Friday 2nd December – Refuelling in Neumayer and departing for Halley

The flight was likely to stop at Neumayer German research station to refuel, before completing the remainder of the 700miles trip to Halley.

On the morning of the flight we were ready at 0730 with our bags, and were at the runway base by 0800. Having off loaded our bags onto the icy ground we went into the canteen to warm up and have some breakfast. I had porridge, but added some of the marshmallows and quality street chocys for a bit of interest. There is a table of high calorie food available throughout the day so everyone can manage their energy levels in this demanding environment.

 

We landed at Neumayer the German Research Station, which looked like a boat but with no hull. Instead it floated on 16 double storey height columns and a steel trussed frame at ground level covered with timber decking. Below the trusses, the 16 columns were supported by 3 splayed columns with a jacking ability so that as snow accumulated the station could be raised.

Throughout our time there we were waiting for the okay from Halley in terms of a weather window. This eventually came at 1930 and we were up and out of the building in a few minutes.

 

We traipsed across the ice and snow to the plane and were accompanied by a pair of Emperor penguins journeying across the ice. Ice-bergs were visible in the distance sticking way above the horizon and reflecting the low sun.

The plane again travelled smoothly down to Halley and could not have been much better, apart from the heat inside, which was getting unbearable. I was well and truly cooked by the time of our arrival. When we arrived a fog had descended on the area.

We were met with skidoos and sledges and formed the now well practiced BAS chain to offload all the baggage. A short ride got us to the Halley Research Station and our first glimpses of the iconic Halley VI modules. The station is surrounded with lots of other containers providing infrastructure and storage, like the other stations we had seen so far in Antarctica.

We dropped our bags off and were taken into the mess room for some hot food, that was followed by a short briefing.

 

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