Saturday 3rd December – First day in Halley


The working day is organised around the meals timings. The working day starts at 0800, there’s a mid‐ morning break for 30 minutes, an hour for lunch at 1300, mid‐afternoon 30 minute break and then dinner at 1900. I guess if the weather was really cold and the work very manual then these mid‐morning and afternoon breaks would be a welcome chance to warm up.

Our briefing continued first thing this morning with the summer BAS station leader running through arrangements and safety. After Smoko which is the name used for the mid‐morning beak we jumped on a sledge pulled by a skidoo for a site orientation tour. We also had a communications talk for use of radios, laptops and communication back home in terms of limits of band‐width. We are introduced to a tag system which requires us to place our name tag on a hook that locates where we are on the site, and when not in a building but within the perimeter, which is added to a signing in/out book. Consequently we spend a fair amount of time visiting the tag board in the mess room to update our movements or advising station communications by radio.  However this is essential if a rescue had to be put into place due to an accident or poor weather conditions. Much of the planning is about working safely in the Antarctic environment.
Following lunch we were then free for the rest of the day. I took the opportunity of the sunny afternoon to get some snaps of the site. The established workforce were also given the afternoon off and were whizzing around the site on the skidoos, sometimes towing skiers, whilst others did some cross country skiing and others jogged around the site perimeter on a prepared track.

The bedrooms are pretty tight with four of us in bunkbeds sharing a room. Downstairs we have washing machines and dryers, boot room, social space including a kitchen and telephone booth. There is a melt tank that provides all the water, which needs us to shovel in snow each day to maintain this system.