Sundown

Every year at Halley we enjoy 3 months of 24 h daylight and conversely also 3 months of darkness when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon. Today, the 30th April, we celebrated the last sunset and bid the sun goodbye until August. Sadly the weather has been windy and cloudy for the last few days and the last sighting of the actual sun disk was on Tuesday, but just on time for the ceremony the winds dropped and the clouds parted to reflect a beautiful pink glow to the north indicating a setting sun. As is tradition we all gathered on the roof of E1 module where the flagpole is located and at 13:40, after an hour and a half of daylight, the station elder and in our case also the most experienced winterer, Matt Hooper (photo by Stuart Holroyd), lowered what was left of the tattered Union Jack. The flag will be raised again on sunup at the beginning of August by the youngest winterer. The milder winds in summer are enough to shred the flag within less than a year. To mark the occasion we opened a bottle of our finest fizz and toasted to a good winter before the champagne froze in our glasses. Even in lower wind speeds of 15 kts at -23 °C you get very cold very quickly and so we wandered back inside for a late lunch. After warming up we enjoyed a delicious BBQ of springbok, chicken skewers, pork medallions and steak with pepper and stilton sauces along with good company and excited anticipation of the long winter ahead and all that the Antarctic winter has to offer.

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