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13 Nov - Sunny Offshore Brazil

Date: Sunday 13th November 2005
Position @ 1200 Local (GMT+1): 12°59' South 035°20' West
Next destination: Montevideo, Uruguay.
ETA: Sunday 20th or Monday 21st November 2005
Distance to go: 1796 nmiles.
Total distance sailed this week: 1908 nmiles

Distance sailed from UK : 4261 nmiles since Portsmouth.

Current weather: Sunny, Bright and Clear.
Sea state: Slight sea, Slight Southerly Swell.
Barometric pressure: 1011.0 mmHg
Air temperature: 30.4°C
Sea temperature: 26.6°C

Shackleton's Position Click to see view of the Shackleton in today’s position.

For up to date position information: ‘sailwx/info’.


It has been an entire week at sea for the Crew and Supernummaries of the RRS Ernest Shackleton this week. No land sighted, only occasional passing ships in the night, and totally unexceptional weather – apart from plenty of sunshine. Indeed, it would have been a truly uneventful week had it not been for the crossing of the equator at 11.40 (ship’s time) on Thursday morning.

The announcement was made and the bell sounded as we went over the ‘bump’ and entered the Southern Hemisphere where the ship spends most of it’s year and where the water goes the ‘opposite’ way down the plughole ?!

This last Saturday (12th) we saw the uninvited arrival of King Neptune, Sovereign of the Seas, with his complete entrage, but no-one has yet surrendered a report on the proceedings, and so I shall just submit a token gesture of pictures for your perusal. (See below).

But largely it has been a continuation of the work, the handover notes and the painting program out on the decks and your roving reporter was out and about in search of shots of industrious people in pursuit of their daily duties.

Jimbo Baker at work with the Roller Click to See Jimbo Baker at work with the Roller.

Matt laying new Floor Beading.Click to See Matt laying new Floor Beading.

Paul and Paul and a Rubber Boat. Click to see Paul and Paul and a Rubber Boat.

Back deck to see the Crane Work ! Click on the Back deck to see the Crane Work !

It’s amazing the varieties of jobs that go on during the daily routine of life onboard. The 5 FID’s are not spared as they get enlisted to assist in repairs, painting, putting up smoke extractors in the common room, mechanical jobs down below decks in the Engine Workshop. The ‘Met Chicks’ are getting their introduction to Meteorological observations every day on the bridge (see the resulting Position Plotting at the page top – extracted from the Obs), and our 2 Cadets are also getting some good training from the Deck Officers as time and operations permit.

In short, we may be only a week away from Montevideo and Crewchange, but the work goes ever-on !

FOUR FIDS, TWO CADETS, AND A CREWMEMBER Fall Victim to the Court of King Neptune.

The pictures speak for themselves. Caught, Tried, Found Guilty, and then Hung, Drawn and Quartered !

(well, not quite hung, or drawn, and certainly not quartered, but covered in smelly ‘goo’ very probably).

Court is in sessionClick on all Images to Enlarge. The Court !
alex Hung andy Drawn bob
marten and vicky Quartered matt

From Top and Clockwise…

The court is attended by Captain Graham looking very smart in his Blues.
Alex Takes the Stand … only he’s kneeling !
Andy Visits the Dentist ? Only who is the dreaded Dentist ?
Bob finds out. Wavey Davey is the man behind the mask !
‘Kiss the Kipper, Matt’. ‘Kiss it…’ ‘ Not make love to it ???’
Dr Vicky is about to find out the meaning of the word ‘Amputation !’
‘For what he is about to receive ?… is Martin truly happy ?’.

Apologies for those who didn’t appear, but there were far too many photos to choose from !

Wavey Davey’s Weekly Wit Spot.

Wavey has been to see the ‘Doc’again this week.

‘One minute I feel like a Wigwam’, said Davey.
‘The next minute I feel like a Teepee’, he said.
‘Relax’, said the Doctor. ‘ You’re just 2 tents’ !!

Davey this week was telling me about his school days.
He told me he went to the High School. It was the one on the top of the hill.
He said it was one that the Royals went to and supported. Yes, it was an Approved School.

The approaching relief date must be getting close, as Wavey Davey is becoming more impossible everyday with his incessant joking !

Ornithological Spot.

From ‘Flying Fish’ to ‘Fishing Birds’.

Bird!Click on Image to Enlarge.

Marine life has been pretty sparse on this voyage South this year. We were blessed with the sight of schools of ‘Flying Fish’ all last week as they ‘took to the wing’ to avoid the bow of our approaching ship. This week the flying element has been replaced by ‘Swimming Birds’… What a topsy turvey world we live in.

These Birds feast by diving headlong into the surf churned up by the vessel and spear fish with their beaks sub-surface. They ‘dive bomb ‘ at amazing speeds and disappear under the surface for several seconds together before emerging to devour their catch, shake off the excess of water and take to the wing once again.

Supernummary (and wife of the Chief Engineer) Pauline has been studying their habits at length and has been coheresed into penning a few lines for this weeks pages.

11th. November.

Yesterday at 11.30 we crossed from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere and heralded the arrival of the Masked Boobies and the Frigate Birds. Their arrival or maybe that of the ship is one of complete imperfection as it coincides with the final section of deck painting.

I have been asked to write an ornithological section for the weekly Web Page, the request seemed an innocent and interesting challenge, However, I already realise my limitations; I have no Knowledge on the subject of birds. I feel inhibited by the detailed reference library on the Bridge, although I have as a reference one of the books: ‘A Guide to SEABIRDS on the Ocean Routes’. Page 7 tells me that ‘ Seabirds, in common with all other animals and plants, are classified systematically under separate Orders, each based upon a similarity of anatomical structure’, this sentence becomes further confusing as it explains the individual Orders and separate families within each. ‘Thus, for, example the Lesser Black–backed Gull is of the Order Charadriformes, within the Family Larida, and its scientific name, Larus Fuscus indicates that it belongs to the Genus Larus and the species Fuscus’. This is not helping me to identify the Boobies flying above the ship. Are they Blue-faced, Red-footed or Masked? I did have a one-to-one kind of personal experience with what I think was a Masked Booby, (purely plutonic you understand) as I was standing on the bridge port side watching them, and one flew close to the window and stared at me, so I stared back. Hovering to the stern when the Boobies are about are the Magnificent Frigate birds, he has a threatening presence in appearance and attitude, and his shape in flight belongs to the era of the dinosaur.

Bird!Click on Image to Enlarge.

He accompanies, the innocent Boobies on their fishing trips and when the time seems right, attacks and takes their catch. Both bird-types are pelagic (inhabitants of the open sea), yet the Booby is a primary seabird (a bird whose normal habitat may be regarded as the sea) whereas the Magnificent Frigate (though also a primary ) has his species included in the secondary listings (those which normally live on lakes or estuaries). My mind is beginning to wander towards garden birds, and by comparison how simple it is to identify a Blackbird from a Robin, but I think I shall leave garden bird identification for another time.

Bird!Click on Image to Enlarge.

Bird!Click on Image to Enlarge.

Author : Pauline ‘Twitcher’ Forward.

Forthcoming Events: Continue Full Away On Passage for Montevideo, and arrive on Sunday afternoon, or early Monday morning. Crew change for the Shackleton will occur on the Monday and Tuesday with the GPC Team departing South America to their homes, on the Tuesday. We are due to embark 28 more FIDs in Montevideo so Capt.Marshall’s crew will be sailing with a sizeable compliment of passengers when they depart again later that week for the Falklands.

Contributors this week: Thanks to all this week’s budding photographers, Paul and Bob and Pauline and Martin. Special mention to Bob and his long lens that caught the fantastic Booby Shots. Thanks also to Pauline for the Twitcher spot. Acknowledgements to Sailwx Info for the use of the position information graphic.

Diary No.7 will hopefully be written on Sunday 20th for publication on Monday 21st November.

Stevie B
Radio Officer