George, Thursday 1 April 2010
Wind Speed: 19 knots
Temp with wind chill: -38°C
Brightness and whiteness were pretty much my first impressions of Antarctica. The continual daylight was surreal at first; outside you needed sunglasses and it always seemed like the afternoon, even at 2am in the morning!
But how quickly things have changed! On 21 February we had our first sunset, when the sun dipped just beneath the horizon and popped back up a short while later. I rather naively assumed the sky would darken and the stars come out, but in fact there was only a dusky half-light.
As the sun sets half an hour earlier each day, the nights have begun to rapidly draw in. At the moment we have something like ‘normal’ daylight hours, with the sky at night a deep dark blue and the moon rising to the west. In 4 weeks the sun will set for the last time, and we shan’t see it again until August.
I am intrigued by the thought of 3 solid months of 24-hour darkness, and I wonder how it will affect our moods. Will we develop the T3 syndrome, a condition of short term memory loss and irritability due to the lack of light, and will our issued vitamin D tablets be of any help? In the interests of science - watch this space!