So on Wednesday (Tuesday to most of you), my day off, my karaoke buddy Blade and I went for a hike (Blade is his stage name… mine, in case you are wondering, is Snow Maiden). And, this is so typical of my time so far in Antarctica, we paused to take in the scenery and simultaneously said aloud: “Huh. What the hell is that?”
What we saw was something rising from one of the research buildings on the ice. It looked like a shiny plume of smoke, or a ghost in a silver lame tuxedo. Gradually its form elongated and then… ta da! A long range balloon, part of a joint US-French research project here to use balloons to measure the ozone and other climactic conditions.
It was fascinating to see it slowly rise and drift out over the sea ice, shimmering like a monstrous yet benign sea creature. Godspeed, you giant space-invading jellyfish, you. Bon voyage!
Here are some other random bits and pieces from the last couple weeks: