April update from Halley

Time flies when you’re having fun! It feels like I’ve only just published the last article and yet a whole month has gone by! Here’s the April Update from Halley for your reading pleasure.

April at Halley

We’ve had a very interesting month, with a lot of cool things happening. The first round of winter trips is now over and pretty much every group managed to get a good time away from the station. The last trip was definitely the coldest and so these guys did break their trip up a little bit, spending a night in the 2K Caboose (the Caboose we have installed some 2km away from the base), a night or two in the Caboose at Windy Bay and then a few nights in the Pyramid Tent at the Aladdin’s. Everyone is now back on station and people have pretty much fallen into their routines.

Weather-wise we’ve had a mixed bag. We’ve experienced a few blows, one particularly strong with average wind speeds reaching 50 knots and gusts over 65 kt, but we also had those typical winter clear, calm and cold days too, with anything in between. There were a few aurorae, one particularly good just a few days ago.

I have also tried my luck at Astrophotography. When you go outside the modules on a very clear night, and see the southern sky, it’s just breathtaking. I think I got some good results – see for yourselves!

We have been challenged by the BAS station at Bird Island to a match of Darts. As the two stations are located a good distance away from each other (I estimate maybe 1500 km), the idea was for each station to use their own darts board to play. We also had a phone call set up from a phone we installed temporarily in the lounge area, so we could communicate with Bird Island throughout the game. And we all took turns in throwing darts, and kept track of each others scores. The prize for the winning team was a crate of beer out of the Bond, which the defeated team would pay for. We won!

On the last weekend of April we also said good bye to the Sun. We’ve celebrated the last sunset this season – from now on, for the next 103 days, the Sun won’t rise over the horizon. In just a couple more weeks it will also be completely dark for 24 hours a day – at the moment we still have a little bit of daylight (more like twilight) around the mid-day.

Each month we’re also tasked with going to the crack that has started opening up rapidly two seasons ago, and which is the reason why the Halley Station is going to be relocated over the next two seasons. We’re driving out there once a month on Skidoos, carrying with us precise surveying GPS units as well as a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) device. We then spend a day driving in a very methodical way between set waypoints, taking their exact GPS location, as well as, using the GPR, collecting the data which can then be processed into an image of what the Ice Shelf looks like below. The whole idea is to build a picture of how the crevasse develops, so we can be on top of things. We split into two teams, one consisting of Mat and Ross who did the GPR survey, and the other one with Ricardo and myself, to do the GPS measurements. Have a look at the GPS track for our trip below.

Finally, I’ve spent an afternoon in the garage yesterday, taking some pictures of Phil, our Vehicle Mechanic, doing his work. I’m planning to photograph everyone on station in their work environment, doing what they normally do, to give you guys a better glimpse into the station life. Hopefully you’ll enjoy that.

That’s it from me for now!

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