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August 26 - Groundhog Day

Date: Sunday 26th August 2007
Position @ 1200 Local (GMT): 57°06.6 North, 002°50.8 East. Alongside the Ula Platform. Norwegian Sector
Next destination: Dusavic, near Stavanger, Norway
ETA: Thursday 30th August 2007.
Distance to go: 175.1 nmiles.
Distance This North Sea Season. : Undetermined.

Current weather: Overcast, Miserable, Raining and Dark.
Sea State: Moderate Seas, Long Swell
Wind: Easterly, 20 Knots.
Barometric pressure: 1006.3 Hpa
Air temperature: +15.4°C
Sea temperature: +14.8°C

NS Position

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

Hello Again from the North Sea!

I am afraid it's rather a small webpage this week, and that is purely because we are doing 'Groundhog Day' again this week.
Every day is pretty much like the last and tomorrow will undoubtedly be like today !
But 'today is Sunday' and a day of rest back home at the Office in Cambridge (hence, no emails)....
But then 'tomorrow is a Bank Holiday' and a day of rest back home at the Office in Cambridge ( ... hence, again no emails !!!).

Yes, that is pretty much 'Ground hog Day'

We get up, we go to work, we eat too much food, the more enthusiastic of us try to combat the effects of that food with a period in the 'Trimnasium', and then it's time for bed and we start all over again.

As for the work, the ROV's go over the side of the ship and continue with their inspections of the legs and risers and pipelines of the rigs in the North Sea. But since arriving on location at the ULA Platform last week, we have not moved very much at all. Indeed, we oftentimes move around the different faces of the Rigs and Platforms to allow the ROV's to gain better access to their target areas, but we have managed to remain on the South/Southwest face throughout. That is good news for those of us who wish to maintain communication links with the shore. Once you move onto the Northern faces, the Rigs will sometimes obscure the view of the Satellite Dish which is tracking the Communications Satellites.

And so although the days remain relatively similar, there is always the constant companionship of emails and telephone calls to break the monotony of the trip.

©'Groundhog Day' = From the movie of the same name where every day turns out to be the same February 4th over and over again !

To Norway

Our proposed visit to Stavanger last week was cancelled in favour of a return to Aberdeen in Scotland. This week we have a crew change for the Charterers and it is being arranged for Norway. Therefore there is a good possibility that we will get to the land of Rollmops and Aquavit afterall. We should break from our workscope around Wednesday to transit to the Fjords in time for the Thursday Crewchange. A crew change is a marvellous thing for marking the passing of time and also a welcome break from the 'Groundhog Days'. Hopefully I will be able to chronicle the visit with the ship's camera and have a little more to report next time.

And Now The Movie Bit...

Dur..... Dum !

Dur... Dum !

Dur,... Dum,... Dur,... Dum !

Dur, Dum, Dur, Dum, Dur, Dum, Dur, Dum.... etc etc etc !

( You all know how it goes !!!).

Shark 1 - Thumb Shark 2 - Thumb Shark 3 - Thumb
Shark 4 - Thumb Shark 5 - Thumb Shark 6 - Thumb

A sequence from another blockbuster movie ... ? Jaws ?

CLICK on the Individual Images To Enlarge.

In an effort to stave off the boredom, someone shouted ' Shark ' on the bridge...

'Oh yeah ?' ' Really ? '.

But in this instance, Dewi the Chief Officer wasn't crying Wolf ! Dewi was monitoring the ROV cameras on the DP Console when he spotted a shark cruise by. Myths of White Sharks cruising off the coast of Britain have been dismissed as fantasy, but I can produce the proof that these - usually - warm water animals are actually swimming around our fair Isle. Could this be a sign of the Global Warming that we hear so much about ??? The ROV team were kind enough to extract the above still images from the video footage they recorded. ( The Black and White images gave better resolution than the full colour shots ).

The Mako Shark ( which we suspect it is ) genus Isurus oxyrinchus, was investigated on the wondrous internet, and I found the following information, - courtesy of 'Elasmodiver.com'.

Common Names: Shortfin Mako Shark, Mako Shark.

Family: Lamnidae

Identification: Long conical snout. Large blue/black eyes. Lower jaw contains multiple rows of inwardly curving teeth. Pectoral fin length shorter than length of head. Juveniles often have more rounded dorsal and pectoral fins. Well developed caudal keel. Crescent shaped tail. Back coloration bright blue to purple/slate grey. Underside off white. In the Shortfin Mako Shark population of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands the underside of the snout and jaw of large adults are dusky which is similar to the Longfin Mako's coloration but characteristic analysis confirms that they are definitely Isurus oxyrinchus.

Size: Maximum recorded size 4.45m but more commonly 2m. Size at birth 60-70cm

Habitat: Coastal and oceanic in depths of up to 500m. Prefers clear water over turbid. Often seen swimming just below the surface with first dorsal fin visible.

Abundance and distribution: Circumtropical and temperate in waters usually warmer than 16 degrees. Highly migratory with migrations recorded up to 2500mi.

Diet and Behaviour: Cruises open water in search of prey species. Main diet consists of bony fishes and squid. Wounds and scars on the ventral surface and caudal peduncle of swordfish and tuna indicate that Shortfin Mako Sharks often attack from below. As well as a large assortment of bony fishes, Makos also consume a variety of sharks and rays (especially in South Africa) and larger specimens may attack dolphins and small cetaceans.

Reproduction: Ovoviviparous. Recorded litter size 2 - 10 but may be higher. Gestation has been estimated at 14 months.

Observations: On a recent trip to Guadalupe Island I watched a small (1m) Shortfin Mako make repeated passes at the shark cage whenever the Great White Sharks disappeared.

Similar species: Longfin Mako (Isurus paucus) distinguished by significantly longer pectoral fins, even larger eyes and dark coloration on the underside of the snout and jaw extending about half way to the gills. Teeth are also somewhat broader.

Reaction to divers: Initially makes fast, close passes in the presence of chum then slows down and retreats to a more wary distance but continues to make occasional passes. Otherwise difficult to approach. Rarely attacks without provocation but has bitten divers and swimmers. Also known to attack boats.

Until recently there were Blue/Mako Shark operators working out of Southern California but due to over-fishing fewer and fewer sharks attended the feeds until shark watching trips were no longer viable.

For further reading go to :-


Forthcoming Events: Complete the work on our current site, at the ULA Platform, and then move off to site location just to the South of our present location. We have a small amount of work to complete at the Tambar Platform before we make for our next Port of Call in Norway !


Contributions This Week : Thanks to the ROV team for providing the underwater footage and a thrilling moment on the bridge !. I also acknowledge the information found on the Elasmodiver web site. Many thanks.

North Sea Diary No.6 should be produced on Sunday 02nd September - operations permitting. To be Published on Monday 03rd.

Stevie B

Radio Officer.