Hello everyone, gosh it is getting cold here, even for a penguin. It is -24 C most days now, which has meant that the sea has frozen over so much we can walk and drive on it. All the icebergs in the sea have been caught in the ice and it looks very bizarre and beautiful.
Winter means Antarctica gets much bigger. Well, the land doesn’t, but the sea ice reaches out for many miles. This is part of the reason why we are so isolated here, ships cannot sail up to us anymore. Here is how different it looks over the months:
Our boats have been put away for the winter but the scientists still need to dive to get samples of all the life under water. Now the ice is thick enough they can walk on it so they use a chainsaw to make holes in the ice to dive through. Sometimes a seal looking for an air hole then pops its head through the dive hole! Brrr, it looks freezing.
Bryony is very pleased she doesn’t have to jump in. She did have one go, when we all did our sea ice training to make sure we knew how to walk on the sea ice safely. Here I am at the ice hole which Bryony jumped in to, but she had a full dry suit on so didn’t get too cold.
The sea ice has also meant we could drive in a skidoo over to one of the island huts and spend the night there. It is nice to get off the station for a little holiday. This is the hut, it was built just so people could enjoy some time on the island, or stay there if they couldn’t boat or skidoo back. We cooked dinner and made a fire outside. Here we are in the bunk beds.
Can you see Sid and me in this photo?
The biggest party of the year happened two weeks ago: midwinters day. We all got dressed up and ate much too much food. It is a bit like Christmas, but in Antarctica it is even bigger than Christmas. We also have presents, but without shops we have to make them ourselves. Everyone makes and receives one present. Here are all the presents we made, there were some amazing things, you can see a small table, a deck chair, some picture and a gramophone iPod player made out of copper. Everyone was very happy with what they got and we all had a great day. Now it is going to start to get a bit lighter again, we may even see the sun next week.