Halley Diary — February 2003

28 February, 2003 Halley

February has been a whirlwind month with the arrival and departure of the ship RRS Ernest Shackleton on it’s second and final call to the station, the realigning of the legs on the Laws platform, the jacking of the building and science trips to 80 degrees South. We also had visitors from our neighbour Station Neumayer, and a number of other projects, which we will cover later. But of course Mother Nature tried to slow us down at every turn but we got there in the end.

The ship arrived at one of the creeks to try to get the final part of relief done before it headed off to do some science work further down the coast. It wasn’t able to do all of the relief before leaving as the wind got up to 60 knots here. This put a stop to any movements on the station for a few days and so the ship went of to finish its science project and we were left to finish preparing the station for the coming winter.

The Laws building had new legs fitted, realigned and was jacked about 3 meters high. The following is from the summer personnel (all good lads and lassies) here is what they had to say.

This month there was maintenance to be done at a remote unmanned science station over 80 degrees south, beyond the Shackleton Mountains. I was lucky enough to get a flight out there myself.

It’s not all work as there were a few nights entertainment organized by the “Small Finger production team” Which were Nathan/ Mandy/and Kathy – Oh I better mention Chuffer as well because that would be “Nice!” (A little bit of in house fun there folks – sorry) The Halley Pool Championship took place with two rank outsiders winning the prized trophy. With the favourites being knocked out early on in the Championships the two outsiders excelled in their prowess as pool-playing Champions. For the finals it was the largest attendance ever seen as they came from far and wide, (well a few hundred metres anyway)

The Casino night had every one spending money like there was no tomorrow. Thanks to the “Small Finger Production Team” the money was only washers coloured red /green/white to represent the chips and a photo copier was used for the paper money but all had fun even though some were trying to cheat the house out of it’s hard earned cash, you know who you are – Ed – Oh sorry.

The reason we are all able to work at such an amazing place as Halley is because of the all science that goes on here. To give everyone who wouldn’t normally be involved in the science a taste of what experiments are carried out here, summer visitor Andy Smith organized a “Science Evening”. Several people gave small talks, each describing the equipment they use and what part of the atmosphere they are interested in. After a short interval for refreshments, the evening was concluded with a very entertaining mini-play performed by the meteorological team, describing the important role the Antarctic plays in the world’s climate.

The first Sunset at Halley since last October was this month.

This is my 3rd winter working at Halley the last time I was here was 1990/1992 when the platforms were completely built and ready for full operations. I have been asked what changes there are on the Station and that is a tough one as the Station it self has not changed hardly at all but the people have and that’s what makes the Station great. All I have to do now is thank the people who contributed to this month’s diary (you know who you are) and wish all on board the Ship a good journey home and have a great summer.

This is a very defining moment to watch to Ship sail away into the distance and know it will not be back until next December. On board are friends who have just finished their winters here or maybe the summer months – either way we wish them well. The picture shows the winterers for this month except for two; Mark and Rob who stayed on the Station while we say our good byes

Next month Russ Locke will delight you with his literary skills, hello to all who know me.

And with the departure of RRS Ernest Shackleton this month – a thought from Roald Amundsen on the great man himself:

“Sir Ernest Shackleton’s name will for evermore be engraved with the letters of fire in the history of Antarctic exploration”