25 AUGUST 1995

Just because we want spring, winter has decide to lock us indoors again. The winds have been 70 to 100 knots (130 to 185 kilometres per hour). Today the wind dropped down to just 30 knots (55 kms.) so we are going to try and make a "bucket run" and collect some snow. The sun is shining and the sea is solid. Mawson didn't have anything like this.

We can see the Mackellar Islands just a couple of miles offshore to the east. We are tempted to walk out on the sea because it seems reasonably safe. The sea ice is about 60 cm thick and it looks solid all the way to the horizon. There would be no where for the ice to go even it decided to break up. In just six weeks the penguins are due, if the ice doesn't break up the penguins will be walking back to Commonwealth Bay!

Yesterday we had eight hours of sun and today the sunshine is brilliant. Temperatures have been around minus 26 degrees Celsius all week. We've been getting a good charge into the batteries from the Solarex solar panels. Over the past months we have had to run the generator every seven days. With the increasing sunshine we have just gone for twelve days without needing the generator. I would like it if this were our last session with the generator. It would be good to be back to full time solar energy consumption.

Margie wants to go home and she is missing everything from regular life. For the first time I felt a bit of homesickness myself. I want to sit on a beach, walk on carpet and use a flushing toilet. I would like to eat a good green salad. Time ticks by and we wait for September 1st.

From time to time Margie mentions going for a drive in the car and looking at green trees and grass. Sometimes she wants to drive to the Northern Beaches near where we used to live.

When she was interviewed on the telephone last week the reporter asked her so many questions about what we miss that after the interview Margie felt more homesick than ever.

" The "Aurora Australis" is about 200 miles from us. They are stationary studying one area of pack ice that is about 100 square miles. They are using helicopters and they are out walking on the ice to study it in detail. They boat is completely surrounded by ice and they are basically frozen in.

The way the Antarctic ice reacts and forms appears to be different from the way the Arctic ice behaves. This is one area that they are researching. Another area under investigation is the affects of the pack ice on the general weather.

It certainly seems colder here since the sea has frozen over. It's like a desert with drift snow blowing over it. In its own Antarctic way, it is spectacular. We have both concluded that we could probably walk all the way from here to the "Aurora Australis" on the ice but 200 miles would be risky. They told us they have 200 videos on board! We considered it but we really don't want to watch videos that badly.

We have finished our trials with Inmarsat in England. We were testing our COMSAT satellite telephone system. Inmarsat are considering adopting the Inmarsat M units for global distress and disaster alerting. We are the furthest south that any Inmarsat M terminal has ever been. The trials were very, very good. We had 100% success rate on every contact.

We have decided to put a satellite telephone on "Spirit of Sydney" for the pick-up trip. It is very expensive, the cost is about $30,000 Australian. The on board radio isn't very good and we will need good communications when we sail David Hempleman-Adams to the South Magnetic Pole.

David Hempleman-Adams is an Englishman who was the first person to walk unassisted to the North Pole. In October or November of this year he plans to walk to the South Pole!

In February he would like to sail to the South Magnetic Pole on "Spirit of Sydney." We are hoping to arrive in Hobart in late January so this plan may just work out. Once David has sailed to the South Magnetic Pole he wants to conquer the North Magnetic Pole. He will attempt the North Magnetic Pole in April 1996. He is certainly going to be busy.

The BBC is making a film of David's endeavours. We are happy to provide "Spirit of Sydney" for his adventure to the South Magnetic Pole. David did mention that he hasn't been sailing before and he's concerned about seasickness. I thought Margie might like to discuss the subject with him but that hasn't happened yet. We'll let you know.

In 1992 the South Magnetic Pole was located at approximately 65 South and 139 East. If you check your atlas you will see that it is just off shore near Commonwealth Bay.

In 1970 the South Magnetic Pole was located at approximately 66 South and 140 East.

It will be interesting to find it's exact location in 1996.

We did an interview on a bilingual radio program in Japan this week. The program, "Tokio Today" on J.Wave Radio has 3 to 4 million listeners! We gave the listeners a shock when we asked for a Japanese couple to spend next year in "Gadget Hut."

We're serious. We think another couple would like the opportunity of spending a year in this last pristine wilderness on earth. We might even find an American, New Zealand or British couple who would like to chill out for a while down here with the penguins. We think it could be interesting to have the journal continue from Antarctica until the year 2000.

We received a fax at our office from Purakanui School. They were one of the schools who celebrated the longest night of Mid-Winter with us.

Their fax had terrible news. Fire. There school was completely destroyed by fire. They are now going to school in the local hall.

Margie and I are both very sorry to hear about the school being burnt to the ground on 21 July. Fortunately no one was hurt because the fire happened in the early hours before the school day began.

Fire is a big concern for us down here. It is funny that we don't think about fire very much in our every day lives, yet terrible things like this do happen in every day life. We are thinking of you at Purakanui School and we are very glad to hear that no one was hurt.

The cold is affecting our video cameras and normal cameras. It is the condensation that is really bad. We have everything in plastic bags trying to keep the condensation at bay.

We had 33 hours of sunshine this week. It is totally incredible when we compare that with the entire month of June. In June we had 10 hours of sunshine for the entire month! Hurry Mr. Sun, hurry.

Keep warm,

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