Z-fids Newsletter No. 16

March 2008

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 16   29 Mar 2008 

Editor: Andy Smith  (email andy@smitha.demon.co.uk)
Website: www.zfids.org.uk

News from Halley
The ships and planes have now departed and summer is well and truly
over. The wintering party is eleven strong, the smallest complement
since 1956! (For details click "Wintering Statistics" on the Z-fids
home page.) This is because of the Halley VI project and the
consequent cessation of the science programme except for routine
observations. There are no scientists wintering apart from one
meteorologist/ electronic technician. For details, see the recently
added 2008 page on the Z-fids website. The team introduce
themselves later in this newsletter.

The winter base commander, Agnieszka Fryckowska ("Ags"), has sent
this new bulletin:

"Winter has started at Halley with a small team of eleven people. 
Much of the science has been taken down so the familiar sights of
Halley past are not here for our winter. No SHARE no AIS and the
CasLab has been closed down. This is all part of the Halley VI
project plan and we have seen a very busy summer this year
beginning with an early input. The Anderma, a large Russian ship,
was used for the Halley VI relief and we had busy period dealing
with both her and the Ernest Shackleton.
The summer progressed rapidly, and with the construction site in
full swing we were able to witness the building of the Halley VI
modules. Of the six on site, one is fully clad for the winter and
the remainder are safely tucked away under tents.  We are able to
see these from the Laws platform and we watch with bated breath to
see how they survive the winter.
So it was with great trepidation we saw the Ernest Shackleton sail
off on a beautiful day. Back to base for some bacon butties and
look around the table at our winter companions. We have been busy
since, doing all the usual things such as: Closing down the Drewry
and winterising the gennies.  Ski-doos have been put away (apart
from the field 'doos of course) and we have been tidying up loose
ends in preparation for the winter. The summer team helped us a lot
so we are quite well set up.
Winter trips began in the end of summer. Taking advantage of having
extra field assistants on base and the extended summer season we
were able to enjoy some of the delights of the Hinge zone. These
still continue and the base feels very empty with eleven people but
we are all finding our feet and our favourite chairs!
We are looking forward to the remainder of winter and hope to walk
away with many fond memories."

Halley VI
The latest information may be found on the Halley VI website (link
on the Z-fids home page). The new modules are looking very
impressive - but will they work?

The 2008 wintering team
Thanks to all the base members who contributed to this section.

Agnieszka Fryckowska, WBC
"Originally from New Zealand with Polish folks (hence the name), I
have lived in the UK since 1997. I have always had a fascination
for the Antarctic, which began during my undergraduate years at
Otago University.  One of my subjects was Alpine Geomorphology and
our lecturer Sean Fitzsimmons regularly went south to Scott Base. 
Ever since then I dreamed of finding a way to get down to the ice. 
Coming from a science background I have previously worked as a
hydrologist, modelling rivers and trying in vain to develop
sensible flood defence measures.  I left all this behind (before
the floods) and joined BAS as a meteorologist.  Having lived
through a double winter at Rothera (2005 and 2006) I caught the
Antarctic bug and here I am again, in the real Antarctic, trying
out a Halley winter!"

Richard Burt, FGA, DWBC
"Born and bred in Edinburgh I spend my early years loving the
freedom found among the Scottish hills. A school expedition to
Iceland at the age of 15 broadened my horizons and the expedition
leaders, Tim Young and Pete Stark, inspired me to explore more
abroad. Since then I have been back to Iceland several times but
have also been on skiing, climbing and trekking expeditions in many
parts of the world.
I graduated in physics, went on to do teacher training in Bangor
and started teaching at Gordonstoun from where I first went to the
Antarctic on a sabbatical break wintering at Rothera in 2003. I
spent a further year at Gordonstoun before taking up the post of
Head of Physics at the United World College of the Adriatic in
Italy, a superb school with outstanding students. After two years
there I was ready to move on and once more headed south for the
Z winter experience."

Dean Evans, Comms Manager (second winter)
"I was born in a small village on the South Wales coast, with
dreams of becoming a scientist working in the Antarctic.  After
leaving university early to work in a laboratory in South Wales, a
friend that owned a small IT company offered me a job, and seeing
as it was less money, less stability and more hours but a hobby, I
took it.  Since then I've been in a myriad of IT related jobs,
mostly around Colchester and London.  I applied for the comms
manager job in Feb '06, not expecting to get it, but to get my foot
in the door.  BAS phoned up the day after my interview and offered
the job, and after 6 months of training ... I'm here."

Hannah Deakin, Doctor
"I grew up in Cannington, Somerset, and after qualifying at medical
school in Birmingham in 1997 I began the path that has led me to
Halley. I trained as a GP in Gloucestershire and for the last few
years I have been settled living in Nailsworth, and working as a
locum GP.
The Antarctic has always held a fascination for me, mainly due to
its inaccessibility and extremes of nature. The medical and
personal challenges are potentially extreme and I couldn't resist
the draw of applying for a job down here. Halley is a place that is
more than I could have imagined. Antarctica is a place I never
thought I would see and it's a real privilege to be at Halley and
to be part of such a great wintering team!"

Patrick Power, Chef
"I'm originally for County Waterford, Ireland. I have lived in
London for the past 20 years.  I come from a mainly restaurant and
hotel background, mostly all in Central London.
Over recent years I have become more proactive in areas that affect
the planet, and this opportunity gave me the chance to do something
more about it. This is my first season down South, so I can't wait
to see what Halley is really like in the depths of winter."

Joe Corner, Electrician
"I am from Crewe, Cheshire, and recently had my 24th birthday here
at Halley. I completed an engineering maintenance apprenticeship at
Rolls Royce and Bentley in 2004 and have since been a service
engineer and maintenance engineer on injection-moulding machines.
I have been working for BAS since September 2007 and this is my
first time down south. After a busy summer I am looking forward to
seeing what an Antarctic winter will be like. I have wanted to come
to the Antarctic since I was a child, and I can't think of a better
place to be than Halley."

Les Johnson, Mechanical Services Engineer
"Live in Barnstaple, North Devon with my wife and 2 children.
Joined the Royal Air Force in 1977 as a Mechanical Engineer
supporting Air Operations throughout the world, finally left after
25 years (fed up with being shot at) only to be offered a job on
Defence Estates at RMB Chivenor maintaining defence properties and
more recently as a building services engineer within the wire with
Alfred McAlpine.
Took up the offer as the winter Mechanical Services Technician at
Halley for the experience of a lifetime."

Bryan Brock, Generator Mechanic
"I'm from Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. I trained as an
Agricultural engineer and have been working in that field since. I
have spent time working for John Deere in Stanford and whilst
reading the Farmers Weekly came across BAS.  I applied thinking it
would be a great challenge and lo and behold here I am."

Scott Iremonger, Mechanic
"From New Zealand. This is my fifth time south, having first gone
south when I was 21 as an Army cargo handler. Then spent a number
of years in Western Australia as heavy plant mechanic in the mining
Always wanting to get back to the Antarctic I secured a 12-month
contact with the Americans at McMurdo Station. After a break, then
got a job with Antarctica New Zealand at Scott Base for 12 months.
Back to Australia for a couple of years then another 12-month
contract at Scott Base.
From there got the offer to work for Raytheon Polar as winter
mechanic at South Pole Station. I am now very fortunate to be
working for BAS as Halley mechanic, going into the winter with 10
One of the main reasons I enjoy my trade down here is the large
variety of equipment you get to work on, & the tucker on the table
at the end of the day."

Sir Lance a Lot
"St Austell in Cornwall is where I call home, trained in heavy
plant maintenance operating on various civil and rail engineering
sites within the UK  Served in the forces in an armoured regiment
after which joined the Foreign Office in London for a few years but
decided that kind of life wasn't for me and returned to heavy plant
and truck driving. This is my fifth time down south mostly at
Halley but have worked at all the other bases one time or another
including a tour as part of the ships crew on the Ernest
Shackleton. I think the Antarctic gets into your blood eventually
and you find yourself returning year after year."

David  Stephenson, Meteorologist / Electronic Technician

"I grew up in a small coastal village a few miles outside of Great
Yarmouth, Norfolk. Upon qualifying as an electronic engineer at
Norwich UEA in 2003, I entered a career in the defence industry as
an electrical/electronic design engineer, a career that eventually
found me settled in the country near Reading, Berkshire. 
It was after graduating from university that my desire to
experience life living and working in Antarctica began. Failure to
secure a position with BAS in 2004 did not discourage me, and I
always maintained to reapply again.
So, it is now that I find myself at Halley for winter-2008 working
as the meteorologist and as the electronic technician, looking
after the suite of science equipment that is remaining during the
Halley VI construction period. The experiences I have endured so
far are already beyond my expectations, and I look forward to the
rest of the winter with my 10 colleagues."

You Tube videos
New technology continues to provide new ways of learning what it is
like to be in Antarctica. Weblogs ("blogs") or on-line diaries
written by fids have been a notable feature of recent times. The
last couple of years have seen an increasing number of Antarctic
videos posted on the You Tube website. I have put links to some of
these on the Zfids website. On the home page, there is a link to an
aerial tour around Halley. Links to other videos and to blogs may
be found in the Links sections of the 2006, 2007, and 2008 pages.
The videos include "Raising the N9 drum line" and "Throwing boiling
water at -40".

The Z-fids website
Apart from the 2008 page mentioned above, and a picture of the 2007
winterers sent by Pete Milner, there have been few additions to the
website since the last Z-fids Newsletter. John Smith sent in a nice
picture of the John Biscoe arriving at Halley Bay in January 1960
("RRS John Biscoe" in the Picture Index). More contributions are
welcomed at any time.

Reunion, Halley 1984-87
A mini-reunion was held recently (14-16 March 2008) in Ingleton for
people who were at Halley in 1984-87. This was organised by Dale
Heaton and 22 attended. Dale's report on the weekend and a photo
are on the Z-fids website (see "Reunion" in the General Index).

The British Antarctic Sledge Dog Memorial
An update was circulated in February (click "Dog Memorial" in the
General Index). Most of the required funds have now been raised.
The statue should be commissioned soon and completed by the end of
the year.

Dog sledging
The latest issue (March 2008) of the "Fan Hitch" magazine, see
contains an interesting article by John Shepherd called "Memories
of a non doggy man" about dog sledging in 1971 with Mike Taylor and
Muff Warden. John also explains why he bought the Mike Skidmore
painting of Changi, which was auctioned on Ebay to raise funds for
the sledge dog memorial. The previous issue (Dec 2007) contains an
article by Andrew Champness who was cook at Halley Bay in 1963 and

Monument controversy
The BAS Club website says:
"The Antarctic Monument, sited in the UK and the Antarctic will
commemorate the achievements of all those men and women of the
British Antarctic Survey whose exploration of the Antarctic has led
to new understanding of our planet and our environment, but
especially those amongst them who have lost their lives. It will to
serve inspire a broader interest and a deeper understanding of the
Antarctic. This initiative has the support of the BAS Club
Committee and is being delivered by Rod Rhys Jones working with the
sculptor Oliver Barratt." 
However several people have argued against such a monument,
especially in view of there being a Memorial Orchard at Cambridge,
and have complained that the BAS Club committee have not consulted
the membership adequately. Several comments have been placed on the
BAS Club Forum, see

Dennis Ardus
Dennis Ardus (glaciologist 1960-61) died on 1st February 2008 after
a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.  He endured the traumas and
indignities associated with Parkinson's with a characteristic stoic
fortitude that will surprise no-one who knew him. Peter Noble
comments: "He was an inspiration to many a doggyman at Halley."

As usual this newsletter is being sent out by email only, to 442
people. If you are on email but have not received it by that route,
please register or re-register on the website (links on home page).
348 people have now registered on Z-fids. If you have, your name
will be shown as a link on the appropriate year page(s).


10 January 2008
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