Our work with the British Antarctic Survey

Monthly Archives: January 2017

2017/01/29 By Ben Rowe

Sunday 29th January – first experience of Rothera research station


I was up at 7am and sorted myself breakfast, which will need to last me through to brunch at midday. I use the morning to send some emails and download photos from my camera as back-up onto my laptop. After brunch we went on walk with others who came from Halley around the point, which

2017/01/28 By Ben Rowe

Saturday 28th January – farewell Halley, hello Rothera


I woke up early to my room-mates’ VHF radio at 0600. I had breakfast, swapped email and mobile details with a few of the team. I saw the team off on the Snowcats, whilst I spoke to the BAS Station Leader about getting over to site VI for my flight.  The final ride across to

2017/01/27 By Ben Rowe

Friday 27th January – deconstructing the temporary camps


Today I got up a little later than usual and finished off the report, which covered the final inspection of the modules post re-location but also other miscellaneous areas of work that had been raised in passing on the project. At today’s situation report at 11am we were advised that the ship would arrive later

2017/01/26 By Ben Rowe

Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th January – getting ready to depart Halley


There’s a cold breeze today and no major structural work on-going apart from communications caboose. I carried out a visual inspection of the Trelleborg inside and out, looked at the bridge pinned connections and wrote up the last section of the inspection report. Thursday 26th January Another cold morning with a breeze again – It’s

2017/01/24 By Ben Rowe

Tuesday 24th January – good internal levelling across the module threshholds


Mechanical and electrical teams progressed well and most of the system have been tested and re-drained for over-wintering. Now work is more the minor aspects to improve the ease of work in re-commissioning for summer 2017/18. The E1 to B2 modules were levelled today using changes in leg extensions, and this has led to a

2017/01/23 By Ben Rowe

Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd January – missing fresh milk, fruit and salad


Got up 9.30am and all was quiet. Sat downstairs and downloaded some of the photos for my records – they have captured some amazing images. The chefs do such a great job here with the ingredients available that it can be difficult to decline their high carb meals. The things I miss are proper milk

2017/01/21 By Ben Rowe

Saturday 21st January


We carried on with the E2 module leg levelling today. This module still has the slippery blocks underneath the ski from a week or so ago, and the sun has warmed the black colour and sunk them down into the snow surface. The slushy surface snow from yesterday afternoon is now hard and icy. So when the

2017/01/20 By Ben Rowe

Friday 20th January – adjusting the modules


Today we progressed with raising the three Southern modules H2, H1 and E2. I explained on site that we had in preparation set level markers that indicated the keel line of the skis. This would enable the ski to be rotated as per the methodology, snow pushed in by dozers, the ski rotated back into

2017/01/19 By Ben Rowe

Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th January – level survey of module legs, soffits and skis

DSCN2713 all modules at VIa

Up at 10am for line and levelling the B2 module. We will need to do the full level survey tomorrow. At the situation report today I was advised that my flight out will be on the 1st February subject to weather.  Last out will be at the start of March. Thursday 19th January I was

2017/01/17 By Ben Rowe

Tuesday 17th January – final module moved to VIa


We got the B1 module line and levelled. We then travelled back to site VI to move the final B2 module. We took the normal rigging team and to celebrate moving the last module they joined myself and Oli inside for the re-location journey.  Spirits were high so we popped on comedy wigs from the

2017/01/16 By Ben Rowe

Sunday 15th January and Monday 16th January – module B1 moved to VIa, stopping within 25mm of C module


I got up 10am and had brunch at 12. I spent the afternoon doing ‘What’s in my bag’ article for Ramboll’s internal magazine and took some photos for it. Monday 16th January The wind driven snow ran on until this morning so now a windy but pleasant day. The team were stood down until after

2017/01/14 By Ben Rowe

Saturday 14th January – module c in place


I spent the day de-rigging to get the lifting frame in position to lift each leg, insert the slippery pads, and then re-rigged ready for alignment. We undertook the sideways movement using the dozer shovel and when just about there, pulled forward on winches to close and line up the Trelleborg. We then moved the

2017/01/13 By Ben Rowe

Friday 13th January – Big red (module A) aligned, ready to bring over module C


Module A was aligned to the Trelleborg at the South end. This was mainly done simply because the alignment from arrival was good and the snow beneath the crane pads slightly angled to allow the module to drift westwards as the module was winched onto E1. The winching needed some preload from a dozer behind leg 1. The

2017/01/12 By Ben Rowe

Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th January – Big red (module A) moves over to site VIa


This morning I undertook the final alignment and levelling of module E1 so that we could bring module A, the living space module also called ‘Big Red’ in tonight to the best alignment. I sledged across to site VI together with vehicles necessary for the towing. We did the final preparations and checking before moving

2017/01/10 By Ben Rowe

Tuesday 10th January – levelling and alignment


Today I started thinking about the bridge re-installation. In preparation we shifted module E1 sideways into alignment. Having observed some of the issues on the previous module I made suggestions on changes in the board layout. The chief engineer has loads of experience working in Antarctica and adapts the work method to suit the conditions and what is

2017/01/09 By Ben Rowe

Monday 9th January – reconnecting E2 and H1 and phoning home


Today having aligned module E2 we pulled it onto H1, and reconnected the Trelleborg. Tonight I spoke to my youngest son, Daniel, as tomorrow he leaves to go traveling, starting in Thailand then onto Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and then maybe New Zealand and Australia.  It’s not something I ever thought about at 18, as

2017/01/08 By Ben Rowe

Sunday 8th January – how I became known as ‘calc’


I finally got my name onto the list for the Sunday trip and went to Creek 3. There were 11 of us doing the trip. After grabbing some water and a sandwich for lunch I jumped into a sledge with transit bag for the journey to site VI.  When we got there I went to

2017/01/07 By Ben Rowe

Saturday 7th January – surveying for accurate alignment


Today I used the dumpy level for its intended function role and levelled H2 and H1 soffits so the Trelleborg could be re-connected. I also set up a new surveying position that would allow me to sight through H2 and extending the sight line for the all the future module positions. I marked this with a new

2017/01/06 By Ben Rowe

Friday 6th January – first day working at site VIa


After getting up at 10am I joined smoko at 10:30 for breakfast. Today will be my first day’s work at site VIa. I was told that the H2 module was within one degree accuracy from the setting out established in summer 2016, and that we should use it as the basis for the other module alignment. 

2017/01/05 By Ben Rowe

Thursday 5th January – an exhausting night move


With the BAS managers at site VIa I worked with the steelworkers to rig modules A and E1. I split the team so that some were measuring, adjusting and selecting steelwork members allowing the others to work from position to position simply erecting the  steelwork. This worked really well and as consequence we got everything done in a

2017/01/04 By Ben Rowe

Wednesday 4th January – tricky separation of E2 module


Today was a big day as we separated the E2 module with the bridge attached. During the preparation the fixed pins had been removed so that as E2 was pulled away the bridge would stay where it is, and could be slid out of the E1 letterbox and lowered onto the temporary support frames. To enable

2017/01/02 By Ben Rowe

Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd January – the move routine


The routine of moving the modules is becoming slicker, and I’m managing my input to suit the night moves. Tuesday 3rd January Today we got the B2 and B1 modules rigged up and winched away from each other and the C module.

2017/01/01 By Ben Rowe

Sunday January 1st 2017 – moving H1


Today I checked the H1 bolted connections on the towing frame and noted all was good apart from a poorly fitting rear steering tie. We came up with a solution to overcome this and then I checked the sub-floor. I checked that all the locking pins were still out and noted that legs 3 &4