Halley Diary — February 2005

28 February, 2005 Halley

Goodbye to the Shackleton by Craig Nicholls

It was a month in which we said goodbye to old friends, the ones who worked all summer getting the base ready for winter and our outgoing winterers who are being rehabilitated after 2 years here at Halley….Bark!!

In exchange for the old broken winterers going out we got some great new ones. Our fresh winterers have brought energy and light into the base and we couldn’t have asked for a better group to be sent, although Mr. Rooney is still waiting for Cindy Crawford to be delivered….I guess I’ll just have to dress up again this year!!!

Lovely New People:

Just a quick round of the new cast appearing at Halley this year:


We have Bryn Jones on AIS and Sodar buckets, Miriam Iorwerth on SHARE array.


Matt Butters and Jamie Koplick are the generator mech. and heating and ventilation engineer or more commonly known as the Hobbits.

Steve Clive and Dan Jones are the base electrician and carpenter/steel erector.

Petra Schmidt is our lovely new doctor.

….and last but never least Ian Coxan, our rugged but sensitive GA.


We have a new addition to our small but perfectly formed team on the Simpson, out goes Stuart Colley to be replaced by little Frances Williams who is in charge of as much as we can off-load onto her…and more commonly know as ‘Turbidity Girl’.

So yet another Valentine month passes with visits from our loveliest of neighbours the Argentines who popped around for their yearly cup of sugar. We exchanged greetings, t-shirts and colds, but as always they never need an excuse to pop round – just a helicopter – come back soon!!

February is the month for final mail that has been sent from Britain to arrive here by plane and by ship – so if you haven’t finished and posted that beautiful scarf by now it won’t get here until the end of the year. We’ll all just have to hug each other instead (although some of us have started already).

It is as always so good to get mail, even if it’s just a tax form!! And for the loved ones at home, it’s a chance to receive something that they can put on their mantle piece (although t-shirts and postcards are really all we stretch to as the nearest shop is in the Falklands).


We thank all of the summer staff for all of their work in preparing our base for the rigours of the winter. All of the buildings were raised in preparation for the accumulation of snow. Handovers abound in the last month as the wealth of knowledge was passed from the wise old winterer to the incoming new boy/girl …every time you passed a room it was “…and never touch this button…”, “No, two parts gin to one part Vermouth”.

New Intensive experiments have been planned for the Met / Simpson team this year. These include an extensive profiling campaign put forward by Phil Anderson. The program will use a large Helium blimp to profile the atmosphere, gaining knowledge of the mixing processes and heat exchange from the surface, data vital for predicting the processes that drive the circumpolar Antarctic circulation. This circulation is the key to the driving forces for the world’s climate and weather systems.

On the Simpson Science platform we have an elaborate system of monitoring equipment, which allows us at any time to observe all aspects of the dynamic atmosphere here in Antarctica; SODAR arrays give us a picture of the turbulent layers using sound. We can also track waves of energy that travel down from the plateau within these layers using our microbarograph arrays. Instruments mounted on masts 30 meters in the air measure turbidity, temperature and humidity at various levels.

New automatic weather stations were put in at the proposed sites of Halley 6 to check the day-to-day weather conditions against our weather here and to give an estimate of the snow accumulation at the new position. In any case it was a fun couple of days out for all involved.

Since the summer staff have up and left us the Drewery (summer accommodation) building is being shut down to hibernate. This triggered our annual ‘Melt Tank Party’ where we try and squeeze as many of us into a very small, and very warm melt tank. All who participated enjoyed, though it’s quite a shock to the system when you have to get out at the end.


This year, thanks to Shane ‘Burn’ Rodwell and Phil ‘Blimp Boy’ Anderson, kiting has become a major recreational activity there are nine kites in total on base. These kites do not consist of a piece of bamboo and a sheet but are highly engineered pieces of equipment costing in excess of �650 just for the kite. It is a great activity especially as the wind constantly blows down off of the Plateau.

Goodbye Shackleton

Relief was carried out at N9 as the previous few storms had broken away all the sea ice leaving just the cliffs – for those of you not in the know N9 is 60km away, so two 12 hour convoys were set up with chocolate bars at the ready and hands on hooters…someone unfortunately had to drive the bulldozer there, but as usual Gareth came to the rescue and won a free winter into the bargain….well done Gareth! (sorry Gareth’s Mum -but we love him too).

At the end of relief the ship sailed around to Creek 2 to say goodbye to us it was an amazing site watching the ship and all the people we love disappear over the horizon knowing that they had once again foolishly left the base in our capable hands. But with our new winter base commander (Simon ‘Data’ Coggins) at the tiller we know we’ll be in for a good trip.

Craigy Baby