Tuesday, 7 February 2012


I discovered a couple of days ago that the sea here is frozen over. The Black Sea - frozen. Not all of it, of course, but up to a considerable distance from the shoreline, half a mile, maybe more. Almost unheard of here, apparently, and something I've personally never seen before. Today was another clear, bright day, I had no teaching, so I decided to go and see ... frozen sea!

On the way there, a walk through Shevchenko Park in the lovely winter light:

With signs perhaps of the rapid departure of some of the people who would normally sleep rough there (most of the people who've died in Ukraine in this cold spell have been homeless):

And then, finally, to a frozen Black Sea:

In this particular spot, there was still some water not frozen solid:

 But elsewhere it was like this:

In one place, sheltered behind a wall, there was a small patch of completely unfrozen water

 which made a strange contrast with its surroundings:

In another place, a stream continued to run along a conduit

and kept the sea unfrozen where it ran into it

even though it itself was surrounded by ice

Oh, I forgot to mention that this was the coldest place I've ever been in my life! Not only was it cold enough anyway to freeze the sea, but there was also a strong wind blowing - it was like someone was trying to wrap every bit of my exposed skin in rough ice. After I'd been by the sea for the best part of an hour, I was very cold. I had, with difficulty, managed to operate the exposure and shutter controls on my camera with gloves on, but not to change lenses, so the gloves had had to come off (for the briefest time possible), twice, and my fingers were *burning*. And then, finally, the camera battery gave out. I don't mean it just ran out of charge, like batteries do, I mean it stopped working, because of the cold. It was time for me to stop too. A brisk 15-minute walk to the nearest cafe, a bowl of hot soup and some coffee, and I recovered. The battery hasn't.


  1. Wow! Thanks for risking frostbite to share these images.
    Batteries don't like the cold at UK temperatures, let alone this sort of environment. The normal advice is to keep the camera inside coat when not using. And to have two batteries: one in the camera, one in your pocket keeping warm.
    The cold front has arrived, but not as extreme. Remarkably, Shrewsbury didn't get any snow...yet. There were sleety bits this afternoon. 20 miles away there has been worse. Nastiest bit has been the mythical frozen rain.. which disappointingly doesn't come down frozen, but just freezes as it hits the road surface. Lots of ice rinks have been springing up in unfortunate places.

  2. Love the frozen ocean. Reminds me of ice fishing and ice sailing on the Saint Lawrence. The main attraction of ice fishing is the drinking and hovering over little stoves. Not that I have done it. But I do recall school being closed when the temperatures reached - 36 farenheit. People not from Canada didn't used to get that we could die if the front door accidentally locked when you went to get the mail at the end of the driveway. And I remember digging for hours one time when the milkman dropped a bottle of milk..... Note that I now live in Southern California!!!

  3. So, reading between the lines and trying to decode what you're saying: is it at all cold? Try to eat more pig fat and wear furs. If you can post a photo of this, my friend and I will award you a special prize and send a got water bottle.

  4. Ah, salo! The national dish. Salted. Pork. Fat. Not very nice (yes, I have tried it). A photo of salo would be a bit dull, but here's something much more interesting - slonina, pork fat aged in paprika!

  5. Lovely. You win tonight's star prize. It's in the post.