Anna, Thursday 29 January 2009
I never believed the stories about people working in Antarctica in just a t-shirt- bah! People just love to exaggerate. But here we are, sweating away in t shirts. The weather has been fine, fine, fine, with temperatures up to +5°C - a veritable sauna after the -40°C days we had in September.
And along with the sunny tropical heat comes the change in tide. The sea ice has been closed for a month now, and after being helicoptered out here to Captain Scott’s base at Cape Evans, we found that the sea ice was all still in place. It seemed like it was still solid. But we all know appearances can be deceptive.
Although the sea ice is still there, it is slowly thawing out and disintegrating from within. It looks so solid, but dark patches have been appearing out there. And finally, it is starting to happen. We had a slightly brawny breeze yesterday, and poof!! Those dark patches have suddenly become dark sea, and the ice is starting to blow out!
It is vaguely surreal to see the ocean after seeing nothing but snow and ice for so long. Even eerier is watching the pancake ice roving lazily back and forth against the shore with the tide. It is hard to believe that the waves travel for so many miles under the sea ice to lap against the Cape Evans shore.
Now we are just waiting for the liberated bergs to begin their drift, and the orca and leopard seals to start their hunting in the open ocean.