Little rays of sunshine

According to the best calculations possible, we were due to see the last of the sun for the winter on May 14. However, due to the fact that Vesleskarvet is elevated above the surrounding ice sheet (and hence the horizon), it catches the sun for a little longer. The past few days have been overcast with snow, but today dawned beautifully clear (albeit a little after eleven o’clock), and more importantly with only a gentle wind. Although it was -23°C, the lack of wind made it possible to spend time outside, and being a Saturday a few of us headed out for some R&R. We took a pair of skidoos and a sled around to the wind-scoop on the western side of Vesles, from where we could watch as the sun made it’s brief traverse along the northern horizon. The sunrise merged seamlessly into the sunset, with the glowing orb never lifting itself off the distant ice.

Antarctica takes on another personality this time of year. The searing stark white of the summer sunshine is replaced by a landscape with infinite folds and contours, and every imaginable shade of pink, purple and blue. The low rays and stretching shadows delineate features never seen before; sunrise and sunset last for hours as the sun slips obliquely across the sky. Textures innumerable appear in snow that seemed uniform before and ice crystals glint everywhere. The personality of the land is unmistakable; a beautiful lady, she shares her finest with us before fading elegantly into the long hours of night.

As we travel back to the base the sun is a memory, but the moon rises steadily over our mountain home, fair and clear in the pure air.

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