McMurdo is currently going sky crazy. The sun is barely up for 6 hours now, which means we have extend periods of darkness. (i.e. walking out the door and the sun is down until I'm at work for 3 hours) We also have extend periods of twilight, close to 90 mins or more of the golden hour it seems. Tis extremely beautiful as I mentioned in my last post.
If I was an ape, I'd probably think the world was ending. During the darkness we keep getting the Auroral Australias and now we have meteor shower over the next few days (the Lyrids). It's been spectacular! It's also been hard to get out and go view them at 2am during a work night and get out of town away from the lights. People are getting some photos and even a time-lapse or two so I'll eventually get it up on Facebook. The long night sky and what fills it is yet another reason I'm willing to spend my winter here in McMurdo.
Some of you asked what Fast Ice is, and I thought I'd also give a description for non-Ice people. Feel free to ask about random Ice terms or situations as living within it sometimes framing topics hard. As it turns out I had the wrong understanding of it too. A quick geography lesson, McMurdo is the furthest point south you can go with a Boat. Ross Island is not actually on the Antarctica continent, rather it is an volcanic island a few miles off the continent that lies at the junction between the Ross Ice Shelf and the Ross Sea. The Ross Ice Shelf is a glacier that's several hundred meters thick and we call it permanent ice, even though it moves and isn't really just very thick ice. The Ross Sea rolls right up to the edge of this Ice Shelf and obviously the water freezes to a depth of up to two meters (which is enough to allow jet aircraft of land on, and we do). This is called Annual Sea Ice for obvious reason, but I referred to it as the Fast Ice. Fast Ice turns out to be Multi-year Sea Ice "held fast" by the land. So no it doesn't go speeding away quickly, but it does grip well.
There's still much going on around me and I contribute to it myself. I'm teaching yoga again and organizing the previously mentioned Math Club (Saturday night dance). It's also addicting to sit at the table during Lunch, Dinner or weekend Brunch for hours and listen to the wonderful and silly conversations we have. It precludes coming and typing on a blog, taking a time-lapse, hiking up Ob-hill, sorting my digital database, or working on one of the several projects (such as consolidating and moving my websites which some of you may have notice). It's not all going to get done and I'm okay with that as being social for me is much more important to my mental health, especially if it happens to be lying on the ground looking at the stars as auroras form and meteors turn to dust.
I'll end with a list of things that are coming up in the near and distance future. Today people were out building igloos on the Ice Shelf, and we have Burger Bar tonight. This week is the same packed evening schedule, and forgot to mention I have Yoga on Friday. Last friday it got cancelled as I drove a Piston Bully out to the Kiwi Square Frame, which I'll have to describe at some point. Saturday is Math Club again. Next Sunday I've got Hut 10 (the rental house on station) so I can cook my favorite recipes including, Ice Cream, Mexican lasagna, Cinnamon rolls, maybe funnel cakes. Our last sunset is coming up in two weeks or so. Mid-Winter Dinner is already in the planning stages (it's kind of like christmas dinner for the winter, we celebrate it at the austral winter solstice). As of yet no jello wrestling events have been scheduled… though I'm sure no one wants to get fired over it so it's not likely to happen. More will pop up as the week rolls past.