Two weeks with BAS

Hey All,

I know it’s been a while since I’ve put anything here. Time is really flying! It feels like I only arrived a day or two ago while in fact it’s been over two weeks now! 

So how did my first two weeks go? In short, I’ve had a brilliant time so far, on so many levels!


I still can’t get over the impression I got the first time I entered the British Antarctic Survey’s building. Everything there just oozes Antarctica, from the moment you’re in! It really is such a cool place to be in, especially knowing that I’ll go South in a few months myself…


BAS reception

The main reception area


Halley Model

Halley VI model – this will be my home for 15 months!


I’ve met quite a lot of people at BAS now, including some of my fellow winterers. Not everyone has started yet, and some of the guys who did have some of their training mostly off site, so I’ve met the Met person for Halley, the Met person for Rothera, the Engineer for Halley and today, very briefly, the Comms Manager for Rothera. 

There is going to be 13 of us in Halley and I think there’s a slightly larger wintering team at Rothera. 

So far we’ve had a few talks and introduction sessions with various people responsible for all aspects of science, including:

  • the Ice Core tour (which is the room where BAS keep the ice cores brought from Antarctica)
  • MAGIC tour (Mapping and GIS)
  • a briefing with the Head of Science at BAS
  • MOMU introduction (Meteorological and Ozone Monitoring Unit)
  • The Climate Program talk
  • a tour of the Aquarium
  • the CASLab talk (CASLab is a Clean Air Sector Laboratory)
There’s still plenty that awaits us, which I’m really looking forward to: 
  • Ice2Sea seminar
  • Antarctic Weather Systems talk
  • Ozone Hole talk (Halley, which is the station I’m going to, is where the Ozone Hole was originally discovered)
  • Antarctic Engineering talk
  • Optical Instruments talk
  • Climate Variability over West Antarctica talk
  • Data Management talk
  • a talk on Middle Atmosphere Dynamics
  • MR Radar training 
  • Power Systems and High Voltage training
In addition to that, later on we’ll have a full week of Met training. In addition to being a Data Manager for Halley, I’ll also be part of the Met Team rota for taking Met observations.
This will all be followed by a week long Conference, which is basically an intensive, off-site pre-deployment training, followed by another week of Field Training, with some Oil Spill Response and Sea Survival training thrown in in the mix, and finished with another week of Mast Climbing training… 
In between of all that, I’m trying to learn as much as I can about the systems which will be my main area of responsibility. Some of that involves really going back to what I was doing a few years ago, like shell scripting and some programming, which is good as I’m enjoying it a lot. I also have to learn (or at least familiarise myself) with a whole load of new languages (Python, Perl, IDL) and other bits. It does look scary at times, but the guys I work with are very helpful and I think it will all be fine. I do have some experience that I can draw upon, so it’s not so bad… it’s just a really really different environment than what I’m used to, but it makes it even more interesting! 

Keeping Fit

It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and finally I’m able to! I cycle to work pretty much every day (I’ve taken my car twice so far and I had a good reason each time!). It’s a 12km spin each way and it’s slightly downhill on my way in to work, which is good. 

Bike at BAS

Even the cycle back, after the whole day, is very enjoyable, I must say, despite the fact that I do have to contend with a (small-ish, admittedly) hill! 🙂 

Every morning I’m actually looking forward to my cycle, and when I come back home after work and it’s still bright outside, I often find myself thinking I’d take the bike out for another spin 🙂 so it’s all good. 

Anyways, I’d better wrap it all up here, I need to go to bed so I can get up in the morning to live another day of the adventure! 🙂 

2 thoughts on “Two weeks with BAS

  1. Good work on the blog… Glad to see you are enjoying yourself as well as working hard. I hope it’s everything you thought it to be. Can’t wait to hear (and see) your stuff from the South! Take it easy!

    • Hi Shane! Yes, it’s everything I imagined and more! I’m really loving it here so far, and that’s even before we go South! I hope all is OK with yourself and thanks for reading! 🙂

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