Its not like there has been nothing to write about and things are far from stagnating here but motivation seems to be occasionally lacking for particular jobs and I can only put it down to one thing, the Sun!
As Davis is so far south we actually have one month, one week and one day (38 days) where the sun fails to clear the horizon. Although we still get a 'twilight' in the middle of the day with incredible 360 deg coloured skies, I haven't seen the sun itself since the 2nd of July at 1406hrs.
|Rob, Myself and Adam having a beer and patiently waiting for the sun|
Lately our twilight has been increasing as the supposed magical moment of the suns return on the 10th June at 1342hrs approaches (yes, its past that date but it has been cloudy and we still haven't seen that glowing orb) but the attitude on station has become 'chirpier' for lack of a better word. Things never got terrible during the darkness here, which can happen some years but you could sense a distinct lack of energy in the group. This got me thinking, we do take Vitamin D supplements to try to negate the effects of living in darkness and artificial light but maybe we as humans are in some respect partially solar powered and that could be why we as a species have never properly settled in areas which go for days without seeing the sun? To the outsider looking in your first thought could be its due to the extreme temperatures (we are hovering around -30c at the moment) but you can protect yourself from the cold. We have comfortable accommodation and workshops, our clothing is fantastically suited to this environment but nothing we have can combat living in 24hr darkness. I find it isn't the cold, lack of vegetation or winds that are unnatural about being here, it is the time living without a sun.
|Nope! No sun today, maybe tomorrow!...|
Midwinter is a big celebration for people on the Antarctic continent, sub-Antarctic islands and some ex-expeditioners back in the 'real world' and is an important time to do crazy things and embrace the lightlessness. This year, we have done such things as building an outdoor heated water vessel (outdoor spas are against AAD policy)
|Our heated water vessel (NOT a Spa!)|
We cut a hole in the sea ice out the front of station and went swimming in -2c water (I didn't swim this year as I was being stubborn by not agreeing with all the extra rules and politics surrounding the swim at the moment)
|Mmmm! Looks inviting!|
|Sarah testing the water|
|The Swim Team!|
Some of us shaved our heads and wore dresses (as you do) and we ate to excess (Crayfish toasted sandwiches for breakfast anyone?)
|Would you receive a Midwinters gift off these two lovely lasses?|
On the work front, we recently had one of our powerhouse engines start haemorrhaging oil from numerous orifices and since it was knocking on the door of its '40,000 Hour' swap out, we decided to do it early and get a nice rebuilt engine in there to take its place. This is a big job at the best of times and in the middle of winter comes with even more challenges. I decided to try filming some video and time-lapse of the job and have uploaded it for everyone. I wanted to practice some video stuff with my camera so I done an intro of me walking up to the powerhouse, it gives everyone back home an idea of a typical 'commute' between the buildings here. Hope you enjoy!