Halley Diary — July 2013

31 July, 2013

With the build- up and celebration of mid-winter over, July started with the winter teams six-monthly dental checks. Having had our teeth checked and treated before leaving for the Antarctic in 2012, it is important to keep oral hygiene at a high standard due to our location and not having a dentist on base. Our station Doctor, James has had extra training in dentistry and carried out the checks over a three day period. Pictured is the Halley VI base commander, Agnieszka having her teeth checked in the surgery.

With the entire teams teeth in good order, it was time to prepare for the BC’s race night. Ags downloaded a number of dog races for us to bet on. With each of us 1000 Halley pounds richer, it was time to make or break the bookie. We were able to purchase our dog for each race and name it, which proved very popular with some, whilst others thought their money was real and preferred to save it and put it all on fixed deposit at the Cas-bank. A great evening with food, fun and laughter.

Due to the weather and restrictions on movement around the base, i thought it appropriate to spend some time with the tech services team to highlight the importance of their jobs in maintaining the things we take for granted back home i.e. Power and water/sewage works.


On base we have 4 Engines, type is Cummins 6CTA.

The engines provide all the stations power supply and are essential to life support. They also provide power to the bases Workshops, Waste Sledge, Drewry and Garage.

The usual management of the engines is to have 2 running providing power with a 3rd at standby and the 4th as a 2nd standby in the case that work or a service is required on an engine.

The engines are required to be serviced every 250 running hours, with different types of services carried out.

250- Oil change and Oil filter change, check coolant level, fan belt check, clean down of enclosure & update AMOS

500- Oil change and Oil filter change, Fuel filter, check coolant level, fan belt check, water pump check, belt tensioner check, clean down of enclosure & update AMOS

1000- Oil change and Oil filter change, Fuel filter, test coolant/change, drive belts remove and check, throttle linkage, water pump check, belt tensioner check, front pully check, battery connections, inlet systems, valve clearance / adjust as necessary, wiring loom, exhaust clean, inspection of exhaust damper, clean down of enclosure & update AMOS

The 1000 Hour services the Zelec assists the Geny Mech with these.

Services are important to be carried out as engine life span can be increased. It can also pre-warn or potentially make aware any major problems that can then be rectified. Help reduce engine wear and improve fuel economy.

With x2 Generators on load and boilers requiring fuel the station will use roughly 1000L per day. During the winter a Bulk Fuel Tank holding 22,000L is required to be pulled over to the station for re-fuelling. This is done every 3-4 weeks weather depending.

Sewage Treatment

In the picture Jimmy the Plumber is mixing the bugs in water to bring them to life. The bugs are actually bacteria that are used in the sewage treatment process to help digest the raw material that comes into the sewage treatment plant

The general health of the water in the sewage treatment plant is checked on a weekly basis to ensure that the bugs are alive and doing their job correctly. Brown, earth smelling water means that the system is fine, but black rotten smelling water means that they have died and the system needs attention.

The plumber makes the bug/water mixture up every month and flushes this down the toilet, enabling it to enter the sewage treatment plant and treat the raw sewage as it comes in into the plant.

This plant is emptied at least once a week during the winter and every day during the summer. This is done by pumping a percentage of the tank into a settlement unit where it splits between the water and the sewage, the water is then pumped back into the sewage treatment plant and the sewage is disposed of. This job is not as horrible as many people may think and is usually just a case of opening and closing various valves in the correct order and flicking various switches

Mid July was time for enjoying some music whilst lying on a mattress or sitting in a tent. With some of the best bands in the world on big screen, Ian our GA organised the Halley/Glastonbury festival by turning the tv room into a camp site. The evening was a great success and was enjoyed by one and all.

With sunrise expected on or around the 11th of August, we have had few sightings of auroras due to poor visibility. However, Holger, our met- man was able to capture this sighting one evening.

Andrew Goldie
Winter Chef 2013