Sunday, 1 January 2017

Relief, Fakemas and a Module Move

Happy New Year to everybody! 
It’s certainly been busy here at Halley 6a for a number of weeks. And with just about 8 weeks left in the summer season there’s still a load of work to be done.

Our “Relief” went smoothly. For those that don’t know that is when the ship, the RRS Ernest Shackelton, arrives with all our supplies for the coming year (and more). Obviously we are not right at the edge of the ice shelf so the ship has to moor a little ways away and all the containers, fuel drums, random cargo gets dragged here on sledges towed by various large vehicles. Nearly all the new cargo came here to 6a rather than 6 and so we had two teams working 24 hours in 12-hour shifts for a week and a half.

This meant we worked through Christmas and Boxing Day and shifted our celebrations to the 28th  - on Fakemas. The guys who had been on nights had a day or so to switch their body clocks back so we could have a traditional Fakemas dinner together and a little down time.
From a kitchen point of view Dinner went well. We started with some canapés and some mulled cider. A soup starter was next followed by a mandarin sorbet before launching in to a full on turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I’m not sure if many bothered with the Fakemas pud or cheese board to finish but they were there all the same.  There were also the obligatory Fakemas board games on the go – Banagrams (if that’s how you spell it)….where have you been all my life??

Looking slightly Fakemassy in my room :)

Canapés and mulled cider. 

I managed to grab a day off on “Foxing” day thanks to Al and Rich offering to cook dinner for everybody. So I finally got out on my new skis with my camera and took a few photos in some lovely roasting weather. The base has such a small footprint at the moment, which is really nice for some reason. 

The garage and vehicles team has groomed the perimeter for a smooth ski around. 

The cargo lines are looking neat, tidy and plentiful!

I also got round to taking a pic of the fuel dumps. We use bulk tanks for a lot of fuel, but we still use a lot of drums too. These get stacked methodically – as shown. I wish I had got some photos of the unloading and stacking process, but these usually came in during Relief right before and during meal times! Maybe next year!

And the big news a couple of evenings ago was the first Module being towed here to 6a from 6. It arrived at around 2am. It wasn’t known exactly how long it would take to shift it here and it ended up being much quicker than people thought – at about 6kmph I believe. What a sight to see that coming over the horizon!

 A few of us hopped onto skidoos to go and see it and see it crossing the perimeter here. 

The garage and vehicles guys have done great work on the “road” and the tracks the Module left were so surprisingly shallow and soft – just a single hard ridge in the centre of each track. From the perimeter to its final destination the vehicles followed a central flag line. In this pic Doc Neil is taking each flag out and laying it down for the vehicles and modules to drive over. 

My camera battery decided to die, just before it got into place unfortunately.
We have another planned Module move tonight with the Drewery being moved in the next few days. This is the summer accommodation and will double our lovely peaceful numbers here at 6a (sad face). It means all the tech guys will be here getting to work on the Modules as they move over one by one.


  1. LOVE your blogs Sarah, and glad everyone's getting fed so well! Matt has been raving about the food haha. Take care! Amy (Matt Meaden's partner) x

    1. Thanks so much, Amy! Good to hear from you. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year and didn't feel too sad without Matt. The good news is that it's already 2017 so time is ticking on :) x