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Halley Diary — November 2006

November � Who needs running water?

November at Halley saw an average temperature of -9.2°C, average pressure of 978.8hPa, mean scalar wind speed of 14.8 knots. We had 21 days of drifting snow, 20 days of falling snow, 3 days of fog, 12 days with the visibility below 1km, 4 days of gale-force winds, 19 cloudy days and 3 clear days. Snow accumulation was 8.5cm. But that doesn�t really describe what happened on base very well does it?

Snow accumulation chart
Snow accumulation chart

WORK
It�s all work, work, work at Halley at the moment. This year we�ve had record snow accumulation compared to the last 10 years. We�ve had more than double than what was recorded in 1997. This has meant A LOT of digging for everyone.

Preparations are underway for the summer season. This is a good chance for a base spring clean. Everyone�s involved and no stone is left unpolished.
Meanwhile outside, all this extra snow has made a lot of work for us. Everything needs to be dug up and raised.

Frances and Chris raising the sign
Frances and Chris raising the sign

Kirsty digging snow off the platform
Kirsty digging snow off the platform

Anto raising the Memorial
Anto raising the Memorial

We�ve also used the last of our fuel stored in containers and so have had to start digging out the fuel drums stored in fuel dumps. These consist of handy piles of full drums, which only take a day of dedicated staff to free from the snow and ice.

Fuel Raising
Fuel Raising

In the science camp a few dozen instruments need to be raised and calibrated. The warm temperatures have given the Piggott team a chance to fix the SHARE aerials using the Nodwell crane.

Jules in the bucket
Jules in the bucket

The SHARE array (Southern Hemisphere Auroral RADAR Experiment)
The SHARE array (Southern Hemisphere Auroral RADAR Experiment)

The Drewry summer accommodation building was brought our by hibernation by Brian (Plumber) and Mark (Electrician). This involves bringing everything back into the building, warming it up, testing everything, filling the meltank, moving the food, computers, bedding in and then cleaning it. It�s quite a big job.

Drewery Meltank
Drewery Meltank

Once the Drewry meltank is full and warm we are given the opportunity to clean our meltank. Again this is a job for Technical Services and Brian, Bob (Generator Mechanic), Mark and Liz (Carpenter) were busy for weeks. The job doesn�t normally take this long, but we live on an ice shelf where the temperature is generally below freezing and one of the hazards are that � the pipes froze.

Brian at work
Brian at work

Mopping up melting pipes
Mopping up melting pipes

Mark on Repairs
Mark on Repairs

VISITORS
Despite the problems that the BAS aircraft have been having this season we�ve seen a few people go through our remote station by plane. After the Basler went through at the very end of the last month we didn�t think we�d see anyone for a while, so munched through the fresh veg tentatively.

Unfortunately that Basler had a bad landing out by Novo station and needed assistance. All the bases around Antarctica look after one another and since it was so early in the season the nearest aircraft were based as far away as Patriot Hills. They collected the crew and passengers from the site very quickly but had to pass through Halley to get there and back. The small Canadian crew with their funny coloured Twin Otter were a very welcome- which was nice.

Halley International Aiport
Halley International Aiport

A funny coloured Twin Otter refuelling while we greet our visitors
A funny coloured Twin Otter refuelling while we greet our visitors

FUN
Winter trips have still been underway. The temperature has risen significantly since the first ones went off in mid-September. They had fantastic weather, clear skies, low winds and got out exploring the Rumples, Creeks and round Windy and the Penguins.

Simon by blue ice berg
Simon by blue ice berg

In other events we�ve had a Murder Mystery evening to Celebrate Vicki�s big birthday, Kirsty organised a fun-filled evening of ZBingo and Simon gave a fantastic slide show of adventurous holidays we can�t go on at the moment (ski-touring in the Alps, canoeing in Scotland).

Vicky concentrating hard
Vicky concentrating hard

Vehicle testing for Halley 6 has got underway as our Mechanical Engineer (Jules) has brought in a controversial vehicle. He claims that it is better than the usual Tucker Snocat since �it goes really fast and makes cool tracks�. We all await with anticipation on the full-sized variety, but doubts are setting in whether the ship has room for the remote control.

Piston-Bulley at Halley
Piston-Bulley at Halley

Much love to family and friends at home,
Frances and the rest of the wintering team.

Dave on the balcony
Dave on the balcony