And to those so inclined: merry christmas!
Jul is usually an occasion when we celebrate (that we just passed!) the darkest day of the year. Perhaps a bit boreocentric, but it feels weird celebrating Jul here, with midnight sun, and what I normally think of as "easter" weather : only 5 degrees minus, clear blue skies, almost no wind, wet snow and slippery ice. But Jul has been different, in so many ways, here.
The 24th started like any day, celebrating the Holy Barrel. The station is floating over with fresh fuel drums, so our old and empty drums need pressing, before being stacked in containers, then shipped out, next summer. Push the lever, barrel gets flat.
After. Quite satisfying.
We've worked our way through most of the traditional norwegian dishes - on juleaften (24th) we had svineribbe (pork ribs with sauerkraut, gravy and potatoes - east norwegian tradition) - on the 25th we had pinnekjøtt (salted & smoked mutton ribs - from west Norway), and today we had lutefisk ("lye fish", a kind of caustic gelatinous way of preparing cod - an aquired taste even for north norwegians).
We drink juleøl (dark beer) and akvavit (a kind of schnapps spiced with caraway).
Note anomaly - curtains trying to block out the bright sunlight.
The traditional plastic tree (juletre). In my mythology, the star on top of the juletre symbolizes the (returning) sun. Although I won't push the point.
Yesterday was off, so there was time for a hike in the splendid weather (also see top image). We're coming down from the top. Note the moraine field to the right - you can almost imagine the glacier retreating like the ebbing sea from a rocky beach. Only in this case the "ocean" creates the beach as it retreats from it.
Here geology and biology have, unusually for Antarctica, made good allies.
The hole was initially weathered by frost-thaw, chipping loose the rocks and sand, thereafter the rocks have been whirling around in the strong wind, further grinding out the hole, in a self-perpetuating mechanism. Meltwater must have gathered in the hole too, giving what little sustenance was needed for the orange lichen to move in and establish itself.
I am norwegian doctor who worked as expedition doc on the Antarctic research station Troll for the summer season 2007-2008. NB: This blog is intended as a personal and ecological account from The Ice Planet - fully independent of the Norwegian Polar Institute, their official web page being: npweb.npolar.no