Halley Diary — October 2005

31 October, 2005

Perpetual Sunlight

Well the month started with a long storm with the pressure dropping off the charts (for those met geeks among us). This kept the Sledge Golf party (Kev ‘Birthday Boy’ O’Donnell, Vanessa ‘winch-finder’ O’Brien, Simon ‘kiting’s rubbish’ Coggins and Ian ‘Antarctic hero’ Coxan) out, tent-bound in the hinge zone. In the mean time, back at base, there was such a sudden dump of snowfall that Mike ‘where’s my tea-cosy?’ Rooney and Craig ‘so in love’ Nicholls got buried up to their eyebrows while walking back from the melt-tank. And some say it doesn’t snow here!!!

The excellent and well rehearsed Search & Rescue skills of Gareth ‘stop breaking my doos!’ Wale and Jamie ‘bobshot’ Koplick, earned themselves another jolly this month. This time to the Hinge zone to collect Sledge Golf. Fortunately the rescuers arrived just in time to save the Antarctic Explorers from dipping into their emergency rations, and to get Kev back to base to celebrate his sweet sixteen — yet again.

In honour of their safe return we threw a ‘Chav Night’ where everyone had a great night pretending they weren’t really chavs when they were at home. Much to our good doctor Petra’s dismay, no one claimed responsibility for her recent disposition.

In conjunction with Chav Night, us girlies had the difficult task of ranking the men based on their testosterone levels alone. The simplest way of doing this was to give them a month to grow some sort of facial hair, and then rank them accordingly. This gives us our ‘Pish Tash’ competition, and my warmest congratulations go to Bryn ‘kite dude’ Jones who should be proud of his youthful looks and his almost 2mm of blonde growth. Well done!!!

With the sun being back there’s been a flurry of outdoor activity. Gareth’s been bringing in the winterised vehicles one at a time and preparing them for the summer. The Simpson’s ‘beeping buckets’, handlines, and power lines have been raised. Miriam ‘knitmeister’ Iorwerth’s boxes on her SHARE array have been raised in preparation for a busy summer for her. Every month the stays, holding up the many masts we have at Halley, have to have the increased tension caused by snowfall released. The new Codis dome has created a rather large windtail behind it, and a few of the Comms stays have suffered accordingly. So Mike, Dan ‘sombrero’ Jones and I had a fun day out extending the length of a few of the effected mast stays. With the introduction of the internet facilities and new phone service Mike has become the most important (or bothered) person on base, so I’m giving him an extra mention (since he gets the blame, if for whatever reason, people’s precious internet isn’t working).

Flubbering has been made into a little more of an effort this month for our generator mech Matt ‘it’s shit here’ Butters. We’ve emptied the last of the bulk fuel containers of Avtur. We still have plenty of fuel, but all in drums and refuelling the flubbers (large water-bed type of containers) takes much longer using drums.

Indoor activities have run a riot this month (due to the poor weather outside). You can often find people watching films, playing pool or crazy golf. There’s always the playstation and the dancemat to be getting on with, along with many other fun-filled activities (I’m sure!). This month’s Craft Night (or more aptly named ‘what should we do now?’ night) produced a lovely nativity scene made out of cutlery.

Just for a change, we had a Saturday night get together on the Simpson (Meteorological) Platform. What can I say? It was a scream!!!

As for the meteorological work this month, it’s been Ozone Hole time so we’ve spent every minute of every dingle day taking readings (did I mention the weather was bad this month?).

For more information about the ozone hole have a look at: http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/jds/ozone.

We also have a lovely anemometer that (until recently) didn’t record any data, when it was windy — so here’s a photo of Craig going up the met mast to fix it — again!

After coming out of the winter — we’re all still in ‘embrace every moment’ mode, so have been trying to make the most of the ever increasing sunlight with all sorts of outdoor activities.

The oldies (Jeff ‘manhaul master’ Cohen, Mike and Craig) have been training for their arduous man-hauling trip by dragging heavy loads round and round the perimeter (how interesting for them!!)

Meanwhile skiduring (wake boarding on snow) has started up again. Bryn’s been leading the way on this one!

My personal favourite, kite-boarding, can now be done at all hours, so us avid followers of the sport have been going out every time the wind’s good (12-18knots). Kiting’s great!!!

Penguin trips have been popular this month, and since we’ve got two mini GA’s (Simon and Jamie) we’ve been able to have lovely day trips out there over weekends. Penguins are great too!!!

Two sledge trips (holidays) went during October. The first one has already been mentioned, and I was on the second. We went to the Rumples and had a lovely time — if I write any more people would just get jealous. I can only give hints by saying that, although my tent partner was the best tent buddy ever, she’s heavier than me, and drops into crevasses very quickly — lovely. I’d also like to take this opportunity to sing my praise to pee-funnels. I really wouldn’t want to live here without them.

In the mean time poor Steve ‘hop-a-long’ Clive was unable to participate since he was injured while fighting off one of the escaped polar bears. What an Antarctic Hero!!

At the very end of this month Jeff and his camera skills were able to capture the sun just skimming the horizon. Bye-bye darkness!

So, that’s all from me. Apologies for it being so late — but I’ve got a lot of work to be getting on with!

Lots of love to those at home (where-ever that is!?)

Frances ‘best day ever’ Williams

For anyone that has taken this seriously; 1. our doctor is NOT pregnant, 2. we do NOT celebrate Christmas in October (in June like everyone else) and 3. Polar Bears do not live in the Antarctic.