Halley Diary — September 2005

30 September, 2005 Halley

The Last Aurora!

Are you sure it’s September already? I’m sure it’s already been said but it is amazing how quickly time passes down here.

The beginning of the month was a particularly distressing time for me, as I was recovering from my frostbite incident. So the first week of the month I was on Nightwatch, taking it easy. A big thank you has to go to Petra, our Doctor, and her various assistants for taking care of my poorly hand. Although this was very painful, I did get to try out some pretty good painkillers, which was nice!

It was also nice during my week of nights to be able to see the sun rising early in the morning; I do think Halley is at its most breathtaking during the hours of first light.

September also saw our Search and Rescue team swing into action.

Ian, Bryn and Dan had all gone on their post winter trip to the Caboose at Creek 2, down at the seaside. Ian and Bryn, the intrepid explorers that they are decided to take a ride on Ski-Doos to The Macdonald Ice Rumples.

All went to plan until they wanted to return to Dan, his snoring and the Caboose, when they had mechanical problems with their Ski-Doo’s (which is no reflection on Gareth our top mechanic). Unfortunately the AA wouldn’t come out to get them.

So Jamie, Gareth and Steve all swung into action and went to rescue them, what heroes. It was good to see the rescuers and rescuees all back safe and well. It really helped to bring it home what an inhospitable and dangerous place we are living.

As the weather is now getting warm (−20 Celsius) the kiting crew could be seen more often, although the hardcore (Craig) could be seen out with his kite all winter. I suppose you could call him mad, but the word doesn’t do him justice.

We also had an evening of warming food outside, and running inside with it before it froze. In more temperate climates this would be called a barbecue, but down here it is just part of the craziness that is Halley. Towards the end of the month Myself, Miriam and Petra paid a visit to The Magnetometer Shaft, which is a true hobbit hole, I felt quite at home down there. This is a wooden shaft, thirty metres deep, which contains instruments, which measure the Earth’s magnetic field. I am sure there is more to it than that, but I am only a simple Generator Mechanic.

We also had our last visible Aurora of the winter this month, here it is.

On the work side of things September has been another uneventful month with all my little baby engines behaving themselves impeccably, this I hasten to add has nothing to do with my mechanical skills, just sheer luck! I had some ‘flubbering’ to do this month. ‘Flubbering’ is where myself and an unwilling assistant pump fuel from our bulk storage tanks into big rubber containers deep in the bowels of the ice shelf.

I think that sums up September. I just want to say what an amazing experience my time at Halley as been, and for that matter all my time working for BAS has been an honour and a pleasure. But my time here is now drawing to an end. I am now looking forward to getting home and seeing my friends, family, fiancé, and my recently born niece Eleanor.

I miss you all, but I bet the feeling isn’t mutual.

Matt Butters
Halley Generator Mechanic 2005