(first day of summer for all of you in the Northern latitudes)
We are in the very heart of the long Antarctic Winter now and today is perhaps the most significant milestone of the season: Mid-Winter. With just over 4 months down (128 days since the last plane to be exact) and roughly 4 more to go it’s the turning point, it’s all down – or up? – from here.
At the southernmost point on earth we will celebrate this solstice with a showing of “The Shining” projected on the wall of the gym and a fancy dinner served tomorrow evening. Today we had a conference call with a few of the first Polies to winter-over here in 1957. It was wonderful to hear some of their stories of having dogs and only a handful of people.
The solstice means that the sun has reached its lowest point – 23.5deg below the horizon – exactly the tilt of the earth. It will rise gradually, reaching its peak on December 21, though we won’t see any sign of it for another month or two yet.
It’s been a dark and stormy night this past week with temps in the -25F to -30F range and winds around 30kts. The weather here is either cold, clear, and calm; or warm (relatively), cloudy, and windy. Today the temps dropped to -60F and the winds to between 5-10kts. The moon rose this week, but with the clouds it’s been pitch black outside for two weeks now.
Below are some of the midwinter greetings we’ve received from our fellow Antarctic winter-overs both at US and foreign stations.
I am grateful to be here and wish everyone a happy and healthy mid-winter!