Tuesday, March 29th 2011, 10:38 AM EDT
The storm that ‘drifted’ over us on Sunday didn’t really show its full strength until later on in the week. Winds increased to about 20 knots, gusting 30 knots at times, with snow being blown across the ground it reminded me of being a kid walking across a beach on a stormy autumn day with sand blowing all around me. It doesn’t take long for the winds to transform the snow, and drifts quickly formed around all our tents. The visibility dropped to just 100 m or so and there was absolutely no contrast. This can prove very dangerous when walking around, not only because its cold and windy, but also you can’t see where the snow drifts are and they are very easy to fall into, or fall off. Just walking between tents would take twice as long as normal. The south-easterly winds bought with them warm conditions, so while we could see nothing we also spent the last few days in a much warmer environment. That probably sounds a bit silly, but when the temperature increases from -35 ºC to -15 ºC pretty much overnight you really notice it: Everything gets pretty damp and soggy inside the tents, the snow gets slushy and the drifts that form are soft and more easy to fall into. We have to constantly check out the sleeping tents to make sure they don’t get drifted up. Going to the toilet becomes even more a challenge than normal with the high winds. Sleeping in the tents was actually pretty good (we were pretty tired from our ‘trawlathon’). For me it’s like being on a sailing boat and someone has just forgotten to pull the sails in properly. It’s actually quite a comforting sound and every now and again a lull brings a renewed silence
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