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19 November 2000 - Stanley Revisited

RRS James Clark Ross: Diary entry, 19 November 2000

Noon Position : Stanley, Falkland Islands.
Distance travelled since Grimsby: 10936 nautical miles
Air temperature @ noon: 11.7 degrees Celsius
Sea temperature @ noon: 9.5 degrees Celsius

This week has been spent alongside at Stanley. We arrived last Monday morning and are expected to depart next Tuesday. So this week's update will be a little briefer than usual, as everyone has been busy with loading cargo and mobilising for the science programmes. Stanley seems to have increased its population enormously with British Antarctic Survey personnel as, due to bad weather conditions, the Dash-7 aircraft has only been able to do four of its expected trips. The Dash-7 is used mainly for carrying essential cargo and personnel to Rothera station on the Antarctic Peninsula but it is essential that weather conditions both here at Stanley, Rothera and at the contingency/emergency landing site are good. This is a bit of a tall order so early in the season. This has meant that many personnel have been waiting with bated breath for weeks never knowing quite when they may be off. A frustrating time for all involved but luckily there's been plenty of activities and things to do to keep everyone busy. One of the most visited local attractions is Gypsy Cove, which at this time of year welcomes back numerous flippered and winged friends.

Magellanic penguins Rock shags

Magellanic penguins

Rock shags

On the ship there has been literally tons and tons of cargo to load, including a huge number of great big rocks destined for something at Rothera - perhaps the rockery? - talk about "coals to Newcastle"!  Apart from the busyness of loading cargo held ashore for us, we have also been awaiting the arrival of RRS Ernest Shackleton at Mare Harbour, which has been carrying cargo for us from the UK, that is now being trans-shipped by road across the island. Mare Harbour is the port facility built by the Ministry of Defence to service the military establishment at Mount Pleasant, where the miltary airport is based.

Rocks for Rothera Loading containers Loading more containers!

Rocks for Rothera

Loading containers

Loading more containers!

After a quiet trip back to Stanley from Signy, the ship has now taken on a more vibrant air, as two dozen or so scientists and support staff seemingly invade the ship for the trip across Drake Passage and down the Antarctic Peninsula. For all of you who believe the English Channel or the North Sea can produce lumpy conditions for sailing, the Drake Passage causes "old salts" to suck in a sharp breath through clenched teeth, as their eyes go misty at the thought of this uncompromising stretch of water.

When the opportunity arises, such as this longish stay in Stanley, maintenance routines are undertaken that cannot easily be done at sea. This included a trip out for workboat as part of this schedule.

Captain Pugwash aka Doug and his/our Chief Officer Graham

Captain Pugwash aka Doug aka "Sherpa" and his/our Chief Officer Graham.

Weekly diary entries