The glow has increased

©

14 February 2007

The glow has increased

In the last three days the glow has significantly increased, illuminating a blue sky and sharpening the horizon indicating that direct rays from the sun are not too far away.

Life aboard has slowed down a bit over the last couple of weeks due to a large storm and the resulting ice movement restricting our activities. We have also and a problem with our depth sounder, temporarily limiting our ability to undertake the oceanographic work. With less activity to keep the mind occupied, discussions around the table have taken a philosophical turn, sometimes leading to animated debates with the diverse mix of culture, age and backgrounds in the crew. However, the two subjects that we discuss more and more are the return of the sun and our ‘return to earth’. The light level is the first thing that each of us now checks at the beginning of each day, observing an increasing intensity below the southern horizon over the past week. In the last three days the glow has significantly increased, illuminating a blue sky and sharpening the horizon indicating that direct rays from the sun are not too far away. To use a comparison made at the start of the drift, we feel somewhat like astronauts preparing for re-entry, or in our case ‘glacionauts’. Like a space ships re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere, a delicate and uncertain manoeuvre, there are also a number of hazards and unknowns associated with our first relief flights, in particular, our ability to construct a runway on the sea ice and the ongoing stability of the ice. We are therefore at a turning point in the expedition, a period of expectation, hope, and soon to come hectic activity.

Grant