A Frozen Ocean
A Frozen Ocean
Posted by Martin Hartley

Monday, 19 Jan 2009 00:00

Back in the tent for the first time in ages, I am once again reminded why lack of total recall is a blessing...snow, ice, frozen water, it is the reason we are all here. It is one of the most beautiful things Mother Nature has given us. Snow and ice covers the biggest mountains on earth all year round, with the most beautiful of white cloaks. At Christmas time we all dream of a white Christmas, it is beautiful stuff, snow, everybody loves it, whatever it lands on it makes it more beautiful, even a rubbish tip looks beautiful when covered with snow. Even individual flakes are exquisite all of them unique and all of them utterly beautiful.


Up here in the Arctic the sea freezes (imagine that, a frozen Ocean...hard to believe until you have seen one), it freezes and becomes a completely new landscape, like a quarry covered with snow, huge piles of square sided boulders of ice with sharp edges some as big as a house brick and others as big as the houses they end up being. The landscape up here in the Arctic is unique, it is nothing like a Himalayan Mountain range and nothing like Antarctica. The most fascinating thing is that it moves around breaks open and reforms into different shapes. It is an awesome spectacle to see a frozen ocean, almost as captivating as the Northern lights dancing above.


But...snow and ice inside a tent, on a sleeping bag, on a jacket, on a tent floor is very bad news. I absolutely despise snow and ice inside a tent. It is the ugliest of decorations. It transforms the tent from a safe haven to a very cold wet cellar. Water vapour from the melting snow on the stove turns back into ice as it settles on the inside of the tent and then it begins to snow inside the tent. No matter what the snow lands on it seems to melt and makes everything wet, gloves, hats, trousers, sleeping bags. Once things get wet out here it is so hard to make them dry again. Inside a tent snow is evil stuff, and a wet tent, a wet cold tent, is the most uncomfortable of places on the planet. It’s not a war zone, but it is as uncomfortable as any place I have been, and right now I cannot think of a single rational reason to be where I am....I’m glad I’ve got a bad memory!



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