It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

Today should have been my penultimate day at work. Things were going well. I was wrapping up the egg line when Bob, a man in the know regarding extended weather forecasts, commented that he had no intention of setting up the night landing lights (my flight out next week is a night flight) “until the storm passed.”

Storm? What storm?

Turns out that, after a ridiculously calm winter, we are expecting, in Bob’s highly professional terminology, “a real sh*tstorm” to wallop us on Monday.

My flight is Monday night.

You know, once I came to terms with leaving Antarctica so soon, I embraced it. I ran with it. I made it my own. And now…now you tell me winter waits until a couple hours before my flight outta here to unleash its fury??

Okay, the storm may move north–it’s still very early, in terms of Antarctic weather prediction, to be sure of anything. We may be spared. And even if not, it will likely be a delay of only a day or two. I might still make it back to Milwaukee in time for the triathlon on the 26th when I’m going to be a volunteer swim angel, and spend the morning splashing about with no fear of colossal squid. All is not lost. Like Aragorn said, “there is always hope.”

And I wouldn’t mind one more look at Antarctica at its most unhinged, when screeching, howling winds shake our sturdy buildings and blown snow feels like claws raking across your face.


I was really looking forward to being a swim angel. I was getting excited about going for a walk with exposed skin. I really want a mango. I would kill for a warm bubble bath and a magazine that’s less than seven months old.

Then, when I was taking out the trash and recycling, I noticed the sky.

Afternoon sky looking north-ish from Building 155

Yes. Time for a walkies.

Same sky, slight zoom. The first photo was taken with my trusty old Canon PowerShot, which is falling apart but I still love (it is literally taped together and sometimes I have to pry open the shutter, which is cracked and missing a corner). This was with my newer Fuji FinePix. It takes higher resolution photos but often looks washed out. And the battery is a total wimp in the cold.

It was probably minus 30F or so (I forgot to look) but fairly calm as I set off for Hut Point.

Starting the walk down to Hut Point (the tip of the peninsula at left). The thing that looks like an outdoor skating rink is our ice pier, by the way. All winter long they grow the ice to certain specifications in terms of thickness and uniformity and density. In February, when we get our annual shipment of fuel and goods like nonperishable food, the ships will actually use the ice pier as, uhm, a pier.

I could tell from the clouds I could see over the ridge that it was going to be a beautiful sight.

I love the double nacreous clouds at left that look like quote marks.

I was not wrong.

View from Hut Point, northwest-ish, taken with my Fuji FinePix

Hey, let’s compare cameras again! It gives me a reason to post more pictures!

Essentially the same shot, taken about a minute earlier, with my Canon PowerShot

Oh, Antarctica, I can’t stay mad at you, even when you decide to throw the hissyfit of the season a couple hours before my flight.

Slight zoom in, Tent Island on the right horizon. Taken with the Fuji.

Here are a couple more pix because I just couldn’t decide which I liked best.

Another zoom in towards Tent Island, this one taken with the Canon.

And…one more!

Another Canon shot. You can see a Fata Morgana illusion just to the left of the center horizon.


4 thoughts on “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

  1. Fantastic shots, Gemma. Except I feel like a dope because I can’t see the washed-out look you mention in the Fuji pics. Everything looks beautiful to me.
    Although…it sounds to me like it is wise to wait for the sh*tstorm to pass. Antarctica-plus-sh*tstorm seems a particularly scary combination. A bit like Romney and Ryan…

    • I guess I see it more because I’m seeing the sky “in the flesh” at the same time. The photos really don’t do it justice. As for the comparison, ha! Antarctica-plus-sh*tstorm is totally different than Romney/Ryan…it’s a lot prettier and a lot more interesting, it’s full of *cold* air and panders to no one!!!!

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