Ah, the long darkness is nearly upon us! What started as an endless summer is but a distant memory and the midnight sun that once warmed our brow has been traded for the glorious green glow of the southern lights. How strangely normal it now feels to walk beneath curtains of magnificent Auroras, rolling their way across the star-speckled blackness of the Milky Way.
We are robbed of more and more daylight each day; Earth’s rotation, science etc. It kisses the horizon through the late morning and abandons us only several hours later. As it departs, so do our tans, leaving behind a group of pasty battery hens to adjust to life with a completely disturbed light-dark cycle. Come June we will experience several straight weeks of deep darkness and everyone is devouring carrots and glugging down Vitamin D supplements in preparation. Torches are on charge and the solar panels are now just part of the furniture.
Of course, things become a lot more difficult to do in the dark, so last weekend we undertook our ‘dark search’ training, locating and rescuing a fellow expeditioner who had ventured off into the icy abyss. Armed with headlamps and expensive-looking thermal cameras, every nook and cranny was scanned as whistles were blasted through the freezing air in a giant game of Marco Polo. When we located the casualty it was hard to say whether we did a better job of finding him or cruelly manoeuvring his broken leg. In any case, the search and rescue Hägglunds was deployed and a swift stretcher carry over rock and snow to safety was performed. Heroes yet again, we drank coffee merrily and feasted on freshly baked bagels with all the trimmings.
But as polar night settles in here, we know the rest of the world is experiencing much darker days than our own. Maybe everyone else could do with a little Aurora in their lives, so here are some below.
Rhys Harding, Station Doctor