A couple days ago my buddy Mike pointed out a lighter spot on the horizon, saying it was the first hint of dawn. I didn't believe him, thinking it was perhaps a faint aurora. However, last night, during my roof check, I looked out towards the horizon in the north, and could clearly see a lighter part on the horizon. It was light enough to clearly define the clouds in the sky, which are normally visible only when the moon is up. Amazing. Right now it is the faintest glimmer, but it seems quite obvious to all of us after so many months of darkness. I'm hoping to get some pictures tonight. I hadn't realized that I would be as excited at the return of the sun--I don't particularly enjoy its blinding light, or the skin cancer risk. I'm excited to watch the gradual lightening of the horizon, however. I wish I had a porch where I could sit with a cup of coffee and enjoy the sunrise (although I can't sit for the next 6 weeks straight!).
I had my first massive equipment failure late last week, resulting in a couple days of scrambling to find some spare parts and getting it all running again. Things are fine now, with an indefinite loan of parts from comms. I can now proceed on a repair of the malfunctioning item at my leisure, without impeding data collection. I think perhaps I have been especially lucky this year, seeing very little interruption in data collection from any failures.
The temps finally climbed over 90 on Thursday and they were able to bring snow out to the tats (normally the operating cutoff is 80, but as the tanks had been dry for days, they made an exception). Its nice to be able to shower and use the toilets out there again. It was my weekend to clean the women's side of Chades, and I noticed that I am scheduled to do it only once more before station opens. There is something surreal about the season end appearing on the horizon. We still have a little over two months remaining, but the end is in sight. I know I have mixed feelings about it. Sometimes I tire of being around the same 50 people every day, or of other small hurdles each day, but I also love this place. Last night I dreamed a C-130 had landed on some defunct skiway, and we were upset--it wasn't time for station opening yet. Go away!
Little things people have squirreled away are appearing--new decks of cards, special pots of honey or other food treats. Its not much, but we all enjoy a little something new after so many months without any resupply.
copyright 2001 Andrea Grant
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