Jan 24 - Halley to Cape Town
Date: Thursday 24th January 2008
Position @ 0600 Local (GMT): 33° 54.6 South, 018° 25.6 East. Cape Town Duncan Dock E-Berth
Next destination: Halley
ETD: To Be Advised..
Distance to go: 3141nm
Distance Travelled since Immingham this Antarctic Season. : 15426 nmiles.
Current weather: Sunny and warm
Sea State: Calm
Wind : 5 kts South Easterly
Barometric pressure: 1012.7 mb
Air temperature: 23°C
Sea temperature: 11.5°C
Up to date position information is available courtesy of ‘sailwx/info’ taken from our Metrological Observations..
Halley to Cape Town
Greetings from a sunny and warm Cape Town, a far cry from where we were the last time you heard from us.
Shortly after the New Year’s Eve brief festivities the offloading of Amderma continued and within a few shifts it was all over. There was a palpable sigh of relief as the last sledge was towed safely up the ramp and on towards Halley.
Capt. John Harper, who had travelled down on the Amderma and had been assisting with its offload arrived on board the Shackleton shortly thereafter looking rather pleased to be here. Conditions, although adequate, had been somewhat Spartan on The Russian vessel.
After the completion of the offload a contingent of ships crew paid the Amderma a visit and were shown around the huge vessel. It was interesting to get a glimpse how the Russians operate.
On the 3rd of January a big blow set in from the North East and the pack ice started moving in from Stancomb-Wills, the glacial tongue just north of us. By evening the pack had started to scrape against the ships sides as it slid by. The Amderma did not put up with this for too long and seeing as her moorings were coming adrift from the fast ice she let go went and sat in the pack ice a few miles off awaiting some good visibility to proceed on her voyage north.
The next morning in a terrible blizzard an ice berg was picked up on the radar approaching the ship. The Captain immediately made plans to move out as well. Some of our moorings were also starting to pull out and so we pulled off and the remaining mooring stakes eventually pulled out or gave way and we turned to face the berg, which was now less than a mile away from us.
Two skidoos were left on the Fast ice as there was no time to lift them on onboard. With a bit of skilled manoeuvring from Captain Marshall we rounded the berg and headed off in through the broken pack towards Precious Bay to hopefully get some respite from the encroaching pack. We arrived a few hours later and put the bow into the bay-ice and waited out the weather.
By the morning of the 5th of Jan the weather had cleared up substantially and we once again got under way and headed for Creek 4 to pick up the returning pax and survey the damage done to our landing point by the ice. We were pleased to see that the two ski-doos we had had to abandon at the site were still there and that damage was minimal.
Eventually the departing caravan of sleds and well wishers wobbled down the Ramp towards the ship.
When all were on board we managed to get the farewell party ashore and then headed off north with waves of farewells and few tears too.
Very soon we were making good progress through medium pack with no wind at all. Under these conditions the sea becomes almost like glass and the perfect reflections of the ice look like clouds and you can fool yourself into thinking that you are flying.
We were very surprised to come across the Amderma the next afternoon stationery in the Pack ice. We made our way towards her as they told us on the radio they were stuck. However as we approached they got going again and by the next morning they were astern of us and remained so for the remainder of the ice passage.
This rest of the ice passage was largely uneventful and the ice, although extensive, not much of a problem. On the morning of the 10th January the familiar swell in the ice was seen indicating that open water was ahead. As soon as we reached this point Amderma went on to one engine and started falling back. She is heading for Richards Bay off the Natal coast also in South Africa for her next Charter.
And so we headed Northeast for Cape Town and some warm weather. The passage north was sublime in comparison to our southward journey in December.
Since our arrival on Friday the 18th we have been busy offloading and loading of cargo and general maintenance. On Saturday the 20th A coupling failed on one of the Auxiliary generators. We have had to source a replacement part which is due here on Thursday 24th Jan.
The Crew have been enjoying there stay in Cape Town. Several have been up Table mountain and even a Helicopter flip around the Peninsula during their time off.
That's about it for this entry folks.
Forthcoming Events: Departure from Cape Town to Halley. The second call to Cape Town has now been scrapped for various operational reasons. This means that we will now go down to Halley and stay there for the remainder of the season. Our final departure date from Halley remains the 9th March.
Antarctic Diary No.11 should be out Early Febraury.
Contributors this issue: Phtoto's by Gary Kelly, Andrew Walder, Luke Rust et al..