Z-fids Newsletter No. 7

March 2006

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 7   31 Mar 2006 

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

Halley 50 Year Celebration weekend, Northampton, 14-15 October 2006
It is now little more than 6 months until our big celebration
("Z-50"). We now have more than 200 bookings, including guests. We
still have plenty of places (the venue - the Park Inn, Northampton
- can accommodate over 300) but it would help the committee if
people intending to come could put their bookings in as soon as
possible. The booking forms were included with the May 2005 BAS
Club Newsletter, or may be downloaded from the website, which also
has the programme and all other information about the weekend.
Alternatively they are available, by post or email, from me. The
names of those who have booked so far are on the website, so you
can check whether your mates are going. It is great that people
from the early days of IGYE (International Geophysical Year
Expedition) and TAE (Trans Antarctic Expedition) will be attending,
but bookings are relatively few from later years, particularly the
late eighties and early nineties, so it would be nice to see more
people from those years booking. It should be a good party and we
want to encourage as many Halley folks as possible to come. The
committee is considering asking one person from each year to
contact their fellow winterers who have not yet booked, and may not
even know about the event. The committee is also keen to emphasise
that this is not just for winterers. There are many people who have
spent time at Halley during the summer (including HQ staff) and all
those are very welcome. Very few of the latter have booked so far
and we encourage them to do so. Guests, spouses, partners, etc. are
also welcome. There is an A4 colour poster which may be downloaded
from the Z-50 home page.

News from Halley
The 2006 team are now embarking on their winter, the 51st since the
base was established. Unusually, only one of the 2005 team is
staying for a second winter; the other 15 are first years. One
suspects this may be a prelude to BAS adopting the practice of most
other countries, which change their entire station personnel every
year. The blogging tradition, started by Rhian Salmon and Simon
Coggins, is growing, and no fewer than five of the 2006 winterers
have weblogs. You can also read the diary of the Halley VI design
team from architects Faber-Maunsell, who visited Halley this
season. Links to all these may be found on the 2006 page of the
Z-fids website, which also has a group photograph. A photo of the
2005/06 summer team (courtesy of Simon Coggins), which includes an
Adelie penguin(!), is on the same page.
John Withers, the winter base commander, sends this news:

"Last call was again completed with the RRS Ernest Shackleton at
N9. This was the third N9 relief in a row and considering the poor
state of the creeks it could more than likely become the norm.

Relief was completed in two waves over 3 days and was very
successful with all outgoing cargo and pax loaded on board without
incident. I would say the usual feelings were felt by all, the
outgoing personnel happy to be at the beginning of the journey
home. Those of us left of course were sad to see our friends going
but were glad that they were and that we could start our winter at

We left the ship early evening and it was a real buzz to be sitting
on the back of a sledge as we were driven off the sea-ice. All the
folks were on the deck waving us off and for most us this was the
beginning of a new experience. We jumped into our sno-cats (6) and
started the long drive back to Z, approximately 5hrs.

The closer we got to station the worse the weather became, in fact
we experienced the worst weather so far this season for the next 5
days! So much so that we're sure that there was some 'start bad
weather' switch flicked on the ship. We could just see them all on
board having a good giggle... "Welcome to the Antarctic Winter
folks!"  However the last laugh was with us, as I understand it
they had horrid seas their whole trip back to the Falklands....
makes my stomach turn just at the thought.

Alas winter officially started on the 28th February. There are 16
of us this year and only one has previously wintered here at Z,
Fran Williams (2005). There are though some other experienced
people among us, Simon Herniman (FGA - 2005), Anto Brennan (Vech
Mech - 2004) and myself  (2003 & 2004) who have wintered at
Rothera, that other Antarctic station.

Well we've got the station squared away and winter training trips
have started and we're enjoying the first throws of winter."

New on the website
Steve Marshall remembers how the winter beer supply was flown in by
twin Otter at the end of the 2000/2001 season, when the relief ship
had failed to reach the base because of unusual ice conditions
(look up "beer" in the General Index).

Mick Daly reminisces about running round the perimeter, and wonders
whether the current generation of fids still watches "The Last
Tram" ("tram" in the index).

Following the comments in the last Newsletter about motorbikes and
bicycles at Halley, there have been a number of contributions on
this subject. ("motorbikes" and "bicycles" in the index). There has
also been further discussion about "Rita's Bar".

Some interesting photos have been included from the websites of
Russ Ladkin (see the 1991 page) and Mark Ryan (2002 page). Jim Keir
has pointed out that there is something odd about the 2001 team
picture taken at Midwinter (clue under the picture). John Smith has
contributed some photos of the old wooden ozone hut, when it was
brand spanking new in 1959. ("Ozone Hut 1959" in the Picture
Index). These pictures have an unusual texture, accounted for the
fact that the original slides were digitised by projecting them
onto a screen and photographing it with a digital camera! The hut
was later used for the VLF experiment, and burned down in 1976 "VLF
hut fire" in the Picture Index). More pictures of the Lansing
Snowplane, from Hugh Strafford's website, have been added (see
"Lansing" in the Picture Index).

Martin Winterton (GA, dog sledger in 1962) has provided some notes
about sledging in that era (1962 page).

The wintering statistics page has been updated to include the 2006
winter (668 people; 1029 person-winters for the 51 winters

The Halley-5 model, now in the care of Dave Brown in Budapest, is
proving a great source of interest to drunken Hungarians ("model"
in the Picture Index).

The deaths of Chris Hodson (1968), David Edwards (1961) and John
Holt (1962-63) have been recorded by a placing a cross next to
their names.

The "rogues gallery" ("Gallery" on the home page) now contains 44
portraits and continues to expand.

285 people have now registered on the Z-fids website. If you have
not yet done so, you are invited to, particularly summer visitors
who comprise only 18 of the total. If your email address has
changed please let me know by re-registering or emailing me. A
"mystery fid" recently registered but did not leave his/her name.
His/her comments were ""I had a fantastic time at Halley with a
great team, only wish I could have stayed longer than we did. Does
any one know if the air guitar that I made for one Mr Gorman the
summer electrician is still at Halley? I have seen it in some of
the winters pics on the wall of the bar. I also left my home-made
snow board with Paul Cousens the winter plumber; did any one ever
dare to use it again?" Does anyone recognise who this would have

BAS Club
Many thanks to the BAS Club for sponsoring the zfids.org.uk
internet domain name. If you have enjoyed reading this newsletter
but are not a member of the BAS Club, you might consider joining,
and receiving the excellent BAS Club Newsletter twice a year. There
is a link to the BAS Club website on the Z-fids home page.

Flags etc.
The Z-50 committee would like to decorate our banquet room with
"tattered flags" which have flown over Halley (there must be at
least one per year somewhere). If you have one of these and would
like to participate, please get in touch with Alex Gaffikin (email
address on the 1999 page), if you have not already done so. We
would also like people to bring momentos of their stay at Halley,
e.g. Midwinter magazines, Midwinter presents, Bar quotes books,
photos, etc., for display in the exhibition room.

Commemorative DVD
A reminder that it is not too late to contribute photos to this DVD
which is being put together by Stephen Williams and will be
available at Z-50. If you have anything suitable, please contact
Stephen at stephenwilliams@newbury-18.freeserve.co.uk

IPY 2007-2008
11 months from now, on 1 March 2007, The International Polar Year
will begin. This international scientific research programme is
taking place 50 years after the IGY (International Geophysical
Year) which was the reason for the base at Halley Bay being set up
in 1956. So we will be hearing a lot more about how current global
issues are being addressed through research in the polar regions in
general and at Halley in particular. Leading scientists outlined
their plans for the IPY at a recent meeting at the Wellcome Trust
in London. More information may be found in a press release on the
BAS website.

Disabling framing
The website name www.zfids.org.uk is useful because it is easy to
remember. It works by "framing" the real web page, so that all
pages on the site appear in the web-browser to have the same URL
(address). If you want to get the real address of any page, for
example to bookmark it, you can disable this framing by clicking on
the link at the bottom left of the home page.

As usual this newsletter is being sent out by email. If you are on
email but have not received it by that route, please register or
re-register on the website.

All the best, Andy

31 March 2006
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