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June 29 - The Shackleton is back again!

Date: Sunday 29th July 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. : Unknown.

Current weather: Blue Skies with Few Cloud, Sunny and Bright.
Sea State: Calm alongside.
Wind : Light Airs.
Barometric pressure: 1005.4 Hpa
Air temperature: + 17.3°C
Sea temperature: + 11.2°C

Latest position
Latest position

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


The RRS Ernest Shackleton had a crew change back in May, with Capt.Marshall's crew taking over alongside in Aberdeen. Everybody was 'chomping at the bit' in anticipation of 1 of any 3 proposed jobs of work throughout the world. As Capt.Harper's crew disappeared for a short period of leave, there were certain sad individuals who were interested enough in keeping a sneaky eye on the progress of the ship via the Shackleton Webcam. I admit it. I AM sad !

Through internet access from home, I could determine that the vessel slipped away at some un-godly hour on the morning of Sunday 08th June.

Early morning departure
Early morning departure


ünd where did die vessel gehen on Sündäy 08th ? än emäil vom colleägüe Pätrick on die other crew confirmed däs die Shäcketon wäs heäding oüt to eine job in die North Seä. Die locätion wäs off shore neär Germäny. For 14 däys, die Shäckleton wäs on eine chärter läying concrete mättresses ünd doing soündings jüst North äüf die Germän port äüf Willämshäven. Some äüf üs were looking forwärd to eine possible crew-chänge in däs pärticülär 'häven', büt it wäs nicht to be. Jüst prior to oür re-join däte die job finished ünd die Shäckleton retürned home to die Qüäyside in äberdeen. ägäin, täking eine sneäky preview throügh die webcämerä, we coüld sehen ät home däs die ship häd ärrived in die wee-smäll hoürs äüf Sätürdäy 21st Jüne.

I cän nicht säy if die crew onboärd häd äny television reception where they were working, büt perhäps they were äble to wätch die Germän Teäm äs they mäde their wäy to die Eüropeän Cüp Finäl in die Füssbäll ?

ünd so it wäs only eine brief period äüf work off shore Germäny, ünd äny rümoürs äüf work in die Bläck Seä seem to häve dried üp entirely.

(We apologise to any of the readership who does not speak German, but this account was written for the benefit of our German Readership - Danke).


Wavey Davey also came back this week. Unfortunately his jokes came back with him. He is also getting worse. See for yourself...

Quite topically, Davey was telling me that he once went out on a date with a Lady from the Red Light district in Hamburg in the days before the Euro.

After the 'date', Davey was about to leave her when the Young Frauline enquired,

'what about the Marks'...

'... Oh, about 8 out of 10', said Davey walking out the Door !

Then Davey went to his German hairdresser, Herr Kutt, but he was told that the German barbers are not cutting hair any longer !

oh dear ...


Life alongside is surprisingly productive. Without the constraints of working 24 hour shift patterns and with regard to 1/2 the ship being asleep while 1/2 the ship are working, a lot of work has been accomplished. Chipping, grinding and painting have been taking place on the Monkey Island and she is looking particularly smart as patches of corrosion give way to a new coat of paint.

But not only work has been taking place. Apart from being able to make that evening dash down to the hypermarket after work, and going to the movies or visit the pub, we were also able to arrange a little something special this weekend.

It was the idea of Carl, the Client representative. He resides locally in Fifeshire and offered to take some of the crew on a jaunt to Pitlochry today, Sunday 29th. With the able assistance of Micky 'he can fix it' Quinn the Purser, a rental people-carrier was summoned and numbers finalized for Sunday at 09.00am. There were only a few who were available to avail themselves of the offer including the web-photographer for the week, Stevie B.

On a bright and sunny Sunday morning the ensemble headed out of Aberdeen for the most pleasant 1-1/2 hour journey to Pitlochry in the heart of the Scottish interior.

The ensemble and their first port of call - or is that 'whiskey' of call...
The ensemble and their first port of call - or is that 'whiskey' of call...

The route taken
The route taken

Our first port of call was the Edradour Whiskey Distillery at Pitlochry, famed for being the smallest distillery in Scotland. (http://www.beautiful-scotland.co.uk/pitlochry.htm) Moreover it is the only remaining traditional hand-crafted single malt whiskey distillery remaining in the country, and well worth a visit. Carl drove us to the place and although the Distillery is not in production during a weekend, we were able to look around and get a good feel for the work they are doing there. And of course, we had an opportunity for a tasting before buying souveniers for home.

The Distillery - and notice that blue sky.
The Distillery - and notice that blue sky.

The distillery
The distillery

The visit was only short - it is, by it's own admission, only small. The smallest distillery in Scotland in fact. Within an hour or so, we had all slated our thirst - for knowledge - and armed with our new found appreciation of Whiskey-making, we went in search of Beer-making in a Brewery !

Pitlochry also boasts a small Brewery. Carl had planned to visit the Brewery in the town but when we arrived a few miles further down the road, everything was shut. Not surprisingly, the Brewery was closed on a Sunday. But all was not lost. Since we couldn't see the making of the local beer, we could at least adjourn to the hotel next door for lunch and a 'taste' of the local brew.

Our Luncheon stop
Our Luncheon stop

All roads lead to Pitlochry
All roads lead to Pitlochry

With a balmy afternoon, and with stomachs full of good fayre, we finished off the proceedings with an amble by the Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder. It was the most pleasant of days for a walk and many people were out that afternoon enjoying the airs.

River at Pitlochry
River at Pitlochry

View from atop of the Dam
View from atop of the Dam

Our arrival back at the ship in Aberdeen was late in the evening indeed. Hardly time to grab a cup of tea before settling down for the evening in the Red Room to watch the latest offering from the European Cup Final. It was an exceedingly good day and the scenery was more-than-welcome to mariners who are more accustomed to seeing sea, sea, and nothing but sea. A little bit of Greenery makes a most welcome change.

Forthcoming Events: Await the date of our next mobilization for a job off the Scottish Coast. This is envisaged to be during the next weekend in port.

Contributions This Week: Many thanks indeed to Carl Galfskiy for arranging the weekend trip and giving us the opportunity to report something from the Scottish Highlands.

The next North Sea Diary No.6 should be written on Sunday 06th July for publication on the Monday 07th - operations permitting.

Till then or... Bis später

Stevie B
Radio Officer.