All alone on the Ice

Main Page
Getting Going
Saying Goodbye
Sailing South
  Trip I
  Club Nido
  Melt Tank
  Penguins I
  Penguins II
  Pub Crawl
  Penguins III
  Rumples Trip
  Trip Ctd.
Summer 07
Winter 07


Winter is upon us. With some force. We saw the ship off from N9, where we last left it, and during the drive back to the base the wind got up and pulled the snow up into the air. In the deepening darkness the visibility dropped as the sun set and the wind rose. Eventually we came upon the base, looming up, sharp against the soft grey surrounding us. We arrived very late so pretty much headed straight to bed.

Seeing the ship was good fun if a little unreal. People who'd left the base on the first wave a few days before, who we'd worked with all summer, were now set apart. We would be getting off, while they were soon setting off back home. We had a bit of a rest before heading back as our sledges of cargo had to be unloaded. We were lucky enough to see a few Orcas off the end of the creek, and a few penguins hiding from the cold up on the ice shelf. The sea was colder than when we'd last been there, so many weeks ago, with thin ice forming around the ship and whispy steam tumbling over its soupy surface as the cold air fell from the ice shelf. We managed to secure some lettuce and a small supply of Bourneville chocolate before making our escape.

Winter started officially on the 1st, with an easy day (only one science alarm went off) then a feast of fresh food and an evening of reaquainting ourselves with each other. Although already familliar we'd not spent much time together over the summer as a busy workload kept us working hard in different places. We also got down to the serious business of picking our rooms, and finding who we'd be making midwinter gifts for. I've no definite ideas about what I'm making yet, but there's plenty of time to ponder suitable projects.

My room is 21a, fairly large with plenty of cupboards but no shelves, and a nice feeling of space as I can fold up the top bunk and hide it behind a wall hanging. It has no window, which is playing some havoc with my sleeping patterns, but it's also quieter in the wind and won't have water dripping down the cold glass. I've equipped it with glowing stars and galaxies, mainly to highlight the edges of sharp things in the dark and save my shins from midnight injuries.

The wind had been blowing at 25 to 35 knots for a few days, but has now dropped off to a quieter 10 knots or so. The fierce weather gave us a good chance to try out more of our clothes, with our rabbit padded "Mad Bomber" hats coming into their own. Walking to work was interesting as the position and height of snow drifts changes every hour, with soft trenches to fall into, and hard lumps poking up to trip over. Expect more falling over shortly.

The final ritual for the start of the winter, and our yearly bath, happened on Friday night. The Drewry building has its own melt tank which must be emptied over the winter. Rather than wasting all that nice warm water we plonk ourselves in. We managed to squeeze thirteen people into a 6' x 5' x 7' box, half filled with hot water and half filled with freezing air. Hair froze into sugared sculptures and wine warmed in floating glasses, a giggle was had by all.

Me at the moment
Me at the moment

Shadow of the Shackleton
Shadow of the Shackleton

Penguins shelter on the ice shelf
Penguins shelter on the ice shelf

Mist steaming over the soupy sea
Mist steaming over the soupy sea

Patterns in the snow after the storm
Patterns in the snow after the storm

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