Friday, January 27, 2006


So it's been a while since last post- but I have a very good excuse. The dome that holds the receiver dish for the internet was moved last Saturday so that a platform of snow could be bulldozed into it's place so that it wouldn't get buried by the ever increasing snow level. Unfortunately it took a week or so for lovely hard-working Mike to get the connection back. There were a few problems with the system, all of which I probably wouldn't understand so I won't go into- but the bottom line is that it's all up and running again.

At the same time, the email system was upgraded which effected network drives, as was the data server, and so everything was down for a while. I'm surprised the VHF radio wasn't being upgraded at the same time... then we would have been lost. Anyway, excuses aside I've got a few random things to write about.

Post on the pool table.

A flight arrived from Rothera by surprise (Glen the chippie there got a good flight and stay here, while Steve the sparky here got a fantastic flight all over British Antarctica). But still, it brought post... lovely lovely post, thank you Patricia, Parents, Margaret and Lizzy & Mike. For anyone that's interested the address is simple: Frances, Halley, BAS, Falkland Islands, South Atlantic.


Meanwhile we've been doing some work... as it's the summer we try to do everything that we can and need to do outside, so we've been raising uBaros, fitting new instruments onto masts, calibrating instruments and generally giving the area a bit of a tidy.

Andy up the met mast

Kirsty calibrating the uBaros

The uBaros are short for Mircro Barographs. We have a small array (100m apart) in triangular formation (with one in the middle) so that we can measure small-scale fronts coming in. We also have two Radio Micro Barographs (RuBaros) which are 5km away from base in another larger triangle. This measures the same thing- just on a larger scale. They haven't been raised yet because we haven't had good enough weather for it- next week perhaps.

The Adelie Penguin that's walked to the base this year (has walked a long, long way through very deep soft snow) by the one remaining sodar bucket.

Sodar is sonic radar, it pulses sound into the air and records any reflections that might come back due to temperature or density layers. We did have an array of four sodar buckets to go with the four uBaros, but we're concentrating on one now.

Mirages on the horizon.

Mirages have been quite impressive recently. They're caused by the air at ground level being much colder than the air above. Light then gets reflected and refracted to show a 'superior mirage'. Which means that objects like ice-bergs which are actually over the horizon become visible. We often have quite complex mirages, and it can sometimes mirage the snow between the main base and the CASLab (1km away).


Craig and myself enjoying a "healthy" moment watching tv with facepacks and a large glass of concentrated orange juice.

Summer is a busy time. There is a lot to do around the base to get it ready for it's next winter. It may only be -2degC or so outside, but we do drop to -50degC. No cables can be moved in less than -15degC and people get pretty cold doing anything outside, especially if there's any wind. The skidoos tend to be put away early March, though the bulldozer is able to run most of the winter (it doesn't like anything less than -40degC). Speaking of dozers...

Me at 'dozer school'

Dozer school was run one Sunday afternoon. I quickly learnt how to fill in a hole, since I started off accidentally making one. Big machines are great!!!

The hotel 'Windy Caboose'

Simon and I managed to get away for a little less than 24 hours. We stayed at the hotel Windy by where the penguins normally live, and it was a very welcome break.

Simon on the edge of the ice-shelf.

The sea-ice isn't back just yet, and we walked to the old abseiling point we used to use while the Emperor penguins were here. We roped into the point and walked to the edge (we had just seen a massive iceberg calve off the ice-shelf a couple of bays down and were being a little cautious). Just after I took this photo I was getting ready to sit down for some lunch when we heard a lot of ice falling into the sea. So we decided to have lunch somewhere further away from the edge. We actually managed to work out where the noise had come from by seeing some 'bergy bits' floating in the water in a nearby bay, and then was lucky enough to have my video camera out when the next small amount of ice fell in. We couldn't see the event from where we were sitting, but I was able to capture the wave on the otherwise calm sea that it caused. I look forward to scaring my Mother with that when I get home.

So, summer's still ticking along, though the ship should be here in a month or so.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A84 visit

So another blog with the plane on it... I would apologise but I LOVE IT!!!

I worked new years day (Met never stops), so as repayment I got a brilliant co-piloting flight... it just happened it was the next day so I was really tired.

Me at A84. That's 84 degrees South... I'm getting nearer the Pole!!!

The Camp that we came to relieve. Alex and Rodger have been decommisioning sites all over British Antarctica, just like the A80 site I helped with last month.

Out there there was the best cirrus type 1. Really beautiful, sundogs too.