Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001

We're a bit past Midwinter and in theory the sun is coming back... not that you'd know it looking out a window today. Dark dark dark. We've had our first in-town Condition One, that's um..

- Condition ONE is when any one of the following is true:
Visibility is less than 100 feet
Wind is greater the 55 knots
The windchill is greater than - 100 F

Condition One means offstation travel is shut down totally, and people can't even move between buildings here until the SAR team strings up ropes. I just walked back and forth once between my dorm and the galley and was happy enough to use the ropes. The wind was pretty intense and visibility nonexistent, so I trusted that the galley was on the other end of the rope and kept moving. Some large storage containers moved around on their own up the hill, as did construction debris and plywood.

We didn't do much to mark the Solstice here but Scott Base had a midwinter dinner last week which was just lovely. They also hosted the Polar Plunge, which consists of a hole in the ice and a warmup shack nearby. As a result of experience in previous years they now require all plungers to wear shoes, and a harness. Participants still have to walk from the shack to the hole, jump in, and make it back to the shack on their own. My previous coldwater experience came in handy here: I knew to start cussing before I hit the water. A seal came by to investigate but I was in the hot tub by then and missed seeing it. Darn.

Not too much else going on here. Raytheon management has officially announced that they don't like winterovers, that is, we will all get roommates at Winfly. That's the period between the three or four pre-season flights in late August, and Mainbody in October. So all the crunchy grumpy winterover types (the process is underway) will have to share space with either another crunchy grumpy winterover or somebody bouncy and tan and cheerful, even if there's an empty room next door. Tell me that makes sense. We're all looking forward to getting freshies and mail at Winfly, but the first new arrival to walk into the galley munching on an apple from their flight lunch is going to get squished.

We got a round of midwinter greetings from all the other year-round stations on the continent. I'll just share my favorite, from the Uruguayan base:

From: Base Científica Antártica Artigas
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001 7:03 AM
To: NSF Station Manager

Dear friends... the antartik life is a very dificult and our mission is in the ciencie and for the peace. Have a good Mid-Winter Greeting for all.

Take care,


ps - seem to have some confusion amongst the readership. Station close = no airplanes, no mail. No Pony Express, no carrier pigeons. This is winter. We may be communicating with space aliens by pulsed laser beam but it remains to be proved.

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