Z-fids Newsletter No. 14

September 2007

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 14   01 Sep 2007 

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

News from Halley
Pete Milner, Halley winter base commander, sends the following:

"Much excitement at Halley these days, but as I write home about it
I suspect many of my friends don't really understand. Those of you
reading this newsletter will sympathise I know, because you have
been here. So why the big news; well, we have just seen the sun! I
have always said that you don't always notice the sun going, but
believe me you really notice it coming back. In the past few weeks
we have been enjoying increased twilight, which is exciting in its
own way and enables people to get out and about more. When we have
good visibility nearly everyone uses the chance to find some
outside work to do.
Obviously we had a sweepstake to see who could guess when we would
see the sun first. This is not as easy as you might think. Many of
the calculations seem to come up with different answers, even
though the horizon is flat. Plus of course we could have a
situation when the sun would be up, but we would not see it due to
cloud or blizzard. Friday 10th August proved to be a good
visibility day and as we sat down for lunch folks kept looking out
of the window. It's fun to watch the excitement of the new team as
a small sliver of orange sun appeared above the horizon. I have to
say I was caught up with it all and found I was glued to the window
The plan was for Jim, the youngest member of our team, to have the
honour of raising the flag for the first time this season. He gets
to make a speech and then up goes the flag. It was a nice occasion
with the whole base attending, including the sleeping night watch
man. This momentous occasion in the Antarctic calendar, well to us
anyway, means we have completed our period of 105 days without the
We have still got lots of work to do before the summer officially
arrives at the end of October. For us summer starts when the first
aircraft arrives bringing other people! That too is going to be
interesting, as we have not seen any other people since the end of
February. Often the arrival of different FIDS tests our social
skills, but it will be fun. With luck they will bring some post and
if we have been good there may actually be fresh fruit and veg. How
exciting will that be? We ate the last apple ages ago and salad is
a distant memory.
Temperatures have been dropping to -40C since midwinter but we were
recently surprised to find a cloudy, warm day providing
temperatures of -15C. Outrageously like summer and most of us found
it odd. You could stand outside with your face uncovered. Amazing.
I guess we have adapted to the winter and now that it's back to a
more respectable -30C we are happier. Cold, crisp and clear is
great as after you have been outside for a while your eyelashes
start to build up frost. Makes for good photographs, that."

Many thanks to Pete for keeping us up to date with news from
Halley. For more information, look at the various blogs of base
members (links on the 2007 page of the Z-fids website).

An Apology
The Z-fids website was unavailable from 15 June to 22 June 2007.
This was due to the service provider, Demon Internet, carrying out
an upgrade which did not work properly, and it took them a week to
get it sorted out. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

The Z-fids website
New on the website, since the last newsletter: 
Julian Rouse contributed a nice picture of a flying skidoo (see
Skidoo in the Picture Index). Mix Dixon added a list of slang terms
current during 1984/85 (Glossaries link from the home page). The
discussion on the origin of the name "Gin Bottle" continued.
Richard Stewart recalled memories of Steve Holdich (killed in a
helicopter accident earlier in the year).
Contributions to the website have been declining, which I guess is
inevitable as the website matures (it has been going since June
2001), but are still always welcome. If you have any memories,
pictures, etc., which you think would be of interest to others,
please send them in.
I would be interested in adding more to the "Notable
events/features of the year" at the top of each year page. Please
have a look at the pages for the year(s) you were at Halley, and
see if you can add any items. In particular, we have nothing at all
for 1999.

Although the site has (as far as I am aware) a full list of
winterers, the list of summer personnel is far from complete. If
you were there in the summer and would like to be listed, please
let me know (via the registration form).

I have now run out of space for any more images on the website.
However this is not a problem, as I have put some of them out to
the Google image sharing site picasa.google.com with links from
Z-fids so there is no difference to how the site appears to users.

There are a number of broken links on the website at present. This
is at least partly due to the reorganisation of the BAS website in
July. Many of the former links no longer worked, and some are still
not working (e.g. those in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 Halley diaries).
I will try to get this situation remedied as soon as possible.

Visits to IGY base
On the Six Bases page (link from the home page), I have a note that
Halley I was last visited in 1978 (by Kevin Gilbert and Martin
Leeson) but I don't have any confirmation of this. If anyone
visited Halley I after this, or can otherwise add any information,
please let me know.

Transglobe Expedition
It is now 25 years since this expedition round the world via both
poles was successfully led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Anyone at Halley
in January/ February 1980, will remember the expedition twin Otter
landing to refuel in the course of preparing for the expedition. To
mark the occasion there will be an event at the Royal Geographical
Society on 10th September. For details, see

Fuchs Foundation
Also at the RGS, on 24th October, will be an evening of lectures
and a reception to launch the public appeal for the Fuchs
Foundation. This is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of
the start of the Antarctic Crossing by Sir Vivian Fuchs' Trans
Antarctic Expedition in 1957. The funds raised will support the
travel of school teachers to the polar regions, and in particular
the Fuchs Foundation Antarctic Expedition 2007, which will start in
November. For more information and an application form (for the
evening, not the expedition), visit www.fuchsfoundation.org

Halley 50th - Z50
A framed Z50 poster, including all the group photos of those who
attended the 50th in Northampton last year, is now on its way to
Halley. Copies may be ordered from the photographers; for details,
see Z50 on the Z-fids website. A few souvenirs are still available
(though not the polo shirts). For details, see the website.
Questions are already starting to be asked about the 60th, but this
is still 9 years away!!

Signy 60th Anniversary Reunion
This takes place in Cambridge on 14-16 September, although it is
probably too late to book now. Link on Z-fids home page.

Sledge Dog Memorial Fund
The fund is now about half way to its target and the bronze will be
commissioned at Christmas. There is also a film company interested
in the story. Mike Skidmore has donated a painting of Changi (lead
dog of the Hobbits team in the late 1960s and early 70s) to the
fund and it is being auctioned on E-bay in December. Bids may be
submitted in advance to the Fund treasurer, Graham Wright. For more
details and future updates, keep an eye on the Z-fids website (Dog
Memorial in the General Index).

The Fan Hitch
Andrew Champness (wintered 1963 and 1964) has written an article
about sledging with the dogs out of Halley Bay. It is due to appear
in the December issue of "The Fan Hitch". In connection with the
auction of his painting of Changi (see above), Mike Skidmore has
written an article about him which will appear in the September
issue. Look out for both article on http://homepage.mac.com/puggiq/

IGYE Sledging Ration Boxes and the IPY
One of the IGYE members has been having a clear out and has donated
a couple of old boxes to SPRI (the Scott Polar Research Institute
in Cambridge). The institute is going to feature them in a
forthcoming exhibition about the IGY and the IPY (International
Polar Year), planned for 2008-09. The IPY is now in full swing; for
details, see www.ipy.org. Rhian Salmon, who wintered at Halley in
2004 is now IPY education outreach and communication coordinator
for the IPY.

Halley 6
The modules of the station are now being fabricated in Cape Town,
prior to shipping to Halley in December. The steelwork and external
envelope of the building is being constructed by a Consortium
called Antarctic Marine & Climate Centre (AM&CC), and there are
numerous subcontractors for M&E, the hydraulic legs and other
specialist subsystems. For a fuller report and pictures, take a
look at the Halley-6 website (link from the Z-fids home page).

As usual this newsletter is being sent out by email only, to 445
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).
342 people have now registered on Z-fids. If you have, your name
will be shown as a link on the appropriate year page(s).


16 September 2007
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