Halley Diary – May 2014

18 May, 2014 Halley

May was another busy month at Halley with the loss of the sun and the temperature dropping even further making our everyday tasks down here that little bit more challenging. Everyone has been busy with their mid-winter gift making. I’m currently working my way through servicing our ski-doo fleet in preparation for the next round of winter trips and field work next summer.

Sun down

We saw the sun set for the last time on the 1st of May, and marked the occasion with the flag down ceremony and a BBQ. As the month progressed the days got darker and darker, to the point where there is now no sunlight what so ever, this makes working outside very tricky.

One of the perks to losing the sun means we have had some amazing night skies and even better auroras. Each of us has a letter ‘A’ stuck to our pit room doors, which symbolises if we want the guy on night watch to wake us up for an aurora, at the moment I think everyone still has there ‘A’s on their doors but I’m sure a few will come down as the auroras become much more frequent.

Sledge funeral

May also saw the dismantling of N71 also known as Myrtle one of our Nansen sledges, who was first assembled in 1986. She did many miles around the Brunt ice shelf in her time, on winter trips and various science expeditions. The Nansen’s being wooden sledges have a shelf life and although the field assistance look after them well keeping them repaired and going they do weaken over time, she has not gone to waste though. She was broken down into spares for the other Nansen, and any other surplus wood was handed out to the guys who wish to incorporate her into their mid- winter gifts and may be used for our wintering team picture frame.

Winter presents

It’s a long standing tradition to make mid-winter presents for one another from the surplus bits and bobs on station, this is due to the fact we don’t really celebrate Christmas down here due to it being our busiest time of year! So May has been a busy month in the way of winter present building, with mid-winter fast approaching people are spending most of their out of work hours working away toiling on their creations.

Judging by the amount of hours people are putting in, the standard is going to be very high this year. We are all looking forward to seeing what everyone’s come up with!

John Mann

Vehicle mechanic