I felt extremely optimistic about the prospects for the day when I woke up because the tent wasn’t flapping so much. On a foray outside I discovered this was because our tent is half buried in snow that has drifted around it and all through the camp. Hundreds of cubic metres of snow has drifted into the camp forming ridges over 1 metre high and many metres long downwind from each tent or obstruction.
So as a result of ongoing inclement weather we slept in to midday then celebrated the 60th birthday of our esteemed team member Waleed. Norwegian polar specialist Ronnie made a superb dinner which was consumed with gusto amid plenty of banter about the meaning of life and all else that seems to be of importance to us out here as well as lots of the usual drivel we manage to come up with when we have the benefit of absolute isolation. In all, it has been a great day of rest and we pray to the weather gods for an improvement tomorrow.
Meanwhile thousands, if not millions of cubic metres of snow flows past us on its constant migration around Antarctica, not really going anywhere specific, but being moved around by the weather systems and neither melting or settling. Perhaps they should call it Gypsy snow as it has no permanent home and may never do as the winds keep it on the move. Considering we are on the driest continent on earth, there’s a hell of a lot of snow around!
We’re hoping to move in the morning, if we cannot, it’s hard to know what to write in the journal, we can only begin to reflect on the suffering of those who came before us almost 100 years ago but our time here in this environment only increases our respect for their fortitude and stoicism.
Meanwhile, happy to be born of the technological age, I retire to my North Face Inferno sleeping bag with zillions of centimeters of loft and billions of Btu’s generated by my body heat, relishing in the comforts provided by modern equipment while millimeters away, through the thin nylon wall of my tent, the harsh Antarctic climate blasts across the plateau unaffected by my passage. That in itself is actually a comforting thought on many levels.