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6 November, 2003

As forecast, yesterday's storm continued through the night and we woke to yet another zero-visibility morning. We kept the door to the hut closed last night so there wasn't a drift on the foot of my sleeping bag-but there was a nice one on the floor a few inches past the entrance where snow collected as it eddied out after being blown through the gap where the door and floor meet.

After a morning spent reading and knitting cabin fever set in, and it was time to take a walk in the storm. We suited up in the usual layers-long underwear, wind pants, balaclava, neck gaiter, fleece jacket, gloves, goggles, and our stunning red parkas and set off into the maelstrom. Kelly and I decided it would be best to stick to the flagged route, rather than setting out across the ice to check on our seal neighbors. As the wind-whipped snow blew around us, we agreed that it would be a good idea to turn around when we could only see two flags ahead on the path.

Apparently, we chose the peak of the storm for our walk. About 20 minutes after leaving the hut the storm closed in-for the first time this season we were unable to see Big Razorback Island, immediately to our left. It was definitely time to turn around! It was an exhilarating walk back to the hut, counterbalancing ourselves against the ever-shifting gusts of wind.

Now, strange things happen when the winds blow around here. Sometimes weird animals can show up that have been blown off-course by a strong gust of wind. Imagine our surprise when we returned to camp and found we had been beset by a misplaced flock of rubber chickens! The area around the huts was littered with their carcasses. Apparently, they had gotten lost in the storm on their migratory path somewhere over the South Pacific and attempted to seek refuge in the calm areas between our huts. Unfortunately, since they possess neither blubber nor feathers for insulation, they were not very well adapted to the rigors of the Antarctic environment and perished in the storm. Perhaps that is for the best, since they would have encroached on the habitat and food of Antarctica's indigenous bird species.

Daily Haiku:

Chickens in the wind

Rubber bodies on the snow

How can they survive?

When we returned to camp, we found the first storm fatality, a chicken plunged headfirst into the drift near our hut.

We could barely see the orange huts in the distance as we walked the flagged route back to camp.

This chicken tried to seek refuge in one of our coolers along with the rest of our frozen food.

One chicken tried to duck under the cover on a snowmobile.

The storm closes in around us.

This chicken was spotted as it flew past the window of our kitchen hut.

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