[I N D E X]
By Elizabeth Hudd, Halley Meteorologist.
When I last wrote a page for the Halley Diary we were celebrating the sun falling below the horizon for the last
time before winter. Now, over three months later we have spotted the sun peeking above the horizon on the 10th of this
month. Sunrise and sunset became less and less merged together, and now we have a definite beginning, middle and end to
| Sunrise used to merge
straight into sunset. |
This has meant a dramatic increase in the amount of daylight there is, and many of the outdoor jobs can now be completed
without the aid of a torch. The severe weather we have encountered this month has meant that we have only actually seen
the sun for a couple of days in total. We have had sustained wind speeds of over 60 knots, with gusts reaching over
83knots, only a few knots short of the strongest gust ever recorded at Halley, and certainly the worst for several
Just about all you can see in the worst winds. || |
| Drifting snow in the lighter winds. |
Luckily there was a brief interlude in the weather, and the weekend after the first sunrays were seen we were able to
celebrate it's return with a BBQ which Tom and Mark got going.
| Tom and Mark enjoying
the BBQ. |
Cathy, being the youngest person on base and keeping up with BAS tradition, was the one to raise the flag back to it's
position. After only a few days of being battered by the elements it was already looking rather worn.
| Cathy getting ready
| Sorting out the ropes
| Nearly there |
| And there we have it |
The biggest event this month (if not in our entire stay here) is the chance to witness the emperor colony at first hand,
complete with very cute, very small chicks. Dan, Gaz, Karl and Paul went out on the first trip the day the sun returned.
We've all managed to get a view of these amazingly curious, and disturbingly human-like animals. I went on a trip with
Dave, Andy, Richard, and Karl. We travelled down to the coast in a Snocat, and stayed in a caboose. This is relative
luxury compared to camping, and the stove makes for a very cosy atmosphere.
| Richard, Andy and Dave in the back of the
snocat on the way to the coast. || |
| Richard and
Dave inside the caboose || |
| Andy cooking up
some dinner. |
Richard Casson celebrated his birthday whilst on his trip with Karl, Alan, Rich Turner and Paul. His was the only
birthday on base this month, and it's the fifth he's celebrated on Antarctic soil...er...ice. We always have to be aware
of the environment we are in. The penguins cope incredibly well with the cold by huddling together in large groups. We
don't normally do this, and rely on lots of clothes instead.
Emperor penguins under the ice cliffs || |
| Proud parents looking at their chick || |
| Dave getting a good shot || |
| Me and my new friends |
As always base work has to continue, and although the weather can delay a task, nothing can be put off for ever. The
short spells of good weather have been filled with catching up on various tasks around the base. Most of the activities
have involved keeping our generators topped up with fuel. Empty sledges, and the sledges that hold the fuel
drums have to be pulled forward regularly to keep them clear of the accumulating snow. Myself, Cathy, Neil, Andy, and
Dave all helped out with this task, which involves a lot of bulldozer driving - always a lot of fun!
| Dave digging out a
sledge || |
| Dave still
digging out a sledge || |
some help at last from a bulldozer. |
When the large flubbers housed in the tunnels need refueling these sledges will be pulled to the top of the refueling
shaft ready to be pumped down. The fuel from the flubbers can then be pumped up the the tank on the main platform when
needed. This time a bulk fuel tank was used as well as the usual 45 gallon drums, which meant that Andy, Richard
Borthwick and Paul could do most of the work with some help from Dave and Neil.
| The bulk fuel tank waiting to
fill up the flubbers down in the tunnels. ||
The wind tails that built up behind the sledge in only a couple of days. |
Keeping the generators going is essential as we create all our own heating, lighting and power from them, and in
only a few hours, the base would have to be abandoned should they fail. The constant attention given to them by our
generator mechanic, Andy, makes sure they are running smoothly, and there is always a spare ready to run, should
anything go wrong.
To help us carry out the numerous outside tasks we usually rely on Gaz working his magic by getting a bulldozer
running in very cold temperatures. One day when he came to get one ready, the bad weather had taken it's toll on them.
Even the tiniest of gaps around the door seal can allow the high-speed snow to enter the cab. Although this meant extra
work to dig them out, it also made for some good photos.
| The bulldozers getting buried behind the Garage. || |
| The snow has found a way inside. |
Interesting Sastrugi (contours in the surface of the snow) have been revealed to us by the return of daylight, and the
"ghosts" of our footprints in the snow can also been seen on the well used routes between buildings. As you step on the
snow, it compresses and gets slightly harder then the snow around it. Then the wind inevitably comes back again, and
scours away the softer snow, leaving raised up footprints.
| The ghosts of our footprints
raised up in the snow. || |
| The contours of the
ground are now revealed to us with the return of daylight. |
The lack of distraction from outside means that we have had to look to ourselves for entertainment. This is not usually
a problem, there are plenty of films to watch, always a space at the bar, or a rather competitive game of Monopoly. Tom
won this time, but I'm sure he was cheating somewhere along the way!
If I had to use one word to sum up life at Halley this month it would be windy, but I hope that you can see from this
diary, and the others that have been written, that there is really no way of condensing a description of the world we
live in here and still do it any justice.
Love to everyone at home