It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through our time in Antarctica. Although, when I think back to the start and all that we have done over the last couple of months, it seems like we have been here for much longer than we have. There is this strange time warp here where a week feels like a month ago, but at the same time the days go quickly. I think it has something to do with the long hours we work and the continual day light, or perhaps it is to do with the rate at which things change around here….things have changed a lot since we first arrived. For example, when we stepped off the plane two and a half months ago, we were experiencing temperatures around -40 degrees Celsius. When you walked outside your eyelashes would start freezing together and the moisture on your buff from your breath would freeze solid. More recently, we have seen temperatures as warm as zero, it’s practically shorts and t-shirt weather… well nearly, can’t say I am that brave yet. However, with the warmer temperatures has come the rapid decline of our winter wonderland. Water now streams down the road and the pressure ridge walk is rapidly turning in to a slush fest. We have also discovered that this base is as bad as a leaky boat. Walking around base there are buckets to catch the drips from the leaking ceiling as the snow melt finds its way through the cracks. The landscape is turning from a stark white to barren rock or dirty snow. It certainly feels like summer here now.
The last two months have certainly been hectic at times. We have seen our population rapidly grow into the 90’s and stay up around those numbers for weeks at a time. We have seen invited visitors such as Liam (the Paralympian) and Annabel Langbein come and go. We have biked, walked and driven around our local area getting to know the place we have chosen to call home. We have celebrated with our fellow American friends with Thursday open invites, Thanks giving and Halloween. We have made friends and said goodbye to friends. We have gone from having boundless amounts of energy, climbing every night, to being exhausted and waiting for our much-deserved breaks. As we head towards Christmas and the base population is steadily declining. Soon we will be almost just Antarctica NZ staff. It is a time for people to catch up with neglected jobs and restore. Come January, we will be as busy as ever as the Dry Valley science kicks off. Antarctica certainly feels like home now.