Antarctic Demolition

Penguins at Windy Bay

As ever the start of the Halley season started with the long journey from London to Cape Town and then the flights to Antarctica. We boarded the usual Russian Ilyshun which lands on an ice runway and then did the 5 hour flight from Novo to Halley in a Basler aircraft.

Arriving at Novo
Arriving at Novo

The view of the new base at Halley 6 is pretty impressive as you fly in, although it still looks pretty small and insignificant on the Brunt Ice Shelf.

Aerial view of Halley VI
Aerial view of Halley VI

We were only on base for a day before the demolition team were off to the Halley 5 site to begin the destruction. It was as if the occupants had just left for a day out when we got there; food still in the fridge, plates on the tables, infact everything all still in place. All this had to be removed and sorted: Wood/plastic/copper/metal and then things we could use back at Halley 6 for the refurb of the Drewry building later in the season. It was all sorted and bagged for recycling; we have a 9 man environmental team arriving soon to check the site.

Halley 5 destruction
Halley 5 destruction

Soon it was on to the bigger tools, chainsaws, and cranes and in a matter of 2 weeks, the Laws building, the Piggott building and the Simpson were just a memory and a set of flags marking where they had been. They are now all palleted and waiting for the Cargo ship to arrive to take out all the waste.

Halley 5 is nearly gone!
Halley 5 is nearly gone!

This year the sea ice is fairly bad for the 2 ships to tie up close. The sea ice is extensive and thick with pressure ridges, which means that when the RRS Shackleton arrives we will be unloaing/loading (termed relief) at N9 which is a good 4 hour drive away. This entails a 24 hour relief period with day/night shifts for a week. Bummer.

What’s bad for the ships though is good for the penguins at Windy bay, and I took a visit last week to see how they are doing. With calm weather and good sea-ice there are loads of chicks this year and they all look to be doing really well. Some are beginning to moult to their adult coat and will soon be off to sea.

Penguins at Windy Bay
Penguins at Windy Bay


That’s all for now… more on the new workshop build and reufurb in a few weeks.

Series - Antarctic Painting

  1. Polar Painting
  2. Journey South
  3. The Journey Continues; Iceberg Ahoy!
  4. Ice Ice Baby
  5. The Weddell Sea
  6. Nearly there!!
  7. Halley 6 : On The Ice
  8. All Work and No Play
  9. Different Shades of Grey
  10. Racing Penguin
  11. The Move Begins
  12. Moving Postcard from Antarctica
  13. Winter approaches
  14. The Halley Marathon
  15. The Final Week
  16. The Journey North
  17. Antarctic Painting – Year 3
  18. Antarctic Demolition

8 thoughts on “Antarctic Demolition”

  1. Hi ya Ian, great to hear from you, and a very Merry Xmas !!! (Thanks for giving me an excuse to steal 10 minutes of quiet from the bedlam of having 16 Xmas house-guests 😯 to post this update for you. 😉 )

    By the way, I’ve marked this post with the location of Novo – zoom in to the location in satellite view to see the base in amazing detail. The massive Ilyshun aircraft can even be seen parked next to the runway!

  2. Hi,
    just found your blog on the net. I helped build Halley 5 back in 89/90. Quite sad to see all that work taken away but that’s progress. Hope it all went well for you.
    Good Luck
    Ian Elvis Payne

  3. wonderful trip news… missed you so much over Christmas… can’t wait to meet up!

    Finally we have snow here, children can’t wait for the ski sessions! x 😛

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