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Halley Diary — June 2012

The darkest month of the year and important mid-winter celebration for all the people in Antarctica is what June is all about here in the South. The sun is below horizon but some light is visible on the northern horizon.  Here at Halley, we are lucky to celebrate the mid- winter in new Halley VI station, and to be the first ones to do so. June is the month, which most of the winterers are looking forward and it is the highlight of the winter.

Halley VI in dark season (Photo: Sanna Kallio)
Halley VI in dark season (Photo: Sanna Kallio)

This year we got a special event at the beginning of the month as the Queen was celebrating her Jubilee. We had Mad Hatters tea party like in, Alice in the Wonderland, in celebration of the Queen. We were playing some cricket and crocket underneath of modules outside when it was blowing. It was nice start of the month and small break from work and making mid-winter presents. For Field Assistant, like me, June is quiet but nicely dark month when I am fixing and repairing field gear for next season. It is a time to enjoy base life in the new station, and enjoy being part of our nice wintering team and to have fun in darkest time of the year.

Extreme Cricket (Photo: Sam Burrell)
Extreme Cricket (Photo: Sam Burrell)
Wintering team in front of modules (Photo: Sam Burrell)
Wintering team in front of modules (Photo: Sam Burrell)

June is all about one week. Mid-winters week started by cleaning and tidy up station modules for our Christmas. The pool competition final was the start of our mid-winters week. Paddy and Ian were playing well but Paddy was little better than Ian. So, Paddy is the first Halley VI Mid-winter pool champion. 

For every mid-winters week day we had some kind of activities to do. We had fun time sledging, shooting flares and having good a time outside. One day we were playing board games, like the Top Gear game and Battle of Sexes. Whisky night let the whisky lovers enjoy the different tastes of whiskies and cheeses. Murder and mystery, the Spice of Death, was played same time with evening meal and every one was dressed as characters demanded. At the end of meal, the murderer was found.  Between activities everybody had enough time to chill out and finish their mid- winter presents. Our dear Met Baby Sam Burrell was entertaining us by playing guitar and singing songs. He is really amazing player and we all liked his show. Thanks Sam! Crazy golf was played inside Halley VI, a night before mid-winters day. Many funny golf holes and trails were laid out around Halley modules.

Mid-winter day started when our Base Commander, Paddy, served breakfast for everyone, how thet wanted it. The day was not the coldest day during this winter but because of mid-winter celebration, we decided to go running around the station naked. Previously, it has been done around the Laws building in Halley V but because we are Halley VI team and base building is longer than the old Laws platform we ran longer distance. We girls, Doc Caz and I, did it twice. The mid-winters meal was one of the highlight of the day. We dressed up and took first mid-winter team photo in Halley VI.

Winter Team (Photo: Olli Bonner)
Winter Team (Photo: Olli Bonner)

Ant the Chef, made a 15 course meal for us. Here it is:

Halley VI Mid-Winters Meal, 21st June 2012

Canapés

  • Chilled glass of Ginger’s Champagne
  • Carpaccio of Beef with Micro Cress
  • Tiger Prawn Nicoise with Smoked Salmon Roses
  • Cotswold Double Gloucester & Chive, Caramelised Onion Tatins
Course 1, Canapes (Photo: Olli Bonner)
Course 1, Canapes (Photo: Olli Bonner)

Amuse Bouche

  • Potage of Port & Beetroot with Beet foam & a Peppered Beetroot Crisp

Prestige Larder

  • Seared Scallops with Pistachio Crumb & Parsnip Crème
  • Or Grilled Bruscetta with Charred Eggplan, Roasted Garlic, Shredded Basil and a Concasse of Tomato & olive
  • Panfried Mullet & Crab Salad with Griddled Fennel & Eggplant
  • Or Roasted Beetroot & Cream Cheese Salad with Tarragon & Pine Nuts
  • Peppered Beef Fillet with Thyme Fondant Potato, Honey Roasted Pumpkin Puree & Portobello Jus
  • Or Ravioli of Smashed Broad Beans, Mint and Feta
Enjoying the Mid-winters meal (Photo: Sanna Kallio)
Enjoying the Mid-winters meal (Photo: Sanna Kallio)

Celebration of South Africa

  • Seared Medallions of Springbok & Ostrich with Scorched Greens & a Wellington Shiraz
  • Or Trio of Chickpeas Accompanied with Grilled Pitta

Something for The Palette

  • Melon, Banana, Passion fruit, Apple Brown Bread, Mango Ices
Course 7 Homemade Ice cream and Sorbet (Photo: Olli Bonner)
Course 7 Homemade Ice cream and Sorbet (Photo: Olli Bonner)

Pudding Parlour

  • A Taste of Candied & Passion, Parfait of Passion fruit with Candied Ginger Leaves, Baby Pineapple & Fennel Fronds
  • Fizzy Truffle Torte & Fondant with Berry Power, a Delicate Banana Yoghurt Snow &Bourbon Vanilla Tuille

Blind Folded Pick Me Up

  • Mulled Vodka with Vanilla Straw/ Peppermint Bomb with Chocolate Gin Sloes

The Enduring Spirit

  • MacKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whicky- Shipped to Antarctica by Ernest Shackleton
Shackletons Whiskey (Photo: Olli Bonner)
Shackletons Whiskey (Photo: Olli Bonner)

La Fromagerie

  • Selection of Halley’s Finest Frozen Cheese’s, including a Taste from South Africa’s Fairview’s Cheesery, Fig Chutney, Port & Stilton Jelly, Tomato Basil Bread Crooks & Gorgonzola Dolce

Candy Bag

  • Ginger Toffee, Marshmallow, Turkish Delight & Hazelnut Praline

Filtered Ground Black Beans, Biscotti’s Truffles

  • Chocolate Ganache, Peppermint Cream and Mayan Gold Bars

Thanks for the mid-winters meal, Ant!

For most of the team the highlight of the day was definitely the mid-winter presents! Everybody was excited and could not wait to open their presents.

Mid-winter presents (Photo: Sam Burrell)
Mid-winter presents (Photo: Sam Burrell)

All the presents were amazing and lot of hours had been put into them. Some of us had nice interview about living in Antarctica with the BBC world service to do. In the evening we all listened to the BBC world service mid-winter broadcast to all BAS stations. Thanks for all the greetings!

The last thing in mid winters day was watching The Thing (old version) in evening and chilling out in bar area. The movie has been a long standing tradition in BAS stations on mid-winters day.

The day after mid-winters day was for chilling out and movies. The last thing on in mid winters week was the traditional Pub Crawl. We started in upper obs and walked all the way to perimeter, to a big snow cave.

Cozy big snow cave (Photo: Sanna Kallio)
Cozy big snow cave (Photo: Sanna Kallio)

After enjoying nice atmosphere in the cave we moved to a two-man pyramid tent before going to the Garage. Milky Way and stars were visible to us and we spent lots of time laying on snow and watching the southern sky. Some shooting stars were on the sky when we moved from cozy Pub Drewry back to base. Really realizing that we are in Antarctica and very happy about it. Everybody seemed to enjoying their nice relaxing mid- winters week.

End of the month was about settling back to work and normal base duties. Now, team Halley VI starts to wait for sun up and getting back to outside work.

Some light on the northern horizon (Photo: Sanna Kallio)
Some light on the northern horizon (Photo: Sanna Kallio)

Greetings from Halley VI! Paljon terveisia! Hilsen fra Halley!

Sanna K, Field Assistant