As you may know, I went to see the eclipse last week – to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle (78 deg N 15 deg E). Svalbard is a group of islands, including Spitsbergen, that is now independent but used to be part of Norway (and still uses the kroner). It was cold. The warmest day was -14 C and the coldest -21C (although it got down to -24 during the eclipse itself). -21 C is -6 F.
So what did I learn?
- Just because it looks like a nice sunny day, it doesn’t mean it’s warmer than the day before.
- On no account go out of the door without doing up your jacket(s) and putting your hat and gloves on. Your fingers can freeze before they complete the other manoeuvres.
- Every time you go outside, prepare for it as if it was for the rest of the day. You never know how fast things will change.
- If you think you might need something, take it with you.
- Even if you are just crossing the road to go for your breakfast, no 3 still applies.
- Always take your camera. And always tuck it somewhere inside your jacket. You never know when a reindeer is going to be nosing round the trash cans offering you a photo opportunity.
- Do not place any part of your skin on any metal object.
- If your fingers won’t work, don’t try to turn your camera off with your nose, tongue, or any other part of you. Just because it’s plastic doesn’t mean it won’t freeze you.
- Gel hand warmers solidify if not kept in inside pockets until you need them. Darn lot of use they were. They don’t unsolidify once you get them in a warm room, either. In fact they are still solid after three days back in the UK.
- Whatever they say about brandy, it doesn’t freeze even sat on the ice at -21C for three hours. That’s more than you can say for just about anything else – including our resident scientist’s camera.
Watch out for more words of wisdom for my E post during the A to Z challenge, but meanwhile here are some non-eclipse photos 🙂
photos copyright J M Pett