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Halley Diary — July 2006

Laws pictured Mid July
Laws pictured Mid July

July traditionally a month of lulls, was full of anticipation and preparations for the return of the sun to brighten up our days.

It got off to a swinging start with the formation of the as yet unnamed Halley band which was spawned from the mid winter cabaret night.

Band members
Band members

Medical school continued in earnest, covering various topics from pain relief to plaster casting, but the most memorable being suturing.

We each got to stitch various types of pseudo wounds using pigskin, under Vicki�s watchful eye.

Julius Suturing
Julius Suturing

Dave continued with Spanish lessons on Tuesday nights and Samba drumming on Thursday. I think we have about seven Samba pieces mastered at this stage and can ask directions to the restaurant, order food when we get there & then complain about the price charged en Espanol.

Samba drumming
Samba drumming

In the kitchen Nicola cooked the final batch of fresh(!) potatoes and Alex officially consumed the very last one.

We are on to the tinned variety until the ship arrives in December, which are not all that bad.

Alex eating last potato
Alex eating last potato

The vehicle work has been as busy as ever with seemingly never ending ski-doo servicing not to mention the bigger machines and the race to move the cargo sledges before the relentless accumulation of snow submerges them.

Although the science team have shown we accumulated a metre of snow so far this winter, a new record, July had officially no recorded accumulation. This was not the case in my department where obstacles like the sledges were quickly inundated with snow and had to be freed back onto the surface more often that usual.

Cargo Sledge moving
Cargo Sledge moving

Bob stitching ski-doo screen
Bob stitching ski-doo screen

I drafted in some help with a major Sno-cat service in readiness for the Emperor penguin colony trips due to start next month.

Julius, Dave, Frances & Andy got their hands dirty changing oils and adjusting track tensions.

Sno-cat driving into garage
Sno-cat driving into garage

Andy greasing
Andy greasing

Frances on grinder
Frances on grinder

July was the turn of Mark to celebrate a birthday. Vicki concocted another appropriately themed cake, this time in the shape of a guitar complete with strings.

Then on the Saturday Mark invited us all to an exclusive nightclub in his workshop, which was decked out complete with lights, sound system, multimedia wall displays, and even a microphone for those karaoke moments!

Mark with cake at bar
Mark with cake at bar

Kirsty & Jules at Disco
Kirsty & Jules at Disco

Our cluttered social diary also boasted a fancy dress night and this time the theme was superheroes. As usual much thought, originality & recycling went into the costumes and you can see the results below.

Superhero group shot
Superhero group shot

Nicola and Brian
Nicola and Brian

Kirsty and Vicki trialled a new hair styling technique. This involved dipping their hair in a bucket of tepid water at �25 ish and allowing the mop to freeze while dangling the hair up side down. Well see the outcome for yourself.

Kirsty & Vicki hair
Kirsty & Vicki hair

The beginning of July brought night watch for me, a break from my normal duties & an opportunity to enhance my cooking skills.

As well as the mandatory bread baking, I had a go at a fruitcake & some blueberry & Guinness muffins, the latter of which weren�t a great success but the blueberry ones went down a treat.

Anto cooking
Anto cooking

Chris in Kitchen
Chris in Kitchen

Simon our field general assistant seized the opportunity of a vacated garage to service the older Nansen sledges and construct a couple of new ones.

So after digging a selection of sledges from the snow & bringing them up to temperatures they don�t often experience, he began going over them with a fine toothcomb. He also got other station members involved in building a brand new sledge from component parts. This was a great opportunity for us to learn new skills like hemp lashing, leather thonging and rope tying skills as the ash wood components are all tied together using these methods as opposed to being nailed or screwed together. This is to maintain flexibility in the sledge for when travelling over rough terrain such as sastrugi.

Nansen sledge building
Nansen sledge building

Later on in the month, Simon also had us dangling off the Simpson platform for some refresher training in preparation for the Emperor penguin colony visit. We will have to abseil off the edge of the ice shelf onto the sea ice in order reach the colony.

Liz preparing for an abseil
Liz preparing for an abseil

Frances and myself completed a few jigsaws in the evenings to keep our minds ship shape. The constant darkness can muddle the old brain a bit.

Frances completing jigsaw
Frances completing jigsaw

Julius and Chris and I spent a half-day uprooting the SHARE catenaries, which were becoming submerged.

These are wooden posts, which carry data and power cables from the antennae where it is collected to the caboose where it is stored & processed.

Catenary raising
Catenary raising

Auroral events have been slim pickings over our winter as a whole, so when the slightest hint of one is detected, we are all roused from sleep by the night watch person to catch a glimpse of the dancing luminescence.

Aurora over sign (Jules)
Aurora over sign (Jules)

As the month came to a close we made a start on the task of raising some of the drumlines around station.

This is an arduous task as there are two long drumlines towards the coast as well as the drums marking the 6km perimeter around station.

John climbing into Sno-cat
John climbing into Sno-cat

Photos contributed by Chris, Julius, Frances, myself.

Anthony Brennan