Below are a few photos I have taken at different times this summer during the night.
After 56 days of continuous sun in the Arctic, the sun is starting to take a break. Last night the sun went down around 2 am, and rose again at 4 am (see below). Fortunately, we're still enjoying warm sun and long days, at least for a little while longer.
Below are a few photos I have taken at different times this summer during the night.
One effect of the extremely cold temperatures in the Arctic is that occasionally you find yourself driving on square tires. If you get in a vehicle, and the ride feels like you're bumping along in a Flintstones car, it's because the tires got so cold that they froze flat on one edge and stayed that way!
I should have written this post back when we had -40 temperatures, as it would have been more relevant then. Now we're hovering around freezing, so this effect doesn't happen, but I thought it was interesting enough to share anyway.
On the subject of weather and temperatures, we now get almost complete daylight. Sunset is technically at around 1 am, and sunrise is 5 am, but even in the middle of the "night" it's not completely dark.
We will experience our last sunset in a couple of weeks. Then it's 24-hour sun through the summer... what an adjustment that will take.
At least the temperatures are warming up slightly, although we are still experiencing snow!
As I'm still recovering from a weekend that involved far too much fun and too many late nights, I don't have the mental stamina for an in-depth, insightful post today. So instead I will show you pretty pictures of some recent sunsets...
I can add some interesting commentary, however, to make this post worthwhile! These sunsets have been appearing later and later. Last night's show was around midnight, but it didn't get dark until a couple of hours after that. Sunrise was at 5:50 am, but it started getting light well before then. So in effect, we are getting 18 hours of sunlight, and just a few hours of real darkness. Which makes it easy to stay up late without realizing it. Which explains why I'm both tired and strangely energized today!
Inuvik is still beautiful. The snow is melting, but there's enough of the white stuff around to keep it pretty, and not too muddy yet! I've heard that the town turns into a mud bowl for a couple of weeks as the permafrost melts, before it dries into dust. Not looking forward to that!
However, temperatures have been around freezing at the warmest point during the day, so it's enjoyable to be outside. And the blue sky is breathtaking. This is a picture outside my house a few days ago...
And now for the gratuitous pictures of pretty April sunsets! All taken from my upstairs windows at home.
And I discovered a neat result of taking pictures through the frost on the glass and focusing close up... the orange peel effect!
We were spoiled not long ago with really warm weather in Inuvik, hovering just below freezing for about a week. I didn't need any of my ultra-warm winter clothes and would sometimes go out without even a hat or scarf! But now winter is back with a vengeance, and we're back down to -30C to -40C temperatures (-22F to -40F). Brrrrrrrr.
On the positive side, we are getting 9 1/2 hours of daylight now, which is increasing by about an hour each week. The sun will set around 7 pm this week. It won't be long before I'll need to put up my blackout curtains :). It's almost light these days on my walk to work, and it's really nice to have bright evenings.
However, one effect of the frigid weather is that I am forced to wear my contact lenses every day, because...
...this is what happened on the one and only day I tried to wear my glasses to work. This picture was taken in the lobby of my building after walking to work with my scarf around my face -- my breath fogged up my glasses and I couldn't see a thing. It's a miracle I didn't get hit by a car, as I was virtually blind! If you're wondering why I didn't just wipe them off, it's because the condensation froze when I was outside and became a layer of ice that I couldn't clear!
It's going to be a short post today, as this has been a busy week with lots going on at work and outside work... Boredom is certainly not something I have experienced yet in Inuvik!
It has also been a warm week. I went jogging last night in balmy -7C weather and had a great time. I only did 3 km, as it's been many months since I ran, but the snow was crunchy underfoot, the stars were bright, and I didn't feel chilly at all. My big fear of being chased around town by dogs (of which there are many) didn't come true, although I did hear a few of them barking... luckily they were tied up.
Today and tomorrow it will get up to -5C. It's usually 20 to 30 degrees colder than that at this time of year!
We have had some beautiful moonrises and moonsets this week, as well as sunrises and sunsets. We're getting a good 7 hours of sunlight per day, although it's actually light for closer to 9 or 10 hours, as the sunrises and sunsets last for several hours. Here are a few pictures of the sunset on Wednesday - around 5:30 pm, but the pink light stayed in the sky until almost 7:30!
This is looking west towards the Yukon, over the Mackenzie River.
This is the view towards the sunrise out of our office window - I love the cloud pattern. The window is tinted, so that explains the greenish glow!
I didn't get any good photos of the moon, as I was too lazy to get out my tripod and set it up outside in the snow. So these are a couple of blurry ones!
What a great weekend. Lots of socializing, lots of sunshine (the sun stayed in the sky for over 5 hours each day!), and I continued the long, tortuous process of unpacking and getting my new house set up. Because it was bright and clear, it was the coldest it's been so far (-38C, and -50C with wind chill) but I didn't find it that much colder than when it was 15 to 20 degrees warmer. At a certain point, you don't seem to feel the difference. I quite comfortably went for a long walk and shoveled snow, with no ill effects.
The yellow ball in the sky
The sun rose around 11:30 am. It's hard to describe how wonderful it is to see bright sun after weeks of the blue half-light that has counted as daylight since I arrived... I almost didn't recognize that yellow ball in the sky.
This is the view out my front window overlooking the town, with the east channel of the Mackenzie River beyond - that thin white line is the ice highway. More information on that later!
I still love taking pictures of the ice crystals that form on my windows. This never gets old! The pattern I saw on Saturday looked like a tree.
I went for a walk on Saturday and took some pictures around town. This bench is on the campus of Aurora College. It looks like it's waiting for summer!
Finally the sun set at around 5 pm.
On Friday evening I had dinner with some friends who just moved to a new house, and we celebrated with delicious Chinese take-out (yes, we have decent take-out in Inuvik!) and some champagne.
Robbie Burns Supper
On Saturday evening I attended the Robbie Burns supper at the Legion in commemoration of Robert Burns, who was a famous Scottish poet, for those who have made it this far in life without hearing about him... including possibly my friends from other cultures. He wrote Auld Lang Syne, among many other songs and works of poetry.
The evening included amusing speeches, innuendos that were only mildly chauvinistic, a delicious meal, some haggis (which I count separately from the "delicious meal", no offence intended), and lots of laughs with friends.
There was an auction at the end of the evening and I got a bit carried away with my love for the Scottish homeland (no, I'm not Scottish, I'm English, but I still got swept away) and ended up bidding on a piece of land in the highlands of Glencoe. To make a long story short, I am now a Lady of Glencoe. I even have official stationery to prove it. The land is only 10 ft x 10 ft, but it's enough to put down a picnic blanket when I'm next in Scotland! A few of us walked away as Lairds and Ladies at the end of the night, and we're excited to be new neighbours on the conservation land in the Scottish highlands. I feel it's about time that I had official recognition of my aristocratic status. The website says "Many of our customers have updated their driving licence, credit cards and such like to reflect their new status." Ummm, no. That would just be embarrassing. But I will accept "m'lady" as a suitable greeting, and bowing would not be inappropriate.
Temperature: -17 celsius (low of -25)
Hours of sunlight: 1:53 hours
Hours of half-light in the sky: 6 hours
I ate Rudolph. Or one of his brothers or sisters.
Yesterday I had the chance to go to a meeting of regional community leaders. Along with the ubiquitous fruit tray, cookies, and cheese and crackers, there was a box of dried reindeer meat. So naturally, I tried some! It was..... ummmm...... interesting..... As you can see in the picture, it is usually eaten with salt and/or dipped in butter, to make it go down more easily.
It's hard to explain the taste, except that it tasted better with salt. It was chewy, and I had to swallow hard to get it down. It's not something I would eat every day, but I'm definitely glad I got to try it! I'm looking forward to trying more reindeer meat, but perhaps prepared in a different way...
We had almost 2 hours of sun today. We get almost continuous colour in the sky, as the sunrise merges right into sunset. Beautiful!