My current tour in Eureka operating the PEARL facilities started during Polar Night. Shortly after New Years Day I arrived at Eureka, excited to be back at work. I enjoy the Arctic at all times of the year, so the fact that I was returning in the dead of winter didn’t bother me.
Living and working in Polar Night, or Dark Season, has both advantages and challenges. The main advantage is that you really don’t need to worry about losing your sunglasses! The challenges we face are primarily the cold and darkness. The cold brings the potential for operational difficulties; be it with instruments, infrastructure, vehicles, and even to the operators themselves. Everything is at the mercy of the cold. Breakages occur, extra planning is required for working outdoors in extremely low temperatures, cumbersome clothing is required when working outdoors. However, it is for the love of the job that we venture out and face the elements. The darkness is more of a mental challenge. During Polar Night, every hour of the day looks the same, and it can be difficult to differentiate between the time of day; 06:00 looks exactly like 15:00. This perpetual night can often lead to a feeling of being overtired during the waking/working hours.
My current tour is a little over half completed, and as the days keep going, the dawn light is ever increasing, and always a beautiful sight. As the sun returns to Eureka and the surrounding area, familiar geographical sights are visible again: Cape Hare, Blacktop Mountain, Slidre Fiord, and Axel Heiberg Island to the West. With each day, the beauty of the Arctic unfolds a little bit more, and reminds me of the reasons why I love my job with CANDAC.
As we return to the Land of the Midnight Sun, the annual Sunrise Campaign is scheduled to arrive in a few days, bringing with it scientists and researchers excited to discover what activity the atmosphere has for them to observe this year. I am honoured to be here this year to provide operational support for them, and I look forward to their arrival with every glimpse of midday light.
17 February 2015