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Halley Diary — July 2010

I thought I had drawn the short straw having to write the diary for July because, with no birthdays to celebrate and mid-winter festivities behind us, I suspected there might not be too much to write about but, not so much.

The Sun is Back (Photo: Craig Brown)
The Sun is Back (Photo: Craig Brown)

I started the month on night watch which can sometimes be a bit boring because everyone is asleep when you are up and about. But it did give me some ideas for a film and the opportunity to build a radio controlled van I had brought down with me but, more about that later.

We kicked off with a couple of sporting events in July starting with a darts tournament which also included a friendly with our colleagues in Bird Island. We came out on top after trying to score double 1 for what seemed like an eternity, with Tim finally finding the mark. The Halley competition winner was Ant “One dart” Dubber who narrowly beat Jack “The Double” Parker in a tense kitchen v garage final.

The table tennis competition is yet to be decided, the early favourite Mark has been side lined by injury (housemaid’s knee) so everything is still left to play for. Watch this space…

The biggest event of the month turned out to be The Antarctic Film Festival. This is an international event where all wintering bases are invited to make short (5 minute) films in two categories. The ‘open’ category films can be about anything at all. The ‘48 hour’ category films must contain 5 specific elements (props, dialogue etc) which are revealed on the Friday. The film must then be written, filmed and edited over the weekend and uploaded to the internet for all to see on the Monday or as soon as possible. A tall order, given that we don’t have the fastest internet connection in the world. We entered films in both categories, I was the main character in our open entry about a bored night watchman, entitled ‘Watchman’ and I also got a bit part in our 48 hour entry ‘Eggbert’ as well as being the radio controlled chicken cam driver. This was how we got the “chicken’s eye” view shots. In true Blue Peter fashion the camera is attached with double sided sticky tape to a radio controlled car. In order for it to make it fit it was mounted at the back and the car had to be driven in reverse.

The Chicken Cam (Photo: Ian Sisson)
The Chicken Cam (Photo: Ian Sisson)

Well we didn’t win any Oscars but we did have fun making them so, if you want to watch our films, they can be found here:

Life at Halley is not all fun and games we have to do all the normal stuff too, like going to the dentists! We all had a check up before leaving home but, that was last year. So our Doc Michael set about giving us all the once over and a scale and polish while he was about it.

Mark gets the treatment (Photo: Pat Power)
Mark gets the treatment (Photo: Pat Power)

On the last day of the month we even managed to squeeze in a birthday party, complete with parlour games such as pass the parcel, chocolate dinners and pin the flipper on the penguin. Although Michael’s 30th birthday wasn’t until the 5th August, we celebrated it a little early as it was his turn to be on nights and unable to celebrate on the day.

Ant steps up to try his luck at a game (Photo: Craig Brown)
Ant steps up to try his luck at a game (Photo: Craig Brown)

Science at Halley has continued apace with Rich, our MET guy, setting up a system to photograph the remaining night sky through the whole night, with amazing results. He has also got the Dobson out of hibernation and calibrated it ready for the Sun to reach the required height for the ozone monitoring to begin once more. I will leave you with one of Rich’s excellent night pictures.

Aurora and Milky Way over Halley at Night (Photo: Rich Sands)
Aurora and Milky Way over Halley at Night (Photo: Rich Sands)

Ian Sisson
Wintering Communications Manager