Giant Space Invading Jellyfish and Other Random Items of Moderate Interest

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?”

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a giant jellyfish?

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.

Shine on you crazy US-French joint project diamond!

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:

Where I'm at... I know you're not supposed to shoot into the sun, but I liked the way the smoke rising from various buildings caught the sunlight, somnething which is still a bit of a novelty in these parts.

One of the coolest souvenirs ever... when we went to New Zealand's Scott Base last week, we got them to stamp our passports.

This shot is for my brother the firefighter, who will probably see far more interesting things in it than the layperson. Ob Hill is in the background.

And this shot is just because I am still tickled to see the word "Antarctica" on things around here

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