Monday, 17 November 2014

Long Journey to Halley

Finally… a moment to sit down and write what I’ve been up to in the last couple of weeks. After all the build up over the past months it was time to get my stuff together and go. With lots of help from my family I managed to sort my last bits out and get packed. They’ve had a lot to put up with me this year so I should just say a HUGE thank you here!! With the very difficult goodbyes done, I met up with some fellow BAS folk and we set off on our long journey. 
First it was Heathrow to Madrid with a few hours to wait there before catching our next flight to Santiago, Chile. From there we headed to Punta Arenas, briefly stopping at …… to offload some passengers and pick up some more. The journey to Punta came with some amazing views of the Andes and massive glaciers and fjords.  A night in Punta allowed us to go and get some good food (after the plane food muck!), a couple of Pisco sours, a visit to the sky bar and a little stretch of the legs, not to mention a good night’s sleep.
The next morning saw us heading straight back to the airport for our flight to Rothera. The weather was pretty good most of the way and we landed just time for dinner. It was good to catch up with some people from the field course who are either there for the full winter or just the summer season. We ended up having a full extra day due to weather disrupting our onward journey. To fill our time we went down a crevasse, snowboarded and went penguin spotting! Not bad!
And the next day we were off. I flew in the co-pilot seat for the first leg of the journey to Fossil Bluff. Here we had a fuel stop and a toilet break – consisting of a visit to the pee-pole…it is what it is.  This is how it’s done out in the field here. Consequently it was probably the nicest view from a “toilet” I’d ever seen (if you wanted to know). From there it was on to the Three Ronnies Depot for another refuel and pole visit, where it also suddenly felt a lot colder! And then it was back in the plane to head to Halley. We had a great view as we approached the ice shelf and flew directly over the Emperor Penguin colony at Windy Bay! What a treat! A short while later we finally viewed Halley for the first  time, - surrounded by miles and miles of ice.
A very long journey! We arrived pretty knackered and with heads spinning to a warm welcome from out colleagues here, and again – in time for dinner! We had the next day to settle in and explore the crazy place a bit before getting to work. I’ll stop there for now. Enough for one post I think.  The next one can tell you more about my time here so far and our first trip away from base!....

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