Halley Diary — November 2008
November, the 11th month of the year, and the 12th month that everyone, apart from Dean, has been living in the Antarctic. After 8 months of just 11 of us on base, we finally had 2 new people join us. Niv (FGA) and Ben (vehicles manager) flew in from Rothera on the Polar 5 that was on route to the Russian base Novolazarevskaya, to be a flying taxi for the rest of the summer.
November started with a small blow that lasted for three days, which put a slight hold on Hannah and Dave’s winter trip. When they finally managed to get out on the 4th and managed to get down to Creek 4 caboose, they then had to wait another two days for the blow to clear. Eventually it ceased and ice climbing and exploring around the coast commenced, including visiting “Dean’s crack” a spectacular underground cavern that Dean and Rich found on the first winter trip of the season.
Whilst Sledge Lima set off for a few days at the Hinge zone (where the continent meets the ice shelf), on base we decided to take advantage of the good weather and have a BBQ, and participate in some skijoring. After 6 months of no snowboarding I was very eager to get back on my board, and Dean and myself even managed to get Ags, Paddy and Les riding!!!
After a few days exploring round the Hinge zone, Sledge Lima set off for the Rumples to see what they could find. While they were exploring, the rest of us on base were kept busy digging and drum raising to the new Halley 6 site.
Towards the end of the month it was time for “the big move”. After Ben gave Ags, myself, Lance, Scotty and Bryan a talk about how we were to move the Drewry building it was time to commence. At this point I should point out that every year the garage and the Drewry have to be moved because of the massive wind scoops that they create. This is normally a simple manoeuvre for us, but this year turned in to a bit of an epic. We have 2 bulldozers pushing, 2 bulldozers winching and 2 Nodwell cranes to act as anchors, and yet with all of that torque, it didn’t move an inch. After about 20 seconds of the first attempt, a winch cable snapped. An hour or so later, it still wasn’t budging, so we decided to get the air bags out and break the seal that the ice created under the skis. All of a sudden at about 3pm it finally started moving (“we will be done by 10.30” said Ben in the morning), and we moved it to its final position for the winter season.
After the move Les Bryan and myself went in to start the place up for the summer. This involved servicing generator sets, and replacing all of the equipment that was taken out to be wintered, things like thermostats and washing machines. After two weeks, the building was ready for its summer inhabitants.
With the arrival of Niv and Ben, it also meant we were coming to the end of winter 2008. After 10 months of just 11 people it was good to have 2 new faces on base. We have had a great winter with the ups and downs that come with it, but we all came through unscathed.
Here is our winter photo to finish off November’s diary. All I have to do now is try and make the frame!!!