Monday, July 7, 2008

Lost Horizon

Yesterday the winds were kicking up over 20 knots, which meant there was a bunch of snow blowing around. Couple that with no moon in the sky and it made for a murky blackness that was quite a challenge to easy navigation around the Antarctic Plateau. I took over 20 minutes to make it the quarter mile to ARO, and ended up having to navigate mostly by ear. The bamboo poles that mark our pathways and hazards here all have flags attached to their top end, and it was by the flapping noises of the flags that I did most of my navigation. I even walked into a couple flagpoles because I couldn't discern them from the inky background. I couldn't even see the station until I was about 30 yards from it, and the station isn't any small object to be easily obscured. I thankfully did make it back to the "Shangri La" of the station after taking a business call on my radio whilst en route.

When I was checking in that I'd arrived at ARO with a person in the station I made a remark that it was a "real Antarctic experience". It definitely was different than any conditions I've encountered thus far in my time at Pole. Whiteout conditions during the summer didn't seem as intense for some reason. Anyhow, it was quite memorable. I guess we've been long overdue for such weather.

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