Saturday, August 23, 2008

Something isn't Right.

We were waiting, but where is the plane?

Something isn't right this week. The sun supposedly came up on Tuesday. I didn't see it. I still haven’t seen it. A whole group of us took a trip out on Ivan to see the first sunrise. We saw nothing! Part of that is because it was tucked behind a mountain. Part of that was the clouds.

Riding out to see the first sunset.

The ride out to see the first sunset brimmed full of excitement. We wanted to see the sun. I had been hungering for this moment for months. Some people in town didn't care. They didn't miss the sun or simply were willing to wait until it came to them. For some, the ride out to Pegasus Airfield felt like the final ride before leaving the continent. We all had on our ECW gear. Some of us had our orange bags. We were heading to the airfield. The only thing missing was the plane when we arrived.

First sunrise. Wait for it. Wait for it. Keep waiting

The sun never became visible that first day. It did a great job of illuminating Mt. Erebus from behind though. We hoped that as it moved to the left down the ice tongue, we would be able to see it. Nothing. It was anticlimatic, but it was still fun to get out of town with friends on our lunch break.

Looking to the south, you could see a 'shadow' in the sky where Erebus blocked the sun light.

My trip out to see the second sunrise looked hopeful. It was pretty clear out. The sun would be up longer. I thought it was a sure thing. Unfortunately, some poor planning thwarted us. The sun rose at 11am so that is when we went out. However, it rose behind the mountain. We should have gone out at noon to see it when it had moved out from behind the mountain. We waited as long as we could and the sun was clearly just behind the Erebus ice tongue, but we couldn't see it. Tear. People who came out at 1pm did see it.

I made two more trips out to work on a computer at the airfield and each time tried to time it so that I'd get to see the sun. On the third trip, we were fogged in. On that same day at the same time, a friend did see a fuzzy orange ball behind the clouds from another vantage point. On the fourth trip, we turned back because the weather took a turn for the worse. It got so bad that we couldn't see more than a flag at a time and they were 10-20 yards apart. We took our time and slowly made it back to town.

Scott Base at night.

So after not seeing the sun for so many days, I gave up trying to see it. That isn't right. It is all I've talked about for the better part of a month. If I went out yesterday, I'm sure I would have seen it. Unfortunately, I had too much stuff to get done in town to make a trip out. Such is life. The sun will come to me, especially if I help it by making it out on a hike today.

Auroras during my Scott base shuttle shift.

The one thing that I thought would be the hardest on me over the winter was a lack of sun and I still stand by that. I've noticed serious improvements in my mood and attitude as the amount of sunlight has increased. Too bad the temperatures haven't followed suit. Two days ago the high was -33.9F. The low was -43.7F before the wind chill. That is our coldest yet this winter. The wind chill has regularly been -60F to -80F. I chose the wrong week to lose one of my glove liners.

Starry, starry night.

So if I'm been going through hardship for a lack of sunlight, can someone please explain to me why I'm so excited by the night? Something isn't right. I know I'm going to miss the Southern Cross, auroras, clear views of the Milky Way and Clouds of Magellan, and planet sightings. I'm finding myself staying up late a couple nights each week just to make sure I get a couple more chances to look up and be awed.

It's been a weird week, but a good week. Eleven days until the the first flight brings more people in. I'm excited.

Katie and Rachel on the Hut Ridge Trail under the last full moon.