Winter Is Coming… No, Really… Eventually

Hey, it’s warm out.

Okay, so it’s 15 degrees F, with a wind chill of minus 4 degrees F, which likely makes some of you shiver just to read. But for Antarctica in late March, it’s warm. It’s been another gray day and there is talk of snow before nightfall, albeit probably just a flurry or two. The wind is the only real weather issue today, and it’s steady at a relatively mild 25 knots (again, everything is relative, especially down here).

And yet I feel it. Winter is coming.

I know this because the skua have finally left. The light is finally dying.

Looking across McMurdo Sound to Mount Discovery (on left), partly obscured by cloud. March 30, 2012

Today, I performed the ceremonial Putting Away of the Sunglasses and Switching of the Goggle Insert from Shaded to Clear in preparation for the Darkness. Then I walked down to Hut Point. There wasn’t much to see in the gloom, but the wind was driving up some impressive surf against a thin rim of sea ice forming at the point’s base.

With the skua gone (more than a dozen of them had been hanging around Hut Point, divebombing anyone who came near), the sense of winter encroaching upon us has become more tangible.

Scott's Discovery Hut with McMurdo Station and Ob Hill in background

We’ll still have at least some daylight for almost a month more, but I feel that the season has turned the corner. Winter is coming. Bring it.

Tent Island, viewed from Hut Point

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