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Ocean Harbour

Date: Sunday the 26th February 2006
Position @ 1200 Local (GMT-3): N9 Nr Halley (Brunt Ice Shelf)
Next destination: KEP South Georgia.
ETA: Sunday 5th March 2006
Distance to go: N/A
Total distance sailed from UK : N/A
Current weather: fine and clear
Wind: SSW 2/3
Sea State: Calm
Barometric pressure: 998
Air temperature: -10.5
Sea temperature: -2.0

Click on www.sailwx.info for our latest position


Update for the Ernest Shackleton

On the 5th February the Ernest Shackleton arrived in Hound bay to uplift a BAS field party of four which have been in the area studying the Penguin population since early December, we arrived early in the morning and the party was onboard with all their equipment by lunchtime so it was decided while in the area to sail round to Ocean Harbour to remove an old Reindeer enclosure which is no longer used.

Loading Tula at Hound Bay.
Loading Tula at Hound Bay.

Ocean Harbour is a sheltered cove long since abandoned by the whalers and sealers the only thing that remains is a few items of rusting machinery and remains of wooden buildings. There was also three yachts sheltering in the Harbour.

Ocean Harbour South Georgia
Ocean Harbour South Georgia

Soon after arriving the RIBs were launched and the Morrisons team were sent ashore to start dismantling the old enclosure.

Dismantling a reindeer enclosure at Ocean Harbour
Dismantling a reindeer enclosure at Ocean Harbour

Myles Lee cutting up the wire fences
Myles Lee cutting up the wire fences

The Ernest Shackleton at Ocean Harbour
The Ernest Shackleton at Ocean Harbour

As it was such good weather most people aboard the ship managed to get ashore to stretch there legs for a couple hours at least, There was plenty of wildlife to be seen with King Penguins and Elephant Seals in abundance along with Fur Seals and the odd Reindeer to be seen in the distance.

King Penguins at Ocean Harbour
King Penguins at Ocean Harbour

Elephant Seals at Ocean Harbour
Elephant Seals at Ocean Harbour

Andy Rutter (Motorman) & Keith Walker (Chief Cook) aboard an old steam engine
Andy Rutter (Motorman) & Keith Walker (Chief Cook) aboard an old steam engine

As soon as the enclosure fences and posts were dismantled they were bagged up and sent off to be loaded on to the ship for later disposal in the Falklands. By late afternoon all the work was complete and the ship headed off toward the otherside of South Georgia to see if Schieper Bay was workable, To remove the now demolished hut but had to be abandoned due to the weather.

RIB in Ocean Harbour loaded with rubbish returning to the Shackleton
RIB in Ocean Harbour loaded with rubbish returning to the Shackleton

On Monday the 6th the Ship arrived in the Schlieper Bay area and the team was sent ashore to start bagging up all the debris from the hut ready for removal and by late afternoon everything was ready for collection.

The dismantled hut bagged up and ready for collection at Schlieper Bay
The dismantled hut bagged up and ready for collection at Schlieper Bay

First thing Tuesday morning Tula the Cargo Tender was launched and sent into the Bay to collect the bags that were filled the day before and watched over by a few curious King Penguins.

Curious King Penguins at Schlieper Bay
Curious King Penguins at Schlieper Bay

Loading Tula at Schlieper Bay
Loading Tula at Schlieper Bay

Fur Seal Pup makes its self comfortable amongst the rubbish
Fur Seal Pup makes its self comfortable amongst the rubbish

By lunch time all the debris was removed from Schlieper Bay including the Kitchen Sink which completes the planned clean up around South Georgia and the ship then headed off towards King Edward Point which is on the other side of the Island.

Everything but the kitchen sink?
Everything but the kitchen sink?

The Ernest Shackleton arrived at K.E.P. and was all fast alongside by 7pm so a BBQ was organized on the base and was enjoyed by all.

The Ernest Shackleton alongside at King Edward Point, South Georgia
The Ernest Shackleton alongside at King Edward Point, South Georgia

On Wednesday the 8th Feb. the clean up team was disembarked along with their heavy equipment, meanwhile the people who were not involved in the cargo operations went for a brief walk to the abandoned whaling station and Museum at Grytvicken and by midday all the cargo was offloaded and the ship sailed heading for the Falkland Islands once again.We had good weather en route so it was a chance for the Engineers to open the forward Ballast Tank for inspection and calibration of the sensors.

2nd Engineer Mally Inch looks up out of the forward ballast tank
2nd Engineer Mally Inch looks up out of the forward ballast tank

Chief Engineer Peter Brigden behind bars? inside the forward ballast tank.
Chief Engineer Peter Brigden behind bars? inside the forward ballast tank.

The ship arrived in Mare Harbour on Sunday the 12th and over the next three days the demolition debris was unloaded for disposal, Also while in Mare Harbour we held a reception onboard for the senior officers from the nearby Mount Pleasant Airport. We left Mare Harbour on Wednesday and sailed to Port Stanley to take on bunkers and fresh provisions for the Ship and Bases.

Ernest Shackleton alongside FIPASS in Port Stanley with the fisheries patrol ship Dorado.
Ernest Shackleton alongside FIPASS in Port Stanley with the fisheries patrol ship Dorado.

The Ernest Shackleton departed Port Stanley on Friday 17th Feb and after reasonable weather we arrived in the South Orkney Islands and Signy Base on Monday the 20th to drop off Paul Bridge and Mike Flowerdew who will be doing various studies until we return in about a months time. As soon as they were safely ashore along with some fresh provisions for the base, The ship departed and headed South and into the Weddel Sea towards Halley for the final call this season, We encountered some bad weather en route and with the cold air and sea temperature's the ship soon started to ice up on the outside as the the sea spray was almost frozen before it landed on the ship. The Foscle Deck got the worst of the icing along with quite a few port holes throughout the ship.

Icing on the Foscle deck.
Icing on the Foscle deck.

Anchor Chain iced up
Anchor Chain iced up

Chilled view from the Red Room port hole.
Chilled view from the Red Room port hole.

On Saturday 25th February we arrived at N9 which is 60km from Halley Base and started the final relief before the ship will head North for the last time this season. At the time of writing the cargo operations were in full swing and the ship filling up with people who will be in transit back to the Falklands with us and then fly to the UK just in time for Spring and hopefully the start of better weather at home

Loading a Nodwell at N9 nr Halley on the Brunt Ice Shelf.
Loading a Nodwell at N9 nr Halley on the Brunt Ice Shelf.

That's about all the news from the Ernest Shackleton for now so to all our friends and Family back at home a big hello and we will see you all in about 3 weeks time.

Dave Bailey.