you were.
As modern day expeditioners we count our blessings every day that we’re able to experience these weather extremes in relative comfort.
Now, bring on that big bliz.
Rebecca (Casey SL)