2 JUNE 1995
The days are so short now that the very few times we can see the sun it's a continuous sunrise, sunset scenario. The days are only a few hours long. In fact today we've only had one hour without the lights on inside. We put the lights on in the morning when we get up. We turn them off for a short while and turn them back on around 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Wednesday was the first time we got out in about 10 days. The wind dropped off and we had 2 hours of sunlight and about 8 hours of low wind. The sea is frozen over out the front. Some of it is broken and a mysterious swell appeared for about 20 minutes. We don't know where the swell came from but it made the ice bang and crackle against the other ice floes. It was really quite weird. We walked over to Boat Harbour which is once again fully frozen. A huge fog offshore to the west was rolling out over the sea ice.

The temperature in the morning has been between minus 14 and minus 11 Celsius inside "Gadget Hut." When we are in bed our breath freezes onto everything. Our books are in plastic bags to keep them in good condition but now there is ice inside the plastic bags! The water drums that we use are frozen up. The water inside is a solid lump of ice so we melt ice for water just as we need it. There is no use in trying to create a store because everything freezes up so quickly. The heater is battling to keep up with the low temperatures. We have it on all the time that we are out of bed. The best the heater can do is to get the area near the ceiling of the hut up to about 20. The temperature at eye height is about 12 degrees and at the table where we sit it is about 7 degrees. On the floor it rarely gets above minus 4 degrees. I guess this explains our cold feet. Margie sits with her feet underneath her now and I keep stamping mine on the floor to keep the blood circulating.

We've been eating really well with lots of Shelf Stable Foods and pasta. We had two roasts this week which were fantastic. We had roast pork and roast beef. Cooking a roast in "Gadget Hut" makes it seem homey. I think we are both putting on weight which we need to help us combat the cold. The wind-chill now is really severe. It is virtually always around minus 60 degrees Celsius. We have to rug up and wear our neoprene face masks every time we go outside. We have used the blow- torch on the windows again. There was a 25mm build up of ice on the windows again so we got out the blow-torch and cleared them off. There isn't anything else we can do to stop the window freezing over. The light will soon be gone anyway so it won't be a problem after another week or so.

Trying to film in the blizzards for the documentary we are going to make is very difficult. Snow gets into everything. My hands freeze and even my eyelids have had ice on them. When the wind dies down my eyelashes tend to stick together and my moustache ices up. I missed a good photo opportunity when I was filming. I didn't know that Margie was blown over by the wind. She fell over a one-foot ledge down onto some rocks and bruised her leg. Fortunately it was nothing serious but it happened right next to the hut. She was only about three metres away. She was collecting ice for water and when she got blown over she dropped the bucket. It started to blow away so she had to chase after it in the drift snow. It would have make a good scene if I had captured it on video.

We had to warm our batteries for four hours before they would take a charge from the generator. We had to work for a while to get the generator to start too. First we used the flame torch on the sump and the cylinder head of the generator. Then we poured hot oil down the rocker cover. Even then we had trouble and had to pull the starter cord many times before the generator would start. The temperature is quite low. It has been between minus 27 and minus 22 for the last week. The blizzards get stronger and more consistent as we head toward the dark days of winter. This week the winds were well over 100 knots which is almost 200 kilometres per hour. The wind is still playing the game of dying down to about 40 knots then suddenly gusting to 100 knots. The COMSAT satellite telephone system has been fantastic. The quality is so good that Margie has now taken up singing over the satphone. On the Australian east coast a radio presenter, Stan Zemanek has a show in the evenings on 2UE (954 on AM dial) in New South Wales and 4BC (1116 on AM dial) in Queensland. Margie sang to Stan on his birthday on Monday night and it may have been the "first live concert via satphone!"

The sun was only out for one hour this week. The entire month of May only had 40.5 hours of sunshine. The wind is so strong it is polishing the sastrugi snow. It shines and glistens with really funny shapes. What is sastrugi snow? I'll tell you. Sasgtrugi is a common form of erosion that makes the surface of the snow look like frozen surf. The wind blows drift snow around. The snow crystals become rounded by the wind and eventually freeze to the windpacked snow. The wind continues to erode the snow and makes strange shapes like choppy seas on the ocean and dunes on the beach. A footprint may stay because the snow is compressed and snow around it will be blown away. Early explorers used these frozen footprints to retrace their steps. The lichens which are normally black are turning green under the snow. It is quite strange and maybe it's because there is no sunlight.

The Mid-Winter's party that we are planning is a tradition in Antarctica. If you go to your library and find books about Antarctic exploration you will read about some of the parties that wintering over people have held. They usually involve costumes, songs and special food.
We will also be celebrating with a phone call to Australian schools since the AAP Group is launching our 'electronic field trips to Antarctica' project. In September 2600 American schools are going to join Expedition Ice-Bound on computer networks. Some of you may have friends or relatives in Australia, New Zealand, Japan or the United States. It really make you think we do live in a "global village" when this same journal can reach students on three continents. We want to celebrate by finding out how many classes are following Expedition Ice-Bound.
We would like to receive a card or letter from your class so would you write to us this week at P.O. Box 778, Mona Vale, NSW 2103, Australia. Margie and I are going to share our party with you on 21 June. I'll tell you all the delicious things we are going to eat. Margie is going to be in charge of the entertainment. When you send us a card you could include a suggestion for our party. Please put your e-mail address, the size of your class and your teacher's name on the postcard or letter that you send. The 21st of June marks the point where the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere. It gives the northern hemisphere their longest day and we get the shortest day. That doesn't quite work in Antarctica because it will be dark then. We will have no daylight but we will be celebrating the fact that the sun is now on its journey back to Antarctica.

Keep warm,
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