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Halley Diary — May 2012

The month of May started with the lowering of the very weather damaged British flag. This will be the only flag to have been flown above Halley 5 and Halley 6! Nigel, as the oldest winterer had the honour of lowering the flag as the sun was setting for the last time before winter. It is this 105 days without the sun, which is what I’m really looking forward too.

In the evening Ant, our chef, put on an amazing BBQ to celebrate the leaving of the sun. I had been craving a BBQ for quite a while so I was pretty happy. With the temperature hitting about −35 it was defiantly the coldest BBQ I have ever had.

We were also very lucky to experience a phenomenon, known as a ‘Perigee Full Moon’. This meant the Moon appeared up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than when it is furthest from our planet. This was a pretty amazing thing to witness and supposedly Antarctica was one of the best places to see it, so lucky for us.

Nigel lowering the British flag with the sun setting in background (Photo: Sam Burrell)
Nigel lowering the British flag with the sun setting in background (Photo: Sam Burrell)
The last sunset for 105 days (Photo: Nigel Wilce)
The last sunset for 105 days (Photo: Nigel Wilce)
BBQ at -35 (Photo: Sam Burrell)
BBQ at -35 (Photo: Sam Burrell)
Perigee Full Moon (Photo: Ian Sisson)
Perigee Full Moon (Photo: Ian Sisson)

We also had a busy month for birthdays in May. There were a total of three, Dave and Ian and myself. It was quite an eventful month. Caz our Doc was also pretty busy, as she had to make three different cakes. She did a very good job as well.

Ian chose to have a retro fancy dress night so we all had to search through the fancy dress box and try our best to find something that would resemble the 60s. We did try and convince Nigel to lend us some of his clothes but he wasn’t too happy about that idea.

Ian with Crossword cake (Photo: Sam Burrell)
Ian with Crossword cake (Photo: Sam Burrell)
Dave's Motorcycle themed cake (Photo: Dave Holme)
Dave's Motorcycle themed cake (Photo: Dave Holme)
Me with my cake  (Photo: Nigel Wilce)
Me with my cake (Photo: Nigel Wilce)

Amazingly we lose about an hour of daylight every 3 days in May. Before you know it eventually becomes perma-twilight. This was what I was really looking forward to. In the dark period you get to see some of the most magnificent skies in the world. The stars and the Milky Way are also spectacular on a clear day. The Sun reminds us that it’s still the boss of our solar system and fires a few high energy particles our way, and we get to view the Aurora Australis, dazzling us with a show of fantastic light way up in the atmosphere.

A lot of the time this month people we off hiding in their offices and workshops trying to finish their winter present in time for Mid Winters Day. Each winterer picked a name out of a hat and had to make a present for that person, but we keep it a secret so no one knows who you are making it for. The hardest part about it was trying to figure out what to make and sourcing the materials, once that was done it was pretty good fun making the presents.

On Link Bridge with Aurora above  (Photo: Sam Burrell)
On Link Bridge with Aurora above (Photo: Sam Burrell)

Diary by Gareth Collier
Halley Plumber