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Dec 11 - The Shackleton Departs Capetown

Date: Tuesday 11th December 2007

Position @ 0600 Local (GMT): 53° 05.1 South, 007°41.5 East. Passing Bouvet Island.
Next destination: Halley, Antarctica.
ETA: To Be Advised..
Distance to go: 1664 nmiles.
Distance Travelled since Immingham this Antarctic Season. : 9109 nmiles.
Current weather: Overcast and cold
Sea State: 7.
Wind : North westerly, 11 Knots.
Barometric pressure: 1008 Hpa
Air temperature: +0,8°C
Sea temperature. +0.1°C

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

Sailwx
Sailwx

THE SHACKLETON DEPARTS CAPE TOWN.

After an all to brief stay in Cape Town the Shackleton once again cut it tethers with terra firma and headed out to sea. The Stop in

Cape Town included a crew change and refuelling of the vessel plus some minor repairs and stores.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge


There was quite a bit of excitement onboard at being in a new and unfamiliar port. There were lots of new things to see and the berth that the Shackleton was in could not have been better. Right in the V&A Waterfront (This is the Victoria and "Alfred" Waterfront not Albert. I will let you all try and work out why) which has become a major tourist destination over the last few years. There are enough pubs and restaurants here to keep you busy for a few weeks, so the lads had a good time ashore. a Few intrepid souls even made it up to the top of Table Mountain,. most by cable car but some managed the climb.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


Whilst in port we hosted a meet and greet evening on board for all the relevant parties involved in the Halley-6 project plus members from the South African and German Antarctic programs. There was also British consulate representation present. It was a very good opportunity to get know the people involved and exchange contact details for the coming season. The Germans are also commencing building a new base at there Neumayer station this season, so there was a lot of common ground.

Anderma loading
Anderma loading


S.A. Agulhas leaving port for SANAE
S.A. Agulhas leaving port for SANAE


We also had an opportunity to sea the Russian ice-breaker Amderma loading in port. This vessel will be bringing down the majority of the Halley-6 building materials. This vessel will be leaving Cape Town approximately one week after we depart. The S.A. Agulhas, the South African Antarctic ship, was berthed just opposite us and left a few days prior to our departure.

Leaving Cape Town

And so it was with sad hearts that the time came to finally depart the Mother City on Wednesday morning. After a brief delay in the bay to do some trials on the Azimuth Thruster we dropped off the Engineer and pointed our bow southwards towards Antarctica. Table Mountain looked sublime as it slowly receded into the distance and finally disappeared. The weather was clear and calm and soon we were making good speed in gentle lazy swells.

Table mountain - Click to enlarge
Table mountain - Click to enlarge


The next few days were spent getting shipshape and sea-legs as all the new crew and passengers settled in. By the weekend the seas had picked up and become steadily worse and the temperature started to drop. Our usual escort of Albatross soon found us and we marvelled at there effortless gliding over the wave tops, a truly inspiring sight to see.

Albatross - Click to enlarge
Albatross - Click to enlarge



On Saturday Evening Simon Gill of Morrisons, the building contractors, gave a presentation to ships crew of the the new Halley 5 base. A very impressive and unique modular design. We wish them all well in their endeavours and hope to provide the support required. Part of the Morrison's crew is a South African contingent of artisans and it has been quite a novelty to hear the S.A. accents all over the ship and occasional snippets of Afrikaans.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge



The last two days the weather has been pretty atrocious and we have had to change course a few times to make it all bearable.
We are now down at 50 South and in the middle of a series of low pressure systems making there way east. This is typical for this neck of the woods and we will just have to grin and bear it for now.

Stern deck awash
Stern deck awash


Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


We have been having regular Radio Scheds with the S.A Agulhas. She is on her way to Bouvet Island, known as the remotest spot of land on earth ie further away in all directions from any other land. They will be dropping off a team of people who will spend the summer season there mostly doing seal and bird work. They will be picked up by the Agulhas in early March. Other news is that the Polarstern the German ship which left Cape Town about a week before us is currently in the ice and not able to make any progress. They are awaiting a change in the weather which they hope will relieve some of the ice pressure and allow her to continue.

Satellite ice pic
Satellite ice pic


All of this awaits us too, we should be getting to the ice edge by late Wednesday or Thursday if we make good progress.

The satellite ice pictures we have been receiving are not very encouraging and looks at the moment as if it will will be difficult ice passage this year.

Next week we should have some interesting ice stories and photographs for you.

Forthcoming Events: Arrival Halley - Who knows when?
Contributions This Week :
    Antarctic Diary No.9 should be out around the 18th December.

"Totsiens" Goodbye Everybody

Patrick O'Hara
Radio Officer.