Last week in the studio 60-knot winds (149 kph) swayed the building as I worked on the small Travailogue paintings. The wind screamed, the hut groaned, squeaked and shuddered. I felt like I was in a moving train carriage on my way to some where ever but was actually only rocking a centimetre or two in all directions. Katabatic winds down here can be three times this velocity so the old Antarctic hands said it was simply "a bit blowy". The past weeks have been brilliant weather wise and basically all good. Field trips out to Brookes hut, Bandits hut and some zodiac boating trips out to Prydz Bay to perv at bergs have all been visually stunning experiences. The summer season now begins to 'wind' down as the Polar Bird ship has arrived and will soon whisk away one third of the people on station. Twilight has also arrived after weeks of daylight so a full-blown nighttime must be less than a month away now.
On the 31st January I exhibited some of my work in the ANARE satellite dome building. Almost the entire base population of eighty folks turned up dressed in dinner suits, overalls or Antarctic foul weather gear. A number of scientists and support crew who recently returned from a major ten week German/Australian expedition to the Prince Charles Mountain region also made it to the opening.
The exhibition title was SITREP referring to the situation reports that are simple codes used by field parties to inform the base via radio as to what is going on. My exhibition did just that, displayed to all on base what I have been up to over the summer in the heli-pad studio.
The next few weeks remaining for me on the Base will be spent finishing work, sorting ideas and perhaps another field trip to the icecap.
Much has been experienced down here in this pretty and brutal place and many fantastic people I have got to know so the changeover from summer to winter means strong farewells and fluffy thoughts for some about returning to "home in the real world." My real world is looking like indecipherable longitude and latitude coordinates scrawled on a box of travel sickness pills, stuffed into a dirty bag with thermal underwear and a pair of thongs. I am still rather shy of any form of geographical stability so I shall navigate along this anti-domestic route until the next update.