After the difficulties of pushing through the sea ice, we finally made it to the Antarctic continent on Christmas Day. Before this though we had our celebrations on the Shackleton on Christmas Eve with a 6 course dinner which was preceded by a game of football on the sea ice. The penalty area got a bit slushy by the end which was a bit worrying as the ocean here was 3500m deep!
The ship finally moored up at an area where there is sea ice still attached to the shelf. About 30 penguins were there to greet us and we were soon on a snowcat on our way 14 kms “inland” to the site of Halley V. It is here that Halley 6 is being built, but it will be towed a further 15kms inland when near completion. Halley V will then be dismantled and removed. Of course, its not really inland as both bases are on the Brunt Ice shelf which although about a mile thick here, is still floating.
My first task on the build was to fireproof the insides of the bottom of the modules. It was scheduled for 7 days, but I managed it in 3 ½ so have been helping to remake some of the scaffolding steps as everything here is either sinking with the sun or buried with the wind. There is always digging to do if nothing else!!
Now the ship has offloaded its cargo the work can really speed up, but we do get the evenings and Sunday for leisure: running or skiing around the base perimeter (5km), watching films or reading.
More to come…… but I’ll end with some good festive news……. I won the Christmas raffle ………….