13th October 1995

Hello everybody! I hope you have all been having a warm week because we haven't! Well I suppose it is Antarctica, but the temperature has hardly risen above -20 degrees Celsius for weeks. The sun is powering down on us but it has been colder than Mawson experienced for October and my feet are really icy.

The sea has been slowly freezing towards Us all week even though the Katabatics have boen blowing quite hard at times. During the day, the winds are dropping back to the 20 to 30 knot range and we now have a "see-through" wind! No drift! It's fantastic. Early in the week we had heavy drift with a few leaks through the hut wall, but now it's clear and conditions are changing.

Don is really desperate to walk out to the MacKellar's but the sea-ice is a bit thin just along the shore. We also have vivid memories of how all the sea-ice disappeared a few months ago, literally overnight. I don't feel like swimming back from the MacKellar's which are a group of islands about one and a half miles offshore.

It is exciting outside walking in the sun after weeks of being stuck in a box and knowing that the weather is changing for the better. All we need now are the penguins. I am really disappointed that they are late probably because of the sea- lce, though Don doesn't really mind. It will be fun when they do arrive but for now, I am just happy with the sun.

Solar radiation is providlng 20 times more electricity than we can use and causes some spectacular effects with the cold clear temperatures. Fantastically intricate ice crystals form on the windows during the night which melt during the day. The hut has quite a few ice stalactites drooping from its base The bad news is that inside we have a huge build-up of ice which will turn to water when the temperature does go up. Don hates the melt-downs and he hopes the next one will be the last.

Week 40 is about to begin causing Don some concern. He is starting the major task of writing our book. I will be writing a few chapters too! He is also planning our summer Antarctic activities and checklng progress on "Spirit of Sydney's" preparation to pick us up. He is worried about fitting everything in to the last 12 weeks. I am just looking forward to one very important job... Packing up to go home.

I am happy to report that I haven't fallen over for weeks nor burnt my jacket, In fact nothing untoward has happened (touch wood), even though the ice is getting slippery again and it's Friday the 13th. I hope you all survived okay. With the cold temperatures, the surface ice melts, instantly evaporating into the dry air. Rocks are emerging everywhere. A huge piece of the ice edge where we empty our bucket, broke off this week and is now frozen to the sea-ice below

We have opened our final three food drums for October, November and December to take stock of our supplies. Don immediately attacked his favourite biscuits (chocolate mint slice) and I hid the shortbreads! We are nearly out of Milo and Don is now watering down his lime cordial to about 1/20th of the amount he usually uses. His breath after lunch yesterday was a bit rugged. He had a tin kippers, some pickled onions, 2 gherkins, a few slices of Metwurst and a bit of 9-month-old cheese! I stuck with the biscuits and a cup of chicken noodle soup. Two teddy bears were born this week bringing the total births at Cape Venison so far this year to 51. They were a 20cm white bear called "Snowbear" and a 15cm white bear called "Fluff".

The funniest part of the week was a competition to see who had the most hair in their food or drink, I won it is unbelievable how it gets into everything. If it is not hair it is blue fluff from our thermals.

The best meal of the week was our last Roast Lamb on Sunday the 8th. It cost us dearly though as we both suffered a major carbon monoxide poisoning. The worst so far! My head started to ache a little while dinner was cooking and I thought it may have been caused through dehydration. During dinner. Don began to experience a headache then realised the oven burner had been burning yellow which is an indication of carbon monoxide. He didn't realise this fact earlier. There was little wind we had the heater on and the top burner of the stove was on cooking frozen vegetables. The vent was iced over leaving only a small 50mm hole. We were sitting in a cabin full of carbon monoxide. Our heads started pounding, our eyes were puffing up and pains were appearing in the back of our necks. It was about 8 pm. and -25 degrees Celsius outside so we immediately opened the hut for a short time after turning everything off, Very quickly the cabin temperature dropped to below zero. My headache was so bad I was in tears as I climbed unto my bunk. Any exertion caused my heart to beat faster. I thought my head was going to explode. It was really terrible. l lay in my bunk unable to move, the pain was so bad. Don sat in the cold as it was too dangerous for us both to get into bed at first. He was in a lot of pain and upset that he didnÕt comprehend the lack of oxygen in the hut while three burners were being used. This caused inefficient combustion which produced the carbon monoxide. We both know the consequences but it got past us again During the night our headaches persisted. I took two tablets to help but Don resisted because he wanted to watch the symptoms which continued well into the next morning. Now we have a big sign above the stove "YELLOW = CARBON MONOXIDE".

We've had 76 hours of sun this week, It's great to be alive!

Keep warm and we'll see you soon

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