Z-fids Newsletter No. 23

March 2010

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 23   20 Mar 2010 

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

News from Halley
After what must have been one of the busiest construction seasons
ever, the ships (both the Ernest Shackleton and the James Clark
Ross were needed to embark the summer workers) have now departed,
leaving a small team of eleven to stay for the 55th consecutive

Pat Power, the Winter Base Commander, writes:
"The summer just gone has been a very busy on in the life of
Halley. We had over 110 people on station, which is not bad for a
station designed to hold about 50! The Halley VI build went really
well and most of the outside works were completed. Just need
another good summer next year. The landscape of Halley is changing
ever increasingly. The Laws does not sit quite as high as it once
was. With the ever increasing mounds around Halley you would never
have thought that it was once flat!  It is the first time since
1995 that it will be an all male wintering team, the last of whom
arrived 5 days before the ship set sail. The team are getting used
to having space and a place to sit. It is looking like it will be
another brilliant Halley Wintering Team."

Keeping in touch
More details are on the 2010 page of the Z-fids website. You can
stay in touch by keeping an eye on the station diary. The ship's
perspective is recorded on the Ernest Shackleton blog
http://blog.antarctica.ac.uk/rrs_ernest_shackleton/ which seems to
have replaced the diary. The latest weather and webcam view are
available via links on the Z-fids home page (though the webcam is
not working at present). The latest on the Halley VI project is on
the BAS Halley VI website (link from the Z-fids home page).

Z-fids website
I have not had many contributions to the website since the last
Newsletter. Andrew Champness provided a storey about losing and
retrieving a set of false teeth from the gash pit. The 2009 winter
team photo has a novel feature: penguins in the foreground. Lewis
Juckes has written about Heimefrontfjella Geology, and a link has
been added on the front page to Peter Noble's Polar Poetry website.
The BBC has published a video of three fids at Halley talking about
how the Internet is important for their work; there is a link to
this on the Z-fids 2010 page. A Search facility has been added (at
the foot of the home page), though it may still be preferable to
use the various indexes, i.e. General Index, Picture Index, Name
Index, and Dog Index. Contributions to the website (text and/or
images) are welcome at any time.

Henry Dyer
Henry Dyer died on the 3rd September 2009. He was the wireless
operator on the IGYE and wintered at Halley Bay in 1957 and 1958.
He is greatly missed by his family.

Alf Amphlett
Alf Amphlett died on 18 December 2009. Alf was also on the IGYE
1957-58 (diesel mechanic), but he returned with FIDS as electrician
for the IQSY (International Quiet Sun Year) in 1965. He was a
Chelsea pensioner for the last ten years of his life.

Bog chisel
Of course we all know that a bog-chisel is a universally used slang
term for a crevasse probe. But how did it get its name? Mike
Prior-Jones (Rothera Comms Manager) says in his Glossary of BASisms
(see link on Z-fids glossary page): "The name comes from the days
when Halley had 'long drop' type toilets into snow pits.
Unfortunately, the waste froze into a sort of pyramid shape
(usually called a turdicle or sometimes a stalacshite) and required
periodic breaking up with the bog chisel, which was previously
known just as a crevasse probe." It sounds a plausible explanation
but can anyone confirm it? Who coined the term, and when? Although
"bog chisel" has been around for a long time, at least since the
early 1970's when I wintered, Antarctic jargon generally is
constantly changing. For example, people might once have referred
to going off base to the Gin Bottle. Now they would be going off
station to the Rumples.

Penguin chicks
Gavin Francis (doctor in 2003) has written to ask "Do you know if
the Emperor penguin chicks I stuffed are still in the bar in
Halley, or did they rot?!  The penguin taxidermy notes in the
surgery specified borax to treat the skins, but I had to use rock
salt instead..." Can anyone answer this?

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19 March 2010
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