The conditions changed rapidly again. With the wind gone and the sun out, it was a perfect opportunity to ski. A group of us quickly assembled, and I had my first experience of being towed up a ski slope with a ski-doo. It was a little scary at first, but no worse than the type of ski lift that pulls you up, and a lot faster.
Up on the slope, the view was spectacular. I can’t get enough of it. I want to photograph every shifting aspect of the light. It was hard to see the different patches of ice and powder snow, as it was blown into striations, but the ski conditions where just perfect, and to think I can step outside every day and do this.
After a while I tired of skiing and went back inside. The library is exceptionally well stocked, and I browsed the books for a while. Thousands of paperback fiction, as well as Antarctic books, snow dog veterinary skills and even theoretical physics of quite an advanced level. However, the best part was the view from the library, and after a while I had to go back out. I trudged around the point, and listened to the different sounds my boots made in the snow. The squeaky and crunch of fresh new powder, the crack of the icy bits, and the barely audible plop of the softer deeper drifts. The only other sound in this incredible stillness is the cry of a Snow Petrel, a neat little bird that has been disturbed from her rest by me and seems to be shrilly complaining. It wheels high above my head before heading off to sea. There seem to be more birds around now, perhaps the sea ice is clearing and they feel it is time to come south.
Off in the distance mountains catch the sun and glisten. In the long evening light, shadows catch the blown snow, where gentle ripples show themselves like sand on a beach. In the foreground, the ever present glaciers catch the yellowing sun. I am beginning to know each one like friends. There is the tall proud pointy one, showing his height off against his friends. ARound the corner a big fat blob of ice sits like a dollop of ice-cream. In between an intricately carved arch shows how complex icebergs can be. Other little ones that are pock-marked with age, and the big majestic table top dominates the view to the South. The icebergs stretch of into the distance. I look out to where the sea is, knowing it goes on until it becomes the Pacific ocean, a distance too vast to contemplate.
The sun is low on the horizon now and long shadows are forming. I look back across the ski slope, which sits next to a crumbling ice clift, now lit in deep contrasting sunlight. I comment to a colleague that I just could not get enough of these views.
I notice the ice is clearing far off-shore. The boat is due on Sunday, and perhaps it will be clear. This means post both in-bound and out-bound, as well as many more people and supplies. I expect the calm I am experiencing now will become a frenetic flurry of activity.