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Dec 03 - Falkland Islands

Date: Sunday 3rd December 2006
Position @ 1200 Local (GMT): Just Departing from Alongside the Jetty, Mare Harbour, F.I..
Next destination:  Signy Base, South Orkney Islands
ETA: 0800am, Thursday 07th December 2006
Distance to go: 707.5 nmiles.
Distance Since Montevideo. :  7493.7 nmiles.
Current weather: Blue Skies, Fine and Clear.
Sea State: Choppy alongside
Wind :  SouthWesterly, 12 Knots.
Barometric pressure: 1008.3 mmHg
Air temperature:   16.0C
Sea temperature:  10.7C

Click to Enlarge.

Up to date position information is available courtesy of ‘sailwx/info’ taken from our Meteological Observations..

Last Week the RRS Ernest Shackleton was alongside in Montevideo, South America.

This week, we are alongside in quite a different place altogether.  And although we are about to pull away from the quayside at Mare Harbour, East Cove, in the Falkland Islands, we will return after a little boat practice and remain alongside until Monday Morning (4th).

Chronologically, the Vessel sailed from Montevideo last Monday (27th Nov) and made good time and fair weather all the way to the Falklands, arriving on Friday 01st.  The work alongside started immediately on arrival alongside as we had an amount of cargo to tranship over to our Sister Ship, the RRS James Clark Ross, and the weekend was spent with many hours work on deck and in the Cargo Holds.

  Click on Image to Enlarge.

Work in progress in the Cargo Holds.

That is where we spent our weekend and tomorrow (Monday) we will deposit the last of the transhipping FID's (Scientists and Passengers) before we set sail for our next call, Signy.


Located 'just around the corner' from the Capital of Stanley, Mare Harbour is our usual port of call here in the Falklands.  It is the military port facility to service the nearby Mount Pleasant Airport and military base.  It does not boast much as a 'container port', but it adequately allows us to offload all the excess cargo that we brought South and send it by road transport to the James Clark Ross at FIPASS in Stanley. 

The James Clark Ross arrived at the Island's captial only this morning.

     Click on Images to Enlarge Mare Harbour... 

... it is so small, that perhaps it could do with 'enlarging'.

There was no shortage of cargo to tranship.  Starting with the containers over-stowed on the main hold, the Main Crane - ably driven by Bosun Charlie Chalk - swung load after load until the hatches were open and the contents emptied from the Upper Hold spaces.  Starting at 08.00 in the morning, the boys on deck were gainfully employed throughout the day until evening each day of the weekend.  Meanwhile the Engineers were busy over-seeing the loading of the bulk fuel that is to take the Shackleton down through the Ice to Halley and back.  Road Tanker after road tanker arrived at the side of the ship to off-load it's contents and depart for more.  You can see the Tankers hooked up to the vessel in the following photograph.

.The Crane.  Click on Images.

Charlie in the Crane,  Tankers at Mare Harbour,  and the boys 'falling asleep ?' in the hold.  

' Wake Up Boys '...

Wavey Davey’s Weekly Wit Spot.

Wavey Davey was in musical mood this week.  He must have been happy.  However, the ensuing joke is more of an audible joke than a written one.  I don't know if it will exactly 'translate' to the written page ?

At the local Monestary, the monks would take it in turn to read the oration as his Brothers ate a modest meal each lunchtime.

As always, the oration would start with the Brother from the pulpit singing ' Good Afternoon Brothers...' to which the Brothers would reply in unison 'Good Afternoon Brother'.

One lunchtime, the chosen Orator stood up and started with a cordial welcome ' Good Afternoon Brothers ...'.

The reply sang out 'Good Afternoon Brother', except for one discordant voice in the throng singing ...

'Good Evening Brother..'.

Quite surprised, the Orator sang out to the assembly... ' Someone Chanted Evening ...'
(sang to the tune of the South Pacific Hit Melody... 'Some Enchanted Evening'.

You will be pleased to know that Wavey Davey's musical engagements are limited and he will NOT be giving up his day job !

Davey has also had company on his travels this leave.  In the spirit of the travelling Teddy Bear 'P.B Bear', (As depicted in the Webdiaries of 2000), Davey took his constant companion 'PP' with him wherever he went and has the pictures to prove it !!

The Not-So-Further Adventures of PostMan Pat

Once upon a time (Oh forget that rubbish) Postman Pat was sitting in his chair watching himself on the television, when: -

. Click on all Images to start the Adventures of Postman Pat... ?

He was captured by Alien Bandits and their Alien cat.

.  So begins the not so great adventures, watch this space: - 

Pat will be back next week with more wide-travelled photos...


Surprisingly, the amount of cargo to tranship and the limited amount of time to shift it did not stop the Ch.Officer Dewi from ordering a full test run of each of the small boats carried by the Ernest Shackleton.

The FRC - Fast Rescue Craft.  The Humber Rib - Rigid Inflatible Boat.  The TULA, the ship's own cargo tender, and both the Starboard and Port Lifeboats, all got their bottoms wet this weekend in East Cove.


Click on All Images.

The 'Tula' stretches her legs, and the FRC takes to the water, complete with an escort of friends.

We also had the company of several Cormorants Dolphins in East Cove during our stay.  Seeing the boats going into the water certainly sparked their interest and the inquisitive dolphins would follow the boats around, or more likely - -play in their bow waves.  The 3rd photograph shows the distant shapes of the dolphins playing around the stern of the FRC whilst the 4th photograph was taken from the boat of the 'escort' in front of the bows.

Apart from giving the new crew a chance to try their hands at the handling properties of each of the boats, it also gave the Captain and Ch.Officer a chance to pull the vessel off the quay and stand-off on DP (Dynamic Positioning).  This thoroughly tested our DP Desk in preparation for use out at the islands later this season.  

Click on the DP desk to Enlarge.

2nd Off Chris, Ch.Officer Dewi, and Capt John threaten the DP Desk into submission.

For the FID's onboard, it was largely a 'first introduction' to that Island that they have only ever read about in the history books, or once seen on TV.  Every chance to walk the hills, find the Penguins of Betha's Beach or tread the main street of Stanley, was taken, and the FIDs were largely conspicuous by their absence.  But they will all be back onboard by Sunday night and depart the relative civilization of the Falklands for the Antarctic retreats of Signy, South Georgia and Halley.

Forthcoming Events: Complete 'making fast' and securing for sea.  Depart on Monday morning for Signy Base, South Orkney Islands..

Contributions This Week : Thanks to Wavey Davey Taylor for the start of his Postman Pat Diary, and for the camera work of 3rd Officer Ralph, and his boat-work photographs..

Diary No.3 will be prepared on Sunday 10th December for publication on Monday 11th December.

Stevie B
Radio Officer