Events and near misses of 1975


Kenn Back

1) The establishment of DRUZHNAYA Station during 1974/75 and 1975/6 seasons. Having a Russian speaker on base (Graham Chambers), and an ex-Stonington Fid (Garik Grikurov) as Russian field leader, led to a warm and mutually useful relationship in the later years of the Cold War.  We had hoped that this "warmth" would extend to being allowed to entertain female crew members on Base, but the Captain of the Kapitan Markhov gave a firm 'nyet' to the proposal !   It was noticeable how much better the Russian helicopters worked on decent BAS Avtur than they did on their own stuff !

2)  Winter 1975 was sandwiched by two bad reliefs, both involving N9 in their later stages. The February 1976 relief ( I am sure Captain Lawrence would testify !) would rank as one of the most difficult in the history of the Base, short of the ship not making it to Halley at all.

I'm not sure if 'near-misses' count as 'notable EVENTS', but as they still haunt the B/C's waking hours 30 years later, I'll add them here as a postscript.

a)  A winter appendicectomy was narrowly averted when the patient responded to heavy doses of antibiotics.  Doctor Eric Harvey was greatly relieved, naturally. However some other base members were actually looking forward to a bit of sealing-knife surgery, and were quite disappointed when the patient recovered.

b)  Shortly after relief (in ?March 1975) a smoke fire developed in the genny shed as a result of a fractured copper pipe squirting oil over the hot casing. This occurred during Saturday scradge, not the most propitious hour for averting disasters, when many base members were already pretty well-oiled themselves. Alec Hurley and others managed to get through the smoke-filled tunnels to shut down the genny, a matter of seconds before the oil ignited. This salutary confrontation with the real thing, so early in the winter, was worth a whole year of routine fire drills, as well as being a cohesive influence on the whole Base.

c)  At the start of the 1975/76 relief, two base members came within a couple of hours of their lives when the ice-cliff on which they had just erected a beacon of fuel drums to guide Bransfield towards 2nd Chip, suddenly calved, and was later spotted and noted in Bransfield's log as a particularly weird form of iceberg drifting out to sea - fortunately not with a 'keg and two Fids still on top of it.

[30 June 2006]

28 July 2006
1975 index page
Z-fids home page