Date: 20 June 2012
Wind Speed: 20 knots
Temp with wind chill: -55C
With only one day to go until the mid-winter solstice, Antarctica is a whirlwind of fun and festivities.
24-hour darkness has been upon us since 20 April when we watched the sun disappear below the horizon, not to be seen again until 19 August. The solstice on 20 June marks the half-way point in our winter so it is widely celebrated by many of the crews at international bases throughout Antarctica.
One of the main ways of celebrating is with a feast of food. Scott Base had an amazing 7 course dinner featuring scallops, venison and chocolate mousse cake to mention but a few.
Scott Base Mid-Winter dinner menu
Another tradition is the polar plunge. A crazy custom whereby participants take the opportunity to jump into the sea through a hole cut through the sea-ice in temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius.
Polar plunger reclines in the freezing waters
We know that these activities go on throughout the Antarctic continent (and are not just confined to crazy Kiwis) as the many international bases send mid-winter greeting e-cards boasting of the delights of their base and mid-winter feast, usually extending an open invitation to all to attend. This irony isn’t lost on those who appreciate that travel to Antarctica is out of the question during the mid-winter (unless it is a question of life or death) so to travel thousands of miles across it is a wistful idea for the sake of attending a mid-winter dinner party.