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.
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:
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.