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Saturday, August 14, 2010

The end of time

Here we (still) are in a sort of ghostly hibernation - the camp metabolism down to a minimal heartbeat, the tents unlit and shadowy wraiths in slo-mo animation inside. I can see 7 laptops some with attendant hooded and earphoned face glowing and flickering with reflected light of a movie or computer game. The little generator toiling away outside, one stove going in the big mess tent just keeping it habitable. Earlier, the rain was clattering against the sides of the tent, blown by the gusty 25 knot wind bringing polar cold from the north. A short gap a few hours ago when it looked as if the aircraft might fly and I packed my bags for the third time - wrong! The wind has died to a much more gentle blast but the cloudbase has not lifted.

So here we sit. The C130 should be in Resolute by now and is due to leave again tomorrow. Doesn't look as if we will be on it unless it can wait for us and that means a whole lot of gear that is still here will need to be sent south by commercial flights when it can be moved out. Us too.

The camp gets its water from a stream a few hundred metres away. In normal operations, there's a water pump to get it up here. Not any more - all the pumping gear is packed away and we do a water run when heeded with jugs and big urns. Noodles and freeze dried food - back in Berrimilla mode for me but the food ain't so good here. One way I can certainly contribute is to make some suggestions as to what to bring next time. The only thing that gets cooked is water - big kettles on the tiny Coleman stove - and the hot water is kept in 2 big thermos containers and of course, is never hot enough for a good cup of tea! Two teabags and a long jiggly soak is the go, for a brownish stain in the water in my slowly collapsing paper cup that will I keep recycling until it dies.

Pascal is writing his reports, John and his people are at the moment out in the cold fetching more fuel drums and finishing all the close-down jobs that can be done without squeezing the heartbeat out of the place while we are still living here. The others are sleeping or here with their laptops.

It is beginning to get darker at night - it is now 2315 and quite gloomy inside the tent - I can only just see to type. The 300ft cloudbase doesn't help.

Outside, bleak, wet, misty magnificence. I will post more photos when I have a proper link again. The mess tent in what I hope will be its last few hours of animation before it slowly becomes a crystal cave in the dark of winter.

Perhaps tomorrow...