Soon after the Antarctic winter has begun, the temperature swung wildly as if thrown from a horse when riding a rodeo in Texas.
We were expecting to hunker down to await the temperature to hit minus 80 after the sun had left us and the waking up the sleeping monsters in the caves of our minds, hungry and irritated.
Something felt right which meant something was wrong
Instead I awoke to find a puddle beneath my window ledge of the pool of water that was once ice that had sealed my bedroom window firmly shut. I was confused. I walked upstairs to breakfast and for once breathed deeply and strangely quite easily – something was not right. I made a coffee and read BBC World News. There was no mention of nuclear war – but still something had realigned the usual imbalance caused by hypoxia, poor sleep due to loss of the daylight cycle, and the extreme isolation and sensory deprivation … for once things felt ‘ok’ and life was easy, and that I knew, just wasn’t right.
Ying and Yang at Concordia
Ying is never in-line with Yang at Concordia – you are always in a state of extreme, not subtle, imbalance… 4 hours sleep deprivation not relieved by coffee, breathlessness similar to chronic lung disease and hesitation in thought caused by your brain cells being gently and silently garrotted and strangled to death by the lack of Oxygen.
I looked at the temperature chart on the computer and my jaw hit the ice, cold and hard – the referee had called the match… KO.
Smell of rotten fish
Minus 28 degrees Celsius … !
I immediately rechecked the date – indeed it was May and we were a month past April fool’s – which brought back memories of a old smoked dried dead-as-a-doornail fish that had been left in my bed to mark and celebrate the special occasion. And ‘marked’ it had… Whilst the stench had been so bad, I had actually appreciated a new, albeit terrible, smell. My senses had been deprived for too long not to appreciate the smell of rotten fish. Oh god, what had I become?
Clouds of humidity had descended over Concordia – we were now in a storm of our own – bringing near whiteout conditions with Caribbean temperatures, comparatively speaking, to we who live in minus 50 and below.
The temperature had risen by over 45 degrees Celsius overnight. It seems the only way to describe this is that we live in an ‘oven-freezer’, should such a kitchen appliance ever exist apart from in my imagination.
The warm temperature meant the air pressure had risen – sufficient to mean that with each breath, we inhaled more Oxygen, and boy did I feel it. It had become easier to breath and live.
Like any British man with any sniff of warm weather, out I went in socks, crocs and a t-shirt and shorts… thinking it was Brighton beach or the Costa del Sol. Only minus 28 degrees Celsius. And quite soon, in I came, cold near frost bitten.
I later put on a few more layers and took a long walk out in the freak warm temperatures – whoever sent this I thought has an awful, teasing sense of humour. Two days later the temperature was back down to minus 65 and I was overcome by relief…
Things were normal again – in a constant dreary eyed state of hypoxia induced forgetfulness – ah ‘imbalance’ I sighed heavily, struggling for Oxygen… Home Sweet Home.
Song of the Day:
Sun is Shining by Bob Marley (original version)
|-28.1 °C||Windchill||-42.7 °C|
|-31.3 °C||Pressure||655.8 hPa|
|7.9 m/s||Relative Humidity||74 %|
|15.3 knots||Wind Origin||329°