103 Days of Darkness

Life on an Antarctic research station when the sun's gone down for the winter...and then come back up again

Brief Diversion from Ice, Penguins and all that stuff…..

Strangely, the role of base doctor also encompasses the role of birthday cake making.

This last one seemed apt, as not only is John (our base commander) a Game Of Thrones fan, but also, winter is indeed coming, with only a few weeks left before the sun sets for the 3 months of winter.

SunDogs and SnoCats

lauren:

10 panoramas of Antarctica, Jan - Mar, 2014.

All shot with my iPhone5 and edited with VSCOcam. 

A Little Photoshopping

Took the first photo the other day (yours truly on the bench outside the base on a rather blustery day)…which reminded me a bit of the classic Maxell cassette advert…so I dabbled in a little photo editing during an idle moment!

Shame I didn’t have a Martini to spill!

"Love Gingerly" our Antarctic 48hr Film Festival entry from last year

Thanks to the wonder of broadband internet back up north, Christoph (twitter.com/larndoc) who wintered here with me last year and just got back to the UK, has uploaded our (winning!) entry from the Antarctic 48hr film festival last year…

…basically all the bases down here get given a series of 5 items to include in a 5 minute long film (to stop it being made beforehand) and then 48hrs to film and cut it…great fun!

And it shows some of the inside of this remarkable station of ours.

"103 Days of Darkness" Take 2

So, the Shackleton left Halley a few days ago for the last time for another year, with just the handful of souls who are wintering left there.

Interestingly, I am not on it!

The doc who was supposed to replace me is not going to be wintering and with the recruitment and logistical difficulties of getting a new doc here at such late notice no other option was really achievable to avoid the base possibly having to shut down over the winter…so yes, I am spending a second consecutive winter here at Halley…flying out straight afterwards though, getting back in November.

It was far, far from an easy decision, as I’m sure you can imagine.

I’ll be missing a lot back home of course, but will also hope to be gaining as much as I can from a second winter down here.

So apologies for the continuing appearance of photos of white icy nothingness, strange lights in the starry sky, inquisitive furry little chaps and of course, the darkness!

J x

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The Penguins of Southern Thule

A few more photos from this most amazing of otherworldly places…the tiny island of Southern Thule at the southern tip of the South Sandwich Island chain.

Colonies of Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins live amongst the shattered ruins of an old Argentinian base.

A remarkable landscape of penguins, twisted metal and mountains of guano!

nickynickardo asked: How do you have Wi-Fi down there?

Mystical Antarctic Wi-Fi Pixies!

Sadly not…we have pretty decent satellite communication systems, principally for getting the science data back, but it does allow us some personal time online. Almost unimaginably slow for those of us used to unlimited broadband, so can be frustrating at times, but still wonderful to be able to keep in touch with friends and family and share the experience in ways like this!

Coming upon the remote and desolate island of Southern Thule, these lines from Poe seem remarkably apposite:
"By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,

Where an Eidolon, named Night,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule –
From a wild weird clime, that lieth, sublime,
Out of Space – out of Time.”
 
From “Dream-Land” by Edgar Allan Poe.

Coming upon the remote and desolate island of Southern Thule, these lines from Poe seem remarkably apposite:

"By a route obscure and lonely,

Haunted by ill angels only,

Where an Eidolon, named Night,

On a black throne reigns upright,

I have reached these lands but newly

From an ultimate dim Thule –

From a wild weird clime, that lieth, sublime,

Out of Space – out of Time.”

 

From “Dream-Land” by Edgar Allan Poe.