22 November, 1997
Saturday dawns with a bright cloudless blue sky. The best thing for me was there was no wind. I really get tired of wind blowing or howling constantly. This was the day we had decided to finish the part of the project that Mary Albert had given us. This was to be our last day of actual work, so we had decided. However, Mother Nature had decided differently.
Half way through the day a cloud began to form around the horizon. It appeared to be blowing wind from a direction that we had not seen wind from on the ice. I was later told that the storm came from the ocean where the other storms had all come from the South Pole. The wind and snow picked up quickly and with a fearlessness that was unreal on a sunny day. With in a matter of minutes the cloud had covered the sky and the wind began blowing the snow so that visibility was extremely limited. With left on a snow mobile with Dr. Kendrick Taylor to head back to camp. As we moved rapidly across the 6 kilometers, the flags along the route became harder and harder to see. Even the 35 foot tall drilling rig was not seen as we approached the turn there. From my vantage point, I could barely see one flag and sometimes none at all.
Upon arriving back at camp, we entered the Beaker Jamesway covered in snow and left with half a day with nothing much to do. The sun gave us a delightful surprise as a halo began forming about the sun. They call it a Sun Dog and it is a beautiful sight to see. According to one of the scientist here the halo is formed from sunlight that is being bent through dense ice crystals in the atmosphere. It is similar to a rainbow only the whole circle can be seen from the ground and it is not in the rainbow colors. The halo had a yellow tint to it and inside toward the sun the cloud appeared a little grayer. You could definitely see a difference from the halo and the surrounding clouds. It was a great sight to see and one that I will remember fondly. The Sun Dogs happened off and on all that evening around the sun as it revolved about camp. It is definitely different to be in a place where you are being blown apart and having snow whipping about you at all hours of the day and night and still need no lights to read by in a tent or to walk about camp.
This is definitely a continent that one cannot treat lightly as she has a mind of her own. Antarctica is unpredictable and unforgiving to those who do not remember that. Even in her spring time the weather, although warm, is harsh and dry. The skin and the whole body feels the differences from here to home in Montana. I know that I will look at a snow storm differently now than I use to. I can only imagine what one would be like during the Antarctic winter and be glad that we do not always have them at home this way.
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