Just Like the Old Berlin Song

Antarctica, you take my breath away. Literally as well as metaphorically.

I pulled on my windpants (particularly handy on a day with sustained 20-knot winds and a wind chill of minus 20F), my Fuggs and my Big Red and headed down to Hut Point. At times the wind was so bad that I walked backwards so Big Red could take the brunt of it. The thin, dry air filled my lungs and made my nose run, the knife-sharp light burned my eyes even behind sunglasses (and later, when I removed the fogged-up glasses in a futile attempt to clean them, bits of volcanic dust scraped across my corneas). I got an immediate double ice cream headache.

It was wonderful.

Down at Hut Point proper, I was treated to a sight I’ve never seen before: line after line of snaky mist driven across the open water of McMurdo Sound by the relentless wind.

View of the Royal Society Mountains across McMurdo Sound from Hut Point.

Here’s a sweeping view of what I saw… I haven’t had too much caffeine, by the way. The jumpy frame (sorry) is me fighting to stay upright in the wind. As for the lack of quality, what can I say, my camera battery was dying from the cold and I’m just glad it survived long enough to take 45 seconds of film. Those of you who have seen my many other videos from last year shot from Hut Point will recognize the Royal Society Mountains, Tent Island on the horizon and finally Hut Point Ridge. But look at all that open water! And there were a couple skua still buzzing about. They tried to divebomb me, but it was too windy so they just hung there over my head, scowling. Which amused me greatly.

Here’s a much shorter clip with me doing my best to remain stationary:

And here’s something I won’t be seeing much of for the next few months:

The sun continues its slow spiral toward the horizon. Taken at about 1800 hours local on 18 March. We have just over a month of sunlight left.

I can’t say I’ll miss the sun. Here in Antarctica, with the darkness comes another kind of beauty. And that is why I came back.


4 thoughts on “Just Like the Old Berlin Song

  1. So, so beautiful! We’re finally back in the US after the last “extended journey,” starting the oh-so-fun process of looking for work. This goes hand in hand, of course, with longing to be back out exploring.

  2. Antarctica always calls me back too, irregardless of stress and situations. I know how you feel..:). At this point in time, not missing Antarctica yet, but I know that feeling will come.

  3. Ernie: it should be frozen over by now but it’s not so late in the season that we’re getting worried. If I remember right from last year, March was the month of frozen/open/frozen/open water, till it firmed up for good around now. Since the skua are still here (they were gone by this time last year) I’m assuming we’re in for at least a warm start to the winter. And I mean “warm” comparatively speaking, of course!

    Heather: I’ve been following your exploits!! Sounds like you guys had an amazing trip. We need to do a road trip together one day… if we can find a place that neither of us has been! Mongolia? Or have you been there? If not, I’m in!

    Womanonice: Thanks… I always feel even my best photos fail to convey what it’s like to be here. You just can’t capture this place on film. But it does get under your skin, doesn’t it? 🙂

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