Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Planes. More People.

Over the last week the new crew are settling in well and the base has taken on much greater air of purpose with skidoos and bulldozers buzzing around getting everything ready for the ship's seemingly imminent arrival.

The weather is playing along too and has laid off the ceaseless-wind/drifting-snow combination we know so well. For now, at least. On the work side of life, all our instruments are now on the main Laws building and after a few days calibrating and checking, they're working well. If all goes well tomorrow I should be popping upto the Halley VI site to sort the troublesome weather station, then all will be done!

Hand-overs are starting in earnest, forcing me to think back to last year and try to pitch my explanations at the right level: There's a lot to take in and Halley is full of local names and TLAs (Three Letter Abbreviations). I remember wondering why I would need to enter a Horsebox to get to an Onion? And what was the difference between a PWD and AWS? And why oh-why is the Creek2 caboose actually at Precious Bay? It seems that times may change, but names stick. In spite of it all, Dave (who's taking over the science for next season) is picking it up well.

There's is, of course, far more than just work to learn at Halley.

Joe (New Sparky) stylin the board

Neil reflects on the evening

Dave picks it up fast

Tom carving under the midnight sun

Doo View

Ever suffering for my art, I thought sitting backwards on the doo would make for great photos. More like a dead arm from hanging on, and a full memory card with about three decent pictures. He who dares, my son...

Doo's parked up

When all the fun was over, we briefly retired to the bar only to find the first BAS aircraft of the season was heading in. Pulling boots back on, we headed down the skiway just in time to see Brave Lima arrive.

Permission to buzz the field? Granted

Although the other planes received a good greeting, out own aircraft somehow felt a bit more special. Running a little late from having to dig up barrels of fuel from a glacier somewhere between Rothera and here, the little red plane appeared on the horizon at about 23:00. To waves and cheers from the snow, the pilot passed low with landing lights blazing before circling and touching down.

Twin Otter approaching the crowd.

Welcomes and unloading

Forming a chaingang, we piled bags onto a sledge while the pilots and air-mechs lashed the plane down. This is vitally important at Halley, as a good wind can easily exceed the aircraft's take off speed!

Pilot Mark making final shutdown checks.

The last load has brought number up to about 30. This weekend winter will officially end, bringing the summer madness of 12h days and limited beers. I cant wait.


Blogger Paul Capewell said...

Your blog is consistently fascinating David, and using photos so much really brings it to life. I love it! I can't help think that your time there is coming to an end but I guess that's the way it goes.

I'm always left wanting to say thank you and congratulations on an awesome blog so I thought I'd actually do it this time.

11:14 pm GMT  
Blogger David Vaynor Evans said...

Cheers Paul!

My time's not ending just yet as my contract's been extended till Mid March. I'll still be at Halley, but in a different job.

Glad you like the photos. There's some more camera kit coming in soon, so watch this space...

11:17 am GMT  

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