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May 18 - Only a Short Update

Date: Sunday 18th May 2008

Position @ 1200 Local (BST+1): 59°28.1 North, 002°01.6 East.
Next destination: Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
ETA: Presently Unknown - depending upon operations.
Distance to go: 195.0 nmiles.
Distance Traveled since Immingham this North Sea Season. : 471.9 nmiles.

Current weather: Blue Skies with Scattered Cloud, Sunshine and Very Breezy..
Sea State: Heavy Seas.
Wind : Northerly, 30 Knots.
Barometric pressure: 1022.1 Hpa
Air temperature: + 8.0°C
Sea temperature. + 9.4°C

Click to Enlarge.
Click to Enlarge.

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


The RRS Ernest Shackleton is still in the same place. Last week we were on the Alvheim Field between Scotland and Norway, and today you find us still on location on the Alvheim field. The 'Galley Radio' is still abuzz with rumours, but it seems we are not getting anywhere very fast ?

So there is not very much to report this week.

We started the week standing by the Alvheim FPSO (Floating Production and Storage of Oil) and the two ROV's were working. However the latter days have been marred by heavy seas and high winds which have whipped up the 'white horses' on the crests of the waves and prevented safe deployment and recovery of the little submersibles. Therefore we have been latterly 'waiting on weather' and that is where you find us this lunchtime.

Click to enlarge our current Weather Chart.  Notice it could be worse. we could be Offshore Iceland!
Click to enlarge our current Weather Chart. Notice it could be worse. we could be Offshore Iceland!

Waiting on weather might be bad news for the Clients who wish to see the successful completion of the job, but for the Shackleton Crew, it is business as usual. All the jobs around the ship still need to done and the routines continued. It is a good chance to catch up on some household chores whilst the vessel is outside the 500 meter zone. Once working close up to rigs and platforms, extra restrictions prevail, and a walk around the helideck for a little fresh air is more difficult.

Click to Enlarge the Bridge Front
Click to Enlarge the Bridge Front

Click to Enlarge the Bridge Front
Click to Enlarge the Bridge Front

This week I heard from 2nd Officer Ralph Stevens who is now changing over to the other crew. 'Hi Ralph'.

It put me in mind of one of his parting gestures before he left this team to take up with Capt Marshall's crew.

It was remiss of me not to mention them before, but the Shackleton now sports a very decorative pair of fluffy dice in the front windshield !

What's next ?

A 'Wackle-Elvis' on the aft bridge window shelf perhaps ? A bumper sticker reading ' My other vehicle is a Mini ' perhaps ? Or the best one of all is a sun-strip across the forward bridge windows with 'John' and 'Dewi' respectively (Explode the above picture for details ... ) !

And speaking of missing comrades, we would like to pass regards to another crew member who cannot be with us this trip. A/B Ron Pattie and his young lady had a bit of an accident last leave and Ron has not been able to rejoin us just yet. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope he will be back with us next trip !


Wavey Davey and I were speaking of Elephants this lunch.

' You cannot get down from an Elephant ! ' he said.

'Can you not ?' I had to ask ... thinking it was easy enough when I last rode an elephant on one of my more exotic travels !

'No', said Davey, ' you can only get down from a Duck!

Oh why, did I ask. ? It puts me in mind of Wavey's OTHER elephant joke...

Davey used to get so drunk that he would see Pink Elephants.

'Have you seen a Psychiatrist' I asked him....

'No'. Said Davey. 'Just Pink Elephants !'.

( The Management apologize and are in now way responsible for the quality of the jokes. )


The work here on the Alvheim Field will hopefully continue tomorrow when the weather is forecast to ease and allow our ROV's to be launched. After a little more work on this location, we should be released to Aberdeen to mobilize for our next job. But what that will be and where that will be is very much 'up in the air' presently. It is good because it is keeping us all on our toes as we try to plan where / when / how we will effect our forthcoming crew change at the end of the month !

Forthcoming Events: Finish working on the Alvheim field and head for Aberdeen.

Contributions This Week : No contributions this week. A very quiet week.

The next North Sea Diary No.5 should be produced in the next week or two subject to operations.


Stevie B
Radio Officer.