I've been at Halley for just over two months know, and seeing as its my day off (yes i do get days off) i thought it might be quite nice, for you to have a little insight as to where i eat, sleep, work and play - my world.
Probably, one of the most interesting places on base, are the tunnels, which link the Laws to the Simpson (300 metres) and also the Piggott tunnels, which are separate - and i'm yet to see myself, so as soon as i do, no doubt it Will feature in my blog.
Each day starts at 9am with exactly the same routine, those on the melt tank rota go off and dig the snow and ice for the whole base's water supply. It was on a routine dig that i got involved (on another of my days off) to take photos of the guys digging. I snapped a few snaps, picked up a pick axe, dug a few chunks, barely broke a sweat and then the suspicions of the pipe being blocked were quickly deciphered. There are special techniques that winterers pass on from generation to generation, regarding constant monitoring of the melt tank pipe for blockages. The pipe, 12 inches in diameter, runs approx 27 metres down under the ice to a chamber approx 2.5 metres high and 2 metres across, which is linked to the tunnels, creating a depth of nearly 30 metres in total. Whilst at the opening hatch of the melt tank, before, during and after any digging, the special blockage testing training is given. Grab a lump of hard ice roughly the size of a rugby ball and proceed to drop it down the pipe shaft. If it makes 2 bangs and a splosh, all is ok, if not, oh dear, the hassle of climbing down the individual hatches, each 2.5 metres high and starting from the bottom, unblocking all the way up, is a hassle you don't need, on top of your usual work load.
In all weathers, ice has to be dug on a daily basis, for all aspects of our water supply.
Snow inside the 1st hatch, after a week of snow blowing.
Welcome to Narnia.
This is just 1 of 7 chambers, with a averaging temperature of minus 9 degrees, inside.
It was my job as a Structural Engineering Surveyor to assist James the Chippy, in recording the tunnel temperatures.
The melt tank at the bottom of the chamber and the buckled re-enforced steel tunnel, being crushed by the ice.
Timbers being crippled and sandwiched by the sheer force of the ice above.
Towards the end of the Eclipse, a partially shadowed moon with visible valley craters and meteor scars, signalling the start of the wintering night skies.