Friday, 26 January 2007

The Garage move, Halley Derby and camping in the Halley Gardens 25th jan 07

Life at Halley is slowly settling into a work and leisure routine. I tend to work from 8am through till about 9pm, with a few hours in the afternoon at my own leisure. There are always things going on, things being made, updated, transported, pulled and tested. With the new halley project developments underway, there is ample photo opportunity, of seeing large things pulling even larger things. The new sledge that Halley 6 will be made to sit upon, 43 tonnes, has been under going its fair share of treatment, being pulled by various tractors and dozers, assessing traction and pulling power. The 2 Challengers on base managed a combined pull of 155 tonnes, which is well within the boundary of weight from the new Halley 6 modules. The smallest module being 95 tonnes and the heavyest being 140 tonnes. Each module will be towed separately to its new site on the ice, until all 8 modules form a connection like a train.

The move of the garage, will follow shortly after the success of the sledge testing, which, so i'm told usually takes just 2 bulldozers, using their winches, (but in this instance every vehicle on base), will move closer to the Laws building, with the drewery move close to follow.

The trench through the ice, by the garage's skis.

Amongst the summer work, the mast erectors extend the "inverted V" radio mast, adding a section each time the ice takes too much of a hold. This year, its been extended to 21 metres.

Amongst the leisure activities, is the more serious affair of real hardcore men (and women) taking part in the Halley Derby. This is not for the feint hearted, sliding tackles and bare skin grating on frozen jagged shelf ice, spilt blood galore and plummeting temperatures of minus 1.5 degrees. The Laws verses The Drewery, Winterers verses Summerers. Nothing held back. The Derby of the year 2007.

I've still got it? James shying away from the ball, while Thomas - no chance matey!

However, due to a particulary heavy saturday night drinking, the drewery, being the weaker men, failed to gather any form of manly competition compared to the laws, and so it was, a select few changed sides to make up the numbers. Myself included, seeing as i was working their for that particular day. The Drewery's newly developed team stayed in a comfortable lead, striking in goals left, right and centre. With apple slices at half time the outsiders continued their onslaught, throughout the match, for a comfortable double figure win.

Got to keep on good terms with the Doc, you never know when you'll need him?

Typical woman, or typical meteorologist. It just so happened that in the middle of our pleasant sunday footie match, a Cirro - stratus was visable in the sky. This is the reflection of light due to ice particles in clouds, creating a halo effect.

A trip to "The Halley Gardens" on 25th jan 07, was next on the agenda for myself and the rest of the 8 new winterers. A chance to see and experience the splendid vistas, that we were living in from a completly different angle. The trip comprised of one full 24hr day per 4 winterers, plus 1 wintering GA, The Sune.

This was a chance to refresh ourselves on past training. Mastering the technique of singeing away any arm and facial hair instead of shaving. I mean, refining the art of Primus stove and Tilley lamp assembly and dismantle.

For the afternoon, a trip to the Gucci store. With every item of freezing, biting cold, brand new, protective clothing available, and all up for strong "price" negotiation with the store manager, The Sune, sorry Mr. Sune. "Please can i have a new Mad Bomber fur hat, yes i know i work in the kitchen, but i still NEED it?"

P bag preparation. Better here outside the shop, than a 7 day trek away.

After a spot of retail therapy, girls i know what you all mean know, and the gathering, and checking of our "P" bags (personal sleeping bag), consisting of a foam ground mat, real sheepskin rug, and a down sleeping bag suitable for -3o degrees, which sits inside a fire proof cotton sheet, a trip to wonky caboose was awaiting us. Wonky, not because it sits at a daft angle but because its 1 kilometre away. Hense "The Halley Gardens". We climbed aboard our skidoo and sledge and continued the exhilarating 3 minute ride to wonky.

Wonky Caboose.

Halley Gardens, with the Laws in the back ground. Inside a pyramid tent, with all you essentials in the middle, cooking equipment, food etc.

With Sune's instructions, our pyramid tent was dug out and erected, the stove and man food boxes placed inside and a quick lesson in the HF (high frequency) radio communication, with Halley base contacted successfully, all done before a cosy dinner awaited us - man food?

Halley, Halley, Halley this is field course training, how do you copy? Strong 5 over. (1 being noise and crackle, 5 being crystal clear)

Apparently these boxes are our best friends when we go on our winter trips. Hard to imagine, when most of the entire 28kg of dried contents is out of date by 7, 8, 9, 10 years. Although, the novelty value of looking at really old Cadbury's chocolate bar wrappers, brings back fond memories of past times. Any how, with the primus stove lit and ready, and fresh ice cut for the pan to make boiling water, my feast for the night was pasta carbonnara, or in cheffing terms, chippings of pasta with 1 or maybe 2 of the smallest, saltiest pieces of bacon you'll only ever swallow if you had the entire Antarctic ice shelf at your disposal for melting drinking water - damn i have. Probably the most ironic part about man food, is that you've got the most poorest of ingredients being put together with the worlds most untouched, pristine, water supply available, that a michelin restaurant would happily pay a ridiculous sum for.

One point about 24hr daylight in a pyramid tent, your eyes go from a blinding whiteness outside, to opening them in the morning to a luminescent orange inside. But you sleep fantastically upon a sheepskin rug and a down sleeping bag.

For my mate Mike "The Statatician"

January statistics:

Max Temp. 1.8 degrees C on 3rd
Min Temp. minus 14 degrees C 30th
Max Gust. 39.4 knots
Sunshine. 235.7 hrs
Total of 11 days of visibility below 1000 metres.


zoe said...

brilliant pics ant, really enjoying keeping up to date on what you are up to. from your discriptions it feels like we could be there,and loving the furry hat look very now.

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