Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The wind is dying down, it no longer buffets us as strongly. Walking has become easier, and it is even possible to find the odd place where the air is almost still. Such spots are great favorites with the amateur photographers of the base, as the views onto the Antarctic continent can be spectacular.

Can be. The continent, although it is distant no more than a couple of kilometers, is not always visible. Today it is hiding... It has been snowing since this morning, small unstructured flakes whirling around in the diminishing wind, gently coating the whole base in a mantle of whiteness, and hiding the continent from view. It is the first time I have seen it snow since arriving in Antarctica.

In Concordia it hardly ever snows. We experienced winds that lifted the surface snow into a blizzard, reducing visibility to a few meters, and creating artistic snow drifts, but no real precipitation. The annual accumulation up there is around two centimeters a year... dryer than many deserts!

Here at sea-level there is more humidity in the air, more weather-related phenomena, and more snow... The past few days, the opportunities for photography have been a little scarce, because of the winds and now the snow. The photo above was taken a few days ago by JY, when we went out onto the sea-ice to visit the seals. Cute and cuddly... ahem... so long as you don't get too close...

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