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07 Mar - A Week of Two Halves

Date: Sunday 7 March 2004
Position @ 1200 Local (GMT -3): 56° 57' South 059° 37' West.
Next destination: Port Lockroy
ETA: 9 March 2004
Distance to go: 510 nmiles
Distance sailed from Stanley: 323 nmiles
Total distance sailed: 20925 nmiles

Current weather: Overcast, moderate fog, occasional short rain shower
Sea State: Moderate sea and swell
Wind: N x W force 5
Barometric pressure: 989.8 mmHg
Air temperature: 6.3°C
Sea temperature: 6.0°C
We are here... Click to see position map.

This Week on ES

A Week of Two Halves

Well, it's been a week of two halves as they say - the first half partying with the outgoing team from Halley on board, then a sudden peace and quiet when they left on Thursday morning.

Football featured this week, with the Middlesborough fans (yes, they do exist) on board enjoying their team's win in the Carling League Cup final, the first piece of silverware in the Boro trophy cabinet for over a century. Dave Worthy and Kev Waterhouse paced up and down next to the radio in the galley trying to follow the match on a crackly Radio 5 Live, and the beers were certainly on them that night. Later in the week, the doctor (me) ended up wearing a pair of pants on her head along with a Plymouth Argyle shirt after her team (Sheffield Wednesday) lost to Plymouth in a Division Two match (how the mighty have fallen!).

 The Owls are pants for once Plymouth supporter Mark Keen with Sheffield Wednesday supporter Sue Dowling after the 2-0 win for Plymouth - click to see image

All too soon we arrived in Stanley. We got there on Wednesday morning, which gave the folks flying home a day to do some last minute shopping and sightseeing and to sample the public houses of Stanley. Everyone was remarkably well behaved, although the ladies seemed to have stumbled through a mist of hormone spray and turned into man-magnets! After closing time the party transferred itself to the Red Room, but again was very sedate and most people were in bed soon after midnight ready for the early start.

The coach bound for Mount Pleasant Airport arrived at 07:00 on Thursday, a fine and bright morning. We waved the Halley team off and trooped back on to a strangely empty ship.

 Goodbye to the Z team The Halley team leaving the ship in the early morning - click to see image

Shack Season 2003/04 - Phase Two

The next phase of the Ernest Shackleton's busy season takes place down the Antarctic Peninsula and includes last call at Port Lockroy and Rothera and the Abandoned Bases project. There have been many huts and refuges built by BAS over the years, in its former guises as Operation Tabarin and the Falkland Island Dependencies Survey (FIDS). BAS is committed under the Environmental Protocol of the Antarctic Treaty to removing or reassigning these huts by 2005. The main work in clearing up the sites is being done by our old friends AWG, many of whom are ex-BAS winterers. Two seasons ago, a team from AWG (then known as Morrison) was based at Signy and removed a fuel tank, two buildings and a load of other waste. The waste dump at Fossil Bluff was taken out last season, and this year we are due to clean up sites at Detaille, Danco and Prospect Point - with maybe a visit to Deception if we have time. More details about these as we encounter them.

On Thursday we embarked 7 AWG personnel (Pete Willmott, Dave Mitchell, John Taylor, Dewi Edwards, Al Geach, Jake Dudek and Nigel Blenkharn) plus a film crew from Rockhopper TV (Saritha Wilkinson and Luke Winsbury), Chris Hindley (in charge of BAS ship logistics), Dave Burkitt (an experienced FID who is coming along to assess any historical artifacts we find), Rebecca Roper-Gee (an observer from Antarctica New Zealand) and John Shears (BAS Environmental Officer) who is in overall charge of the Abandoned Bases project. Along with Shaggy (Stu McMillan) who is coming along to be the Abandoned Bases chef, Scotty (Iain Airth) who we're returning to Rothera, and Ian Heffernan as extra crew for the Abandoned Bases project, we were ready to set sail for the Peninsula.

Saturday arrived, and after a salute from Jules to the crew of the JCR (which was waiting for us to depart the FIPASS berth) we set off south again. Tune in next week (hopefully) for news of how we get on...

 nice fat juicy seals The Shack back at Halley with some nice fat seals - click to see image

 Don't go! Keith our chief cook preparing to leave - click to see image

Crewmen of the Week

This week it's the turn of the catering team - Second Cook Ash Huntley has already been featured (25 Jan) so here goes with the rest of the crew who keep us fed, watered and housed...

Dave Bailey is the Purser, he's also known as "Open All Hours" and has got his selling technique off to a tee, well to a T-shirt or two anyway. Dave wintered at Rothera in 1994 and 1995, then immediately jumped onto the RRS Bransfield (the Ernest Shackleton's predecessor) and has been around ever since. When asked what he wanted written abut him in the web diary, Dave said "Eh? Nothing!"

"Safe" Keith Walker is our Chief Cook and feeds us very well, even if (according to Nelly) his food never matches. As they say, never trust a skinny chef. Keith also did two winters at Rothera - 2000 and 2001. He then had a two month sabbatical before joining the Shack.

Julia Forde is our only lady crew member. She didn't winter at Rothera but is crazy enough that you might mistake her for an ex-winterer. Jules is cleaning mad - 99% of the time she is seen with a duster and a can of polish in her hand, the rest of the time it's a vodka and coke. We all love Jules.

 The catering team, minus Ash Three quarters of the catering team: Dave, Jules and Keith - click to see image

Birthdays this week: A bumper crop in early March, with Noel Lynam (Second Officer) 31 on the 4th, Keith Walker (Chief Cook) 36 on the 6th, and Neil Sullivan (A/B) a mere 25 on the 7th.

Forthcoming Events: Port Lockroy and the start of the Abandoned Bases work

Contributors this week: Master chef Keith for his recipe (don't worry, he hasn't cooked it for years!)

Diary 24 should be available soon.

Hi to the ex-Halley crowd, hope you all got home safely in the end.

Bye for now, Sue D.