Friday, March 17, 2006


So now that there are just 16 of us here for the winter it's time to really get to know each other. And what better way to do that than to try and get everyone into a 5ft by 5ft tank of water. I'm not sure we got everyone in at once bet there were about 13 of us at one point all enjoying the Melt Tank Party. The Drewry building is only used in the summer, and as part of the shutdown process all the snow in the melt tank is, well, melted. It's quite a strange feeling being in a nice warm bath while your hair freezes from the -10 degree air. Luckily we had lights and music and the odd bottle of wine to fend of the cold, so a fun evening was had by all.

Come on in the water's lovely

The Drewry has now been all but emptied, as it has no heating over winter so anything left inside will freeze. Among the other jobs we've been doing in preparation for winter are various bits of outdoor work. First on the list was removal of the skiway. Unlike Rothera we don't have the luxury of a solid runway here so every year a length of snow is groomed and marked out to enable aircraft to land. This is marked out with empty oil drums, which are removed using a sort of wild west lasso method. A snocat with trailer is driven along the line of drums, with one person on the trailer with a strop which is dropped over the barrel as we pass, pulling the barrel out of the snow as we drive off. So I spent an hour or so driving 10 yards at a time while the team on the trailer unearthed and loaded the drums. My other driving duties recently have involved a crane and a bulldozer, as we've been sorting out waste wood and metal, and stacking sledges for winter storage. I had a brief moment of panic last month as I tried to track down some printer paper. Having checked the Comms container and found no paper at all I was envisaging a winter spent tippexing old sheets of A4 and cutting all our A3 in half, until John suggested I look in the Stationery cupboard. He's not Winter Base Commander for nothing you know.

Bob the Builder

The first of the winter trips have been away recently. This is our first official holiday and a chance to do the rufty tufty polar hero camping bit. Simon takes away groups of 3 people to the imaginatively named 2nd Chasm, where they indulge in walking, abseiling, rope work and falling into crevasses. I'm due to head out next week so quite excited, although looking at the weather forecast I may be in for a rufty tufty week spent reading books in a tent.

On the social side it's been quite a busy couple of weeks. We celebrated Fran's birthday with a children's party, much balloon blowing and party games and some very, erm, imaginative costumes. Simon our erudite GA hosted a quiz night, and most recently we celebrated Nicola's birthday, which coincided with St Patricks night so a good excuse to get out the penny whistles and the fiddle and have some diddly dee music. I've also finally had a go at kiting, well almost. Kiting has become a very popular sport down here in recent years, whereby you get a very large kite and let it pull you along on skis or a snowboard. Halley is an ideal location as it's pretty windy, but very flat and there's plenty of open space. I've got as far as flying a kite but haven't yet tried the next stage. As I've never skiied or boarded before it could be quite entertaining when I do.

Halley Base - Average age 7 3/4


Anonymous Candide's Notebooks said...

You've been Bloggerbacked! Your jacuzzi and March 17 link was picked to be part of the daily Best in Blogs segment at Candide's Notebooks ( March 28). I hope you'll keep writing. Fascinating world, not written enough

2:13 pm  

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