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08 Apr - Heading back North

RRS Ernest Shackleton Diary

Position @ 1200 UTC - 3 hours: 50°52' South. 057°34'.
Next destination: Montevideo, Uruguay.
ETA: 11 April 2001.
Distance to go: 954 nautical miles.
Total Distance Sailed: 26,976.1 nautical miles (Since departing Hull, England on 19 October 2000).

Current weather:
Wind: WNW Force 4.
Barometric pressure: 1015.1 mb
Sea state: Moderate.
Air temperature: +9.0°C.
Sea temperature: +7.8°C.
Last weather observation sent from RRS Ernest Shackleton

RRS Ernest Shackleton departed King Edward Point, South Georgia mid-afternoon on Sunday 1st April and proceeded towards Stanley, Falkland Islands. Once we left the protection of South Georgia we were then faced with a large swell for the entire journey. It is amazing how much longer a journey can seem if the weather is not kind to you and we pitched and rolled the whole way, making our arrival at the FIPASS terminal, Stanley Harbour, on the afternoon of Wednesday the 4th April.

As we had not collected any waste from Signy, Bird Island or King Edward Point, all that was required was to offload a small amount of cargo and then backload containers bound for the UK.

The weather during our stay was mixed, as it so often is in the Falklands, with some rain and some sunshine. On the whole it was good enough for those that wanted to go out exploring to enjoy the experience. Each morning of our stay there were spectacular sunrises and a lovely sunset was seen on Friday evening.

Sunrise across Stanley Harbour. Click to enlarge Sunrise across Stanley Harbour with the Lady Elizabeth in the background. Click on the image to enlarge.

The plan was to depart on Saturday afternoon, the 7th, but by around 1000 the wind was blowing a steady 50 kts with gusts up to 70 kts being recorded. During the afternoon the wind did ease slightly, but was at times gusting to 60 kts and so following a consultation with the Meteorologist at Mount Pleasant Airport the decision was made to sail at 0700 on Sunday morning.

Whilst in the Falklands the majority of personnel travelling with us disembarked to return to the UK and Sweden (where some of the builders working at King Edward Point came from) and so now we are only carrying ten supernumerary personnel on the return voyage to the UK.

Sunday morning, again to a lovely sunrise, the ship prepared to depart the FIPASS Terminal. The gangway was lifted onboard at 0650 and the lines let go just after 0700. Using the thrusters the vessel pulled off the berth, being driven by Chief Officer John Harper, under the supervision of Captain John Marshall, and proceeded out of the Narrows towards open sea and Montevideo.

During our passage back to the UK the ships personnel will do general maintenance around the vessel, hopefully taking full advantage of the good weather to do some external work and painting.

Noel Lynam, using the X-Band radar. Click to enlarge The 3rd Officer, Noel Lynam, using the X-Band radar to take a bearing during his watch as we departed the Falkland Islands. This picture taken especially for Helen Lynam. Click on the image to enlarge.

A lone minke whale was sighted mid-morning and a Falkland Islands Fishery Protection aircraft overflew us at about 1250.

Forthcoming events:  Short visit to Montevideo and then make passage for United Kingdom.

The next page will be written on the 15 April 2001 and should be published on the 17 April 2001.


Weekly diary entries