The Longest Day

Yesterday, Sunday, December 21, was the austral summer solstice, the longest day, when there are days.   Our day lasts for months–I don’t know exactly how you determine the first sunrise and last sunset of the Antarctic summer.   But, the Sun will reach it’s highest point in the sky on the summer solstice, so I had a plan to get a photograph at solar noon.   Here it is:

 

Lake Hoare Camp at solar noon on the Austral summer solstice, 2014.

Lake Hoare Camp at solar noon on the austral summer solstice, 2014.   Looking pretty much due north. The sun is up there.  Lake Hoare on both sides of the peninsula, Canada Glacier on the right.   Andersen Creek flows hard up against the flank of the Glacier.

It was snowing when I took that photo.  It snowed all day.  Later, I went up to the top of Lake Chad to sample three streams up there.  Here is a look east from Lake Chad, across Lake Hoare, to the Canada Glacier, which is out there somewhere.

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At first I was little frustrated that I couldn’t get the photo I wanted, but in short order I realized the weather was perfect–we are in freaking Antarctica, after all.  It made me even happier when it snowed into the night.  Here’s what it looked like in the morning.

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Tents at Lake Hoare Camp, Canada Glacier in the background. Andersen Creek is right behind the Scott Tent (the pyramidal tent). Lake Dirty Little Hoare is to the right of the Scott tent.  My tent is in the center.

It was also better sleeping in the cold, cloudy weather.  Clear skies make sleeping harder, for me, anyway, and when the Sun goes in and out of clouds during the night it’s tough to sleep well.  I’ll explain this in another post on sleeping.

One really nice thing that happens on Sundays at Lake Hoare is a shower.  Rae and the carps have built an awesome shower room in the Jamesway behind the main hut.   Rae fires up an oil stove the night before and heats up a huge pot of water to near boiling.  We mix that with cold water and fill up a Sun Shower.  It’s amazing how luxurious a shower with two or so gallons of water can feel.  Here is the Lake Hoare shower room.

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The Jamesway. The shower room is in this end, right inside the door. Maciej sometimes sits on the deck in the evening when the Sun is in the west, and the Jamesway shelters him from the prevailing easterly (“up-valley”) wind.

The weather was still crummy Monday morning (today).  As a result, the Helos weren’t flying, so we walked back to F6.  That took about three hours, with a c. 35 lb pack.  (I carry my computer and power supply so I can work while I am at Lake Hoare.)  That hurt, but Mikey and Zach (the 20-something, severely able-bodied FNG on the Stream Team) were like puppies.  I now realize that one advantage of Apple computers is that their power supplies are much lighter than that for my Dell.

The cold weather has completely shut down our streams.  My plan is to take advantage of that and rebuild the control at the F9 Gauge on Green Creek.  The existing control is leaking, and we need to replace the tarp over the rocks.  I want it to stay cloudy all night until about 8 tomorrow, so as to keep flows low.  As I write this, at about 8:30 p.m., the sun is coming out.   It will take a while for the creek to kick back up, so I think we’ll be able to get the job done.

I’m gonna go eat–chile verde and burritos.

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