‘Tis the Season… for Fog

Christmas in Antarctica may not be what you’re imagining.

It’s the height of summer, for starters, and the temperatures have been in the 20s, 30s and even occasionally the 40s (Fahrenheit). The snow is almost all gone, and the sea ice is breaking up. I spent an hour yesterday out at Hut Point watching seals swim lazily in the channels of open water that last week were merely cracks in the ice.

A seal naps on what's left of the sea ice near Hut Point on a foggy Christmas Eve

All that (relatively) warm air and moisture means one thing: fog.

North from Hut Point... you may remember this view from previous photos, when the hill in the foreground was white with snow and the sea ice was a solid, thick sheet. Note the dark sky on the horizon: dark skies here indicate open water, because there is no snow or ice to reflect sunlight back up to the clouds. A month ago, the dark sky was barely a smudge on the horizon. Now it is advancing daily.

The C-17 that was due in from Christchurch days ago still hasn’t arrived, which means a lot of people who hoped to be home for Christmas won’t be. But, more importantly, the plane’s inability to land (due to fog) has resulted in a Freshies Crisis… all of our salad and fresh fruits and vegetables, including tons of strawberries meant to be dipped in chocolate for the big Christmas buffet, are not coming.

Apparently, Santa decided we were naughty.

Some people are complaining about it (there’s always someone who’s got to grouse about something), but most of us just shrug it off. Yes, there will be no fresh strawberries for Christmas this year. Because we’re in Antarctica and it’s foggy. Deal with it.

Season's Greetings from Slasher and Slicer... the reason Santa lives at the North Pole. Oh, we got yer Freshies for ya, right here....

I know I am… actually, I think it’s awesome to be living in a place where Mother Nature still holds sway.

Seal swimming in a channel... coincidentally, at the same spot where the Underwater Observation Tube was last month.


4 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season… for Fog

  1. Thanks for the update. Great picture of you in the kitchen!

    Mom sent us some real east-coast pork roll for Xmas – good stuff from south Jersey. Last night I fried up a couple of slices and substituted it for the beef patties in a couple of Loco-Mokos we had for dinner. Excellent! Made me think of opening a Hawaii-themed cafe on the boardwalk in Atlantic City…

    Today Belinda and I will be making our traditional holiday-eve cioppino. Depending on whether I can get the ingredients on sale (clams, shrimp, scallops, mussels, halibut, crab), I may also buy enough to make a batch at work tomorrow.

    Have a great Christmas!

  2. thanks… i told our sous chef to look tough but she insisted on smiling. no one respects my artistic vision.

    merry christmas to you and belinda and the cats!

  3. Hi Gem! Love the photo of you with the sous chef AND the antlers! Great blog, too. Btw, McMurdo is on solid land and not on ice, right? Love you.

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