1Oth November, 1995

Hi everybody. It's only 6 weeks until Christmas! It's still getting warmer here so I hope you are all staying COOL!

The sun is still gloaming and at midnight it is perfectly light outside. Over the past week, the full moon has been really spectacular as it moves low across the horizon to the north for only a few hours, glowing a rich yellow against the dark blue sky with traces of purple and violet above a wind-blown sea.

Last night the Katabatic wind rose to 74 knots and backed off again in the morning to gentle breezes during the day. The power and energy pouring out from the sun is easy to understand down here when we experience and feel the effect it has had on the Antarctic weather.

Our little black and white friends, the Adelie penguins, seem quite happy arranging and rearranging their nests. Some of the nests have been built on snow and ice causing problems for their occupants. The sun warms the rocks and they melt into the ice as they sink lower and lower. The Adelies then pick the rocks out of their sinking nests, move them a few inches either side of the nest, and wait for them to sink again. This doesn't appear to be a good idea and may affect the new hatchlings. We will watch them and let you know what happens!

The skuas are feeding on the dead penguins which did not survive their moulting period back in March and April. They have been "in the freezer" all winter and I am sure the skuas will be watching the unprotected eggs.

There are still no Wedel seals and no sign of the Leopard seal that we saw cruising the ice edge so the penguins are all smiles at present. We thought the Wedel seals would have returned by now and we hope they turn up soon. We still have to collect a lot of seal jobbies for the Australian Antarctic Division biologists back in Australia, who plan to check them to determine what the seals have been eating.

It is so warm outside that we have been eating lunch out in the sunshine. It is still -7 to -10 degrees Celsius but it seems like a summer picnic to us. This week I baked pizza and a fruit loaf which we ate in the sun. Don found a big hair in the fruit loaf. We laughed! Hair and blue fluff from our thermals turm up everywhere except in our Shelf Stable meals. I say the hair belongs to Don and he says it is mine. He still hasn't let me cut his hair which makes us both laugh at times.

The snow is rapidly melting away and exposing rocks around Gadget Hut as the area transforms into a summer landscape.

Some of our books have been placed in empty food drums, now that they are dry. Great sheets of ice crashed down from the roof in our cold porch. We both laughed as great slabs of ice fell down, just missing Don's head as he opened the door to go outside. He asked me to pass him the hard-hat as we proclaimed the area a "danger zone".

The good news for the week is, it looks like the toilet paper supply will last. We found a few old rolls in Grantholme Hut which were in solid blocks of ice and were put there in 1976. Slowly, I thawed them over the heater to remove the water. We nearly had a fire at one stage as one got a little hot.

We also checked one of the seventeen boxes of emergency food we brought for our second year. Surprise, surprise, each box has four toilet rolls and a box of tissues. We could survive a second year if we had to, but I donÕt want to talk about that.

Now for the "what's happened to Margie this week" segment. I had an impromptu shower fully clothed. Ice in our roof vent melts and collects in a screw cap at the bottom of the vent. Every now and then we empty the water. As I stood underneath the vent unscrewing the cap, I slipped. It was overflowing with about 1.5 litres of water which poured down all over me. Don burst out laughing as I struggled to catch my breath while being drowned by freezing water. I was not amused! Don struggled to catch his breath from laughing so much. Many hours later I was only half dry.

Expedition Ice-Bound has now teamed up with two groups in America to form an International Schools Program called "Blue Ice". It will be covering Arctic and Antarctic activities via the Internet with tele-conferencing and fascinating projects starting in 1 996. in next week's bulletin, we will start to provide details of "Blue Ice". Don and I are really excited about this new relationship as "Blue Ice" promises to be the biggest program of its type, anywhere in the world. Expedition Ice-Bound will be distributing all the "Blue Ice" activities to schools throughout Australasia, right up to Japan and including New Zealand. So stay tuned!

The total sun for the week was 117 hours. The highest temperature was -3.6 degrees Celsius. The lowest temperature was -17 degrees Celsius.

See you next week and stay COOL.

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