Halley Diary — October 2004

31 October, 2004

October Web Page By Allan “Tommo” Thomas

Hello there, and welcome to October’s web diary. My name is Allan Thomas, I’m Station Electrician, and I shall be your guide this month.

Well, the weather here at Halley has perked up considerably this month, we are now well into 24 hour long daylight, and blue skies abound. This has meant that the weather is good enough to run our base vehicles, so plenty of work as been going on outdoors.

We have raised loads of empty fuel dumps that were buried during the winter, and used a lot of these renewing our drum lines to the coast. This gives us a ‘road’ to follow to and from the caboose at windy if the weather worsens and the drum-lines are also our main highways for relief later on in the year.

We have also moved all of our containers out of their icy winter shackles, and raised the drums surrounding the base — our perimeter, which has seen an increase in skiers and runners circling it on good evenings.

There has been plenty of activity with power-kites too this year, more and more base members seem to use the big flat white of Halley to enjoy this sport, either on skis or snowboards.

The scientific uses of kites are well known at Halley and there have been a few serious flights this month too, with kites carrying monitoring devices up into the atmosphere, as well as carrying Stephan to the caslab!

We have also had more than our fair share of sun phenomenon this month, with plenty of sundogs, halos and sun pillars, caused by ice particles in the atmosphere, they are certainly a distraction when you have to dig the melt tank each morning, and are very beautiful to see.

With the onset of the sunshine though, it’s time for us to start wearing our sunscreen, it gets very bright here during the day, and goggles or sunglasses are a must.

Although it is very bright and sunny, we still have to wrap up, as even little gaps in clothing can cause a bit of ‘frost-nip’ and a red patch of skin, luckily we all use our common sense with the right clothing and keep frost-nip at bay. Click here for a larger image.

The post-winter trips are coming to an end, and with them finishing next month we shall get to see Ed a bit more, he’s never here!

Ed has been taking us all out on our trips since the beginning of September, and with only one more trip to go, I think he is looking forward to doing his cleaning duties and melt tank along with the rest of us. (Honest)

Most of his time back on base has been spent maintaining our camping equipment, the wooden Nansen sledges we use don’t like being bumped into skidoos or dropped into wind-scoops, and Ed has had a couple of repair jobs this month to keep our gear in tip-top shape.

One job that we are undertaking with great expectations is the laying out of our runway, here at Halley we groom and lay out a 2km long runway, for incoming planes, and this was done on the last weekend in October, we may be needing it soon, but I shall leave that for next months diary.

On the social side of things this month, we had a repeat of our popular ‘murder mystery’ night once again organised by Rhian and Vanessa, this time the theme was Italian Mafioso murder, and an exciting plot sped us through a sumptuous Italian meal provided by Kev. At the end of the evening, and after much fluffing of lines the murderers turned out to be — Gareth and Jeff! (And they seemed such quiet boys).

As well as murders, we have had two birthdays this month, Kevin’s and mine, I surprised Kevin with an attempt at a birthday cake, and he overwhelmed me with his (and Steph’s) creation. There’s also a picture of one of my presents which was made by Russ Locke.

At the end of the month we had a Halloween weekend, with a fancy dress on the Saturday, and a big scary movie on the Sunday, with 4 base members away it seemed very quiet, but we all managed to enjoy ourselves.

Well I am trying to sum up my time at Halley, as it is nearly at an end.

2 years have just flown by, and soon I shall be heading onto pastures newer and greener.

This is probably the whitest, coldest place I have ever been fortunate to see.

But, it is also the most breathtaking place I have been, and I have loved every second of it.

All my love to my family and friends, see you all in march (Get the beers in).

Allan x