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May 25 - And Farewell Remarks from the JH Crew

Date: Sunday 25th May 2008

Position @ 1200 Local (BST+1): 57°08.7 North, 002°05.3 West. In the Aberdeen Harbour.
Next destination: Unknown at this time.
ETA: Unknown.
Distance to go: xxx nmiles.
Distance Traveled since Immingham this North Sea Season. : 666.9 nmiles.

Current weather: Blue Skies with Few Cloud, Sunshine and Breezy..
Sea State: Calm alongside.
Wind : Northerly, 18 Knots.
Barometric pressure: 1024.5 Hpa
Air temperature: + 12.8°C
Sea temperature. + 9.8°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 back in port and fast alongside.

Click to Enlarge the RRS Ernest Shackleton alongside... well, almost!
Click to Enlarge the RRS Ernest Shackleton alongside... well, almost!

We returned to Aberdeen to mobilize up for the next job of work and upon arrival found that we had breathing space before embarking upon the next voyage. This is very good news for the present crew whose 'get off' date is May 28th ... so where to 'pay off' !

That 'Galley Radio' had the crew change taking part in Portugal, in Gibraltar and even as far around in the Mediterranean as Malta. As it happens, due to the delay in departing, we are firmly set to get off in Aberdeen. Not so exotic perhaps, but a lot more 'definite' !

But what of the work ? The Galley Radio I am afraid, can not give any firm rumours of where the ship will be working next ? There are several jobs waiting in the wings, but which of them will the Client take up first ? That is for the Client to say. The possibility of going around to the Black Sea to work is still very much in the offing, but so too are other options. We can only speculate on which it will be.

Of course, it is not so imperative for the off-going crew to know, but I am sure there will be much interest amongst Capt.Marshall's crew. Of course, Capt.Harper's crew will only be away for a short period as we will be due back in only 4 weeks, so it will also have some bearing on where we will be rejoining the vessel. Somewhere foreign and exotic perhaps ? Of maybe even ... Aberdeen ! Haha.

Speaking of 'Haha' we had better give Wavey Davey one last chance to redeem himself as a purveyor of jokes ...


Wavey Davey was seen one evening this week coming back from a run ashore. 'Where have you been, Davey ?' I asked.

'I went ashore for a drink at the pub' said Davey.

'I didn't know you were a drinker Davey' said I.

'No, you wouldn't, not since I joined Alcoholics Anonymous' said Davey.

'Oh, does that mean you have fallen off the wagon ?'...

'I was never on the wagon..' said Davey. ' I just continued having a drink.. but now I do it under an assumed name !'


Wavey Davey was talking to Ray, our Cook, which prompted him to say...

'When I was in the Army, I saved the lives of over 200 soldiers' !

Obviously impressed, Raymond asked ' how did you do that ? '

'I shot the cook' said Davey !


And finally - and we think that Davey is probably prone to exaggeration here - Dave

suggested he was once an undercover operative for the Royal Mint !

' How was that ?' I asked ... ( even though I knew I shouldn't have...)

' I was a Mint Spy ' he said.

Cheers Davey... and have a good leave.


Just because 'getting off day' is so close we can almost smell it, doesn't stop the work going on all over the ship. Well all over, around and even 'under' the ship to be exact. You just cannot leave the ship standing vacant for a single day, because just as she has a personality all of her own, she is also like a living being, constantly demanding attention and unhappy if she doesn't get it !

One of this week's jobs was to give her a fresh lick of paint around the draught markings. Draught markings are the numbers and lines that adorn the front and sides of vessels so that you can see at a glance exactly how much metal is below the water line. This is a measure of how much cargo and equipment is embarked and how much more is allowed without infringing upon stability considerations. Do you know that when we leave the UK and head for Ushant, the Summer rules change to Winter rules whereby the maximum allowable draught is reduced ? This means in the North Atlantic in Winter it is not permissible to carry as much as you would in North Atlantic Summer conditions. And so it is a legal requirement to have our lines prominent and readable.

But how to paint those lines down at the water-line ?

Click to Enlarge the solution to the waterline painting
Click to Enlarge the solution to the waterline painting

Click to discover it is Mark Tugs Taylor and Micky Brown at the helm of those rollers!
Click to discover it is Mark Tugs Taylor and Micky Brown at the helm of those rollers!

Bosun Charlie Chalk set the boys to work from the floating platform of the Fast Rescue Craft (FRC) to complete the job. It's amazing how much paint the Ice down South can removed from the hull of the ship over the period of one season.


The Shackleton has not entirely remained fast alongside since returning to the port on Tuesday 20th. For reasons of testing the ROV A-Frames or conversely to get back Starboard alongside for cranework, the Vessel has been making trips in and out of the port to the basin where she can pirouette and do the necessary 180 degrees before coming back alongside. The camera-man ( who was also the lines-man on this occasion ) captured such a moment whilst he awaited the return of the Shackleton from it's latest swivel operation.

The Shackleton departs for the basin with one less crew-member onboard
The Shackleton departs for the basin with one less crew-member onboard

Anyone having watched our webcamera this week might have noticed the port of Aberdeen from different aspects and even been forgiven for thinking we had moved to an entirely different port altogether. But rest assured it is only operations dictating a change of orientation that changes the view of the camera up the Conning tower.

Forthcoming Events: Crew change in port on Tuesday / Wednesday this week and then await instructions from the Clients..

Contributions This Week : No contributions this week, but many thanks to Cameraman Gary Hopkins for the use of his photos this week.

The next North Sea Diary No.6 is left for the on-coming crew to produce depending upon operations.

Goodbye and See you next time.

Stevie B
Radio Officer.