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22 October 2000 - To and From the Falkland Islands

RRS James Clark Ross: Diary entry, October 22nd 2000

Noon Position : 52 degrees 58 ' South. 44 degrees 29 ' West.
Distance travelled since Grimbsy: 8183 Nautical Miles
Air temperature @ noon: 5.5 degrees Celsius
Sea temperature @ noon: 2.7 degrees Celsius

We managed to hold onto the good weather for a few more days whilst we crossed from Montevideo to the Falkland Islands, enjoying the last of the sunshine, and we arrived at Stanley at 09:00 on the 17th October 2000 to a clear but blustery day.

Arriving in Stanley Harbour

The Lady Elizabeth - just one of the many 19th Century Wrecks found in Stanley Harbour Stanley is home for the ship, as she is registered in the Falkland Islands, as it is for some of the crew, so there were quite a few to greet us at the dockside. The three days in Stanley were busy with loading large ammounts of cargo bound for South Georgia, Bird Island and Signy. We also said Goodbye to the SOC team, Robin and Margaret, and their digital camera that has so far produced many of the web photos - they and "the camera" will be sorely missed, and I hope the photos from now on will be up to scratch. For the lucky few, the couple of days at Stanley gave a chance to get out and about and see some of the sites and wildlife.

It was also time for the new personnel to arrive, a day or so late due to a few delays of the Tristar. Now on board we have the pleasure of Dr Richard (Dick) Laws FRS, Director of the British Antarctic Survey from 1973 - 1987, who has spent a lot of time in Antarctica, which he first visited back in 1947. Also onboard are the scientists and personnel for Bird Island, Signy, and South Georgia, and the contractors for the South Georgia Project. Although there are a few planned scientific projects on this trip the main role of the ship is logistical.

We left Stanley as scheduled at 09:30 on Friday 20th October. Soon after leaving the dock we anchored for a safety drill including launching the starboard lifeboat. This involves donning life jackets, being lowered down in the boat, going for a quick spin around, and then returning back and climbing up onto the ship via a rope ladder, as seen below in the photos.

Dick Laws safely arriving back on deck Graham climbing the rope ladder closely watched by Kelvin and Colin

Dick Laws safely arriving back on deck

Graham climbing the rope ladder closely watched by Kelvin and Colin

Cargo Tender and Rescue boat taking a spin After a successful safety drill it was time to take the cargo tender and the rescue boat out for a quick spin to make certain everything was functioning prior to heading south.

A bracing ride in the rescue boatI managed to get a ride in the rescue boat and then got soaked with "warm" Falkland Island Sea, but it was worth it for the thrill. The cargo tender is vital for doing the Bird Island relief and so it is very important to know that all is in working order before we leave the Falklands.

Since leaving Stanley, the weather has changed, and we all watch as the barometer reading steadily but persistently drops. Venturing outside is no longer tempting and the ship was hove to for the first, but probably not the last, time, which happens in winds of force 9 to 10. This morning, Sunday, we crossed the Antarctic Convergence and we have seen the sea temperature drop quite significantly to a chilly 2.7 degrees.

In it's place are the most up to date Ice Analysis maps for the Bellinghausen west and east regions.

Ice Analysis Bellinghausen west Ice Analysis Bellinghausen east

Bellinghausen west

Bellinghausen east

Ice concentration scale These two maps show the state of the ice in the regions that we are hoping to navigate in the next few months. Bellinghausen west map shows the Antarctic Peninsular which is white, we can see that Rothera on Adelaide Island is presently surrounded by 9-10 tenths ice. The Bellinghausen east map shows us the South Orkney Islands where Signy base is located, we are hoping to do the Signy relief in a few weeks time. The South Orkneys are shown by the black dot in the middle of the yellow region labelled 'D', signifying that at present there is 4-6 tenths ice surrounding the area.

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