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Halley Diary — December 2005

New Faces

At the beginning of the month with the arrival of the aeroplanes new people come to Halley.

VPFBC Touchdown
VPFBC Touchdown

Basler DC3

The first arrivals to break the Winter isolation were the Russian/Canadians who came in November in the Basler DC3 aircraft:

Basler DC3
Basler DC3
Basler Tail Fin - ALCI-Antarctic Logistics Centre International
Basler Tail Fin - ALCI-Antarctic Logistics Centre International
The Canadians refuelling the Basler
The Canadians refuelling the Basler
Russian Visitors
Russian Visitors

New Arrivals

The first BAS aeroplane VPBB finally arrived in the evening just after fog rolled in. Bringing Ant, Dave, Pat, Fiona, Phil and Ben. Margaritas all round in bar to celebrate. This is the first time the BAS plane arrived before the Germans (but not the Russians/Canadians).

New Arrivals
New Arrivals
VPFBB Landed. Can you spot the aeroplane?
VPFBB Landed. Can you spot the aeroplane?
Ant checking the oil. The oil change on the Twin Otters is a little more stringent than your average car and the oil needs to be checked within 10 minutes of landing.
Ant checking the oil. The oil change on the Twin Otters is a little more stringent than your average car and the oil needs to be checked within 10 minutes of landing.
First Otter - New arrivals being whisked off to the Laws
First Otter - New arrivals being whisked off to the Laws

VPFBB Returns From Neumayer

The next day Ant takes the twin otter and collects DJ and Martin Bell from Neumayer who came in via Novo/South Africa.

VPFBB Returns From Neumayer with Martin and DJ
VPFBB Returns From Neumayer with Martin and DJ
Martin taking snow samples at varying depths and measuring the density so the load bearing ability of the snow can be estimated.
Martin taking snow samples at varying depths and measuring the density so the load bearing ability of the snow can be estimated.

The South African Connection

The Ilyushin 76TD cargo/passenger aircraft flies between Cape Town South Africa and Novo (Novolazarevskaya) and is operated by the Antarctic Logistics Centre International (ALCI). A feeder flight between Novo and Neumayer uses the Antonov AN2 or the Basler aircraft. Both planes are of a similar vintage circa 60 years old. The final leg is usually by a BAS twin Otter to Halley.

The Ilyushin 76TD cargo/passenger aircraft
The Ilyushin 76TD cargo/passenger aircraft
The reason for coming to Halley via Cape Town - Cape Town Beach for those lucky enough to have to wait for the connecting Ilyushin flight to Novo
The reason for coming to Halley via Cape Town - Cape Town Beach for those lucky enough to have to wait for the connecting Ilyushin flight to Novo
A Russian caboose at Novo
A Russian caboose at Novo
Antonov AN2
Antonov AN2

DJ on the Piggott

DJ is the Piggott science coordinator for the first half of the Summer season.

DJ left Simon right
DJ left Simon right

VPFBC Touchdown

This was quickly followed by the second twin otter VPFBC flown by Ian Potten with Simon Herniman the new Halley GA.

VPFBC Touchdown
VPFBC Touchdown
Simon And Dave
Simon And Dave
Ian checking the engine oil
Ian checking the engine oil
Ian Flying
Ian Flying

German Touchdown

And the Germans arrive. This year they only had one aircraft Polar 2. Last year Polar 4 was damaged in a bad landing at Rothera and is unlikely to fly again.

Polar 2 landing
Polar 2 landing
Dornier and Crew who stayed long enough for Christmas dinner and had their first introduction to party poppers
Dornier and Crew who stayed long enough for Christmas dinner and had their first introduction to party poppers
German Flag
German Flag
Germans putting the plane away for the night
Germans putting the plane away for the night

Leaving Halley

The arrival of the BAS aeroplanes start the first departures of the winterers

Doc school with Petra
Doc school with Petra

Gareth and Jamie were the first two Winterers to leave Halley. They left on the first Twin Otter flight out of Halley

Muscles Jamie
Muscles Jamie
Surf Dude Wale
Surf Dude Wale

Ian moved on to the Shackleton at the beginning of relief both Ian and Petra left with the ship after relief

Petra doesn't live here anymore
Petra doesn't live here anymore
Ian Coxan - Ian left Halley and joined the Shackleton at the beginning of relief
Ian Coxan - Ian left Halley and joined the Shackleton at the beginning of relief

Relief
The Shackleton arriving at N9
The Shackleton arriving at N9

Cargo is unloaded from the Shackleton on to the sea ice and towed on to the ice shelf up groomed ramps on sledges pulled by snow cats. This year in the beginning of December the sea ice blew out of the local creeks. After skidoo trips to the local creeks and aerial surveys of the creeks It was determined that the only workable creek was N9, which is 50Km away from Halley.

Windy Creek
Windy Creek
Creeks 2 and 3 - Two weeks earlier the Creeks 2 and 3 were covered in sea ice and the open water in this aerial photograph was frozen
Creeks 2 and 3 - Two weeks earlier the Creeks 2 and 3 were covered in sea ice and the open water in this aerial photograph was frozen
Backs Against The Wall - last few Emperor penguins below the ice cliffs at Windy creek
Backs Against The Wall - last few Emperor penguins below the ice cliffs at Windy creek
Penguins on Berg - small group of Emperor penguins left on berg after sea ice blew out at Windy Creek
Penguins on Berg - small group of Emperor penguins left on berg after sea ice blew out at Windy Creek

Here the Shackleton is moored alongside the sea ice and there is a wide natural ramp up to the top of the ice shelf

The N9 Relief Site
The N9 Relief Site

Simon the new winter GA spent most of his relief persuading people not to have their photo taken standing next to this leopard seal

N9 Leopard seal sleeping
N9 Leopard seal sleeping

Vehicles moving to and from N9

Vehicles moving to and from N9 - Four Snow Cats on Route to N9
Vehicles moving to and from N9 - Four Snow Cats on Route to N9

K19 towing container with Rumples in the background. The two bergs can be seen in the aerial photograph.

K19 and Rumples - K19 towing container with Rumples in the background. The two bergs can be seen in the aerial photograph
K19 and Rumples - K19 towing container with Rumples in the background. The two bergs can be seen in the aerial photograph
Rumples from the air
Rumples from the air
Bulk Fuel Transit Tank arriving at Halley
Bulk Fuel Transit Tank arriving at Halley

Cargo Line - Crane unloading sledges at Halley cargo line
Cargo Line - Crane unloading sledges at Halley cargo line
Anto servicing a snow cat
Anto servicing a snow cat


Twin Otter providing cargo support to and from N9 back to Halley; Making 6 to 8 runs a day. Which is equal to 2 sledge runs it completed 24 round trips all with cargo and transporting winterers to the ship for dental checks some people escaped with no work required. The number of hours it has saved on the ground driving son-cats back and forth is estimated at around 144 hours. This meant that relief was completed before the New Year and the works and science programs could start according to plan. Here is Ian the Halley Pilot for 2005/2006 season delivering an important Cargo
Ian the Halley Pilot for 2005/2006 season delivering an important Cargo
Ian the Halley Pilot for 2005/2006 season delivering an important Cargo


Field Operations

December is the month of change at Halley with preparation for the new arrivals and relief. The drewry move went so smoothly and quickly this year you would hardly noticed it had happened. With the arrival of the Twin Otters field operations begin This involves collecting data from LPMs and LPRs and the decommissioning the old AGO sites.

Halley air supported field operations start here at the Halley Ski way The exceptionally straight line of the ski way drum line is due to Gareth and Dan and this early in the season the flat groomed surface is provided by Dave, Ben or Martin

Groomed Ski Way
Groomed Ski Way
The twin otter refuelling at the Therons
The twin otter refuelling at the Therons
Roger and Alex camping by the AGO ready for dismantling
Roger and Alex camping by the AGO ready for dismantling
Otter with Halo at A84
Otter with Halo at A84

Demolished - Roger and Alex had the job of cleaning up old BAS field sites This involved raising buried fuel drums Decommissioning AGOs. If you like hard work, camping, the cold and visiting exotic places in the Antarctic this is the job for you.

The result of Roger and Alex work.
The result of Roger and Alex work.
Freshly raised LPM At A81
Freshly raised LPM At A81

On the return from A84 it was not possible to land at Halley due to poor visibility so the plane landed 18Kms away near the Windy caboose and stayed the night

Otter Near Windy Creek
Otter Near Windy Creek

The Winterers Group Photo

The clocks going forward 3 hours gave use extra time for a "Kill Bill" cinema big screen double bill and a final attempt at taking a winterers photo success at last

Winterers Group Photo
Winterers Group Photo

Dartcom

A 40 knot blow we had early in the month not only blew the Dartcom dome away (not for the first time) but also blew away the sea ice at the creeks making the emperor penguins homeless and fixing the relief site at N9

Dartcom blown away - Craig on top of the Simpson platform roof demonstrating the Dartcom dome being blown away
Dartcom blown away - Craig on top of the Simpson platform roof demonstrating the Dartcom dome being blown away

The Dartcom receives satellite images in the visible light, Infrared and one that shows water vapour and low cloud. These can be combined into a composite colour image. The images can be overlaid with place names, latitude and longitude lines and outline of the Antarctic plateau

Halley 051215 0924 Channel 1
Halley 051215 0924 Channel 1
Halley 051215_0924 Channel 3
Halley 051215_0924 Channel 3

The Dartcom images enable the cloud cover and contrast to be estimated at the remote sites visited by the aircraft this saves journeys to sites which it is not possible to land due to poor contrast or visibility This in turn saves aircraft/pilot flying hours and fuel

Halley 051215 0924 Multi Channel
Halley 051215 0924 Multi Channel

End Of An Era - Goodbye To Alpine One’s At Halley

The last of the general base use alpine one skidoos slipped out of Halley almost unnoticed during relief. Due to difficulty obtaining spares the decision has been made to retire them but they will be remembered particularly for their ease of starting in the winter and small size.

Alpine 1 Steve and Fog Bow
Alpine 1 Steve and Fog Bow
Skidoos outside garage - Some of the different skidoos used at Halley note the non corporate livery of the Elan
Skidoos outside garage - Some of the different skidoos used at Halley note the non corporate livery of the Elan
Ermintrude - The Alpine One, the Skidoo of choice for use during those dark Winter months
Ermintrude - The Alpine One, the Skidoo of choice for use during those dark Winter months
Loaded on sledge and ready to go
Loaded on sledge and ready to go

Jeff Cohen