Gerard's blog

Nothing like a little bit of history

A couple of days ago it came to my attention that some of our winterers do not know who Edward Wilson was. I’m still working out what I think of that.

And how to remedy the situation.

Antarctic Food

It might not have passed your attention that I am a chef - rather a chef in Antarctica than an Antarctic chef, because not much of what I do is unique to here. Past Antarctic chefs - from Clissold (with Scott 1911-12), Green (with Shackleton 1914-16) and Cutland who was a chef on the Antarctic Peninsula in the late 1950's, really were Antarctic chefs in the true sense of the word in that, to a large extent they cooked and served meat that was shot and butchered locally. I, on the other hand do not, and indeed could not due to the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty.

sun up in Antarctica

Sorry, it has been a while since my last post - we've had a busy old time here at Halley and some quite remarkable weather of late.

Mid-Winter in Antarctica

We are - thankfully - just past our shortest day here at Halley and we have been enjoying a week off to make the most of our temporary isolation. Well, I say temporary, but we still have just over four months before we will hear and see the BAS planes coming across the ice sheet - so as usual this is a relative timeframe.

sun down and mid winter presents and radio 2

The sun left us last week - dropping beneath the northern horizon mid afternoon for the last time for around 100 days. We marked the day by climbing up to the top of the base and lowering the old Union flag - this was done by our oldest base member Nick Warburton. Come early August, our youngest base member, Silver, will raise the new flag to celebrate the sun's return. Just a week since we lost the sun, our days are already very short - with little or no light other than a glimmer on the horizon.

Aurora and Diamond Dust

Since my last blog, I have been out and about on my winter trip, and we have had amazing weather conditions - our coldest, most beautiful period with amazing sun haloes and dogs during the day and wild aurora at night. Blessed are we to be here. I'll get onto the weather in a bit after I tell you about my winter trip.

kiting to Antarctica

A glorious day here on the ice at Halley with no wind and lovely light as the sun lowers day by day on the horizon. It sits at about 20 degrees now for most of the day, dipping only just under the horizon mid evening - even at midnight there is still a faint glow of red. Soon, however, we will lose the sun for 105 days - the dark period of the winter. Between now and then, I find myself taking every opportunity to get outside to ski, walk, enjoy the (rather flat) view.

Floating ice shelf news

The view from my room is one of unearthly light and movement. The sun is low on the horizon, throwing into relief the many containers, fuel drums and storehouses as blowing snow snakes around them, forever changing and appearing to soften the brittle hard landscape. My window faces west across the ice shelf towards, hidden in the distance, the southernmost portion of the Weddel sea and at even greater distance, the Antarctic Peninsula.

hurricanes in the Southern Ocean

I am sat in the sunshine in Port Stanley, which is an odd experience on a number of levels. I can hear my mate George muttering away in the background. His blog Mad Ratters Tea Party, is well worth reading. He is neglecting his blog today as he is still wobbly from the boat journey we have just completed and has spent the last hour drifting around the house trying to work out why the floor is still moving.

heading off home

So, the long wait to begin the journey home has almost ended - this morning George Phillips, my fellow traveller and one of our four pilots, took our luggage down from our old accommodation block to our new home, the Pharos. A big red taxi. Our cabins are right in the middle of the ship, and we've plenty of space to roll around in - which we will be doing a fair bit I imagine over the next few days. The journey back to Stanley will take five or six days, so we will be back in around the 25th all being well.

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