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18 March 2001 - En route to South Georgia

RRS James Clark Ross Diary

Noon Position : 53° 20' South, 39° 36' West.
Position is about 60 miles North West of Bird Island with a fog bank surrounding.
Distance travelled since Grimsby: 25,385 nautical miles
Air temperature @ noon: 5.3 degrees Celsius
Sea temperature @ noon: 5.5 degrees Celsius

Back South for the Last Time (Well, mainly East really)

We started the week by spending four days in Stanley undergoing the usual tasks of discharging and loading cargo, taking bunkers and performing maintenance on parts of the vessel which needed it. To help these tasks along Stanley treated us to nearly five days of fine weather, which is by no means a common occurrence in our experience, but much appreciated when it does happen. So we departed for South Georgia on Thursday evening having been joined by the Director, Professor Chris Rapley and His Excellency the Governor of the Falkland Islands, Mr. Donald Lamont, and his party, who are to sail with us on this occasion, but more of that later.

Science Once more

Navigation screen showing track. Click to enlarge.For this next cruise we have two days of science off the North Coast of Bird Island and in the Bays of South Georgia performing an acoustic survey and looking for spawning sites for Icefish. The route for this survey is shown on the adjacent screen picture.

This is the third part of a project that started at the beginning of the season, and was then continued over the Christmas period during the main biology cruise of the austral summer. This has allowed the scientists to undertake a survey to estimate the biomass of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) in the waters around South Georgia. The three surveys cover the beginning, middle and end of the season and so allowing the scientists to study the variability of the population of Krill in the chosen area. To accomplish this we are blessed with a small science contingent of three persons plus two support staff, though personnel going to South Georgia are taking the opportunity to lend a hand.

To see details of the earlier survey's click on the appropriate one; 1st Survey and Main Cruise.

A Visit to South Georgia.

In addition to the science mentioned above we are going to King Edward Point (near Grytviken) to take part in the official opening of the new BAS research station that is going to undertake an applied fisheries research programme. This is on behalf of the South Georgia Government and is aimed at managing the South Georgia fishery in a manner which is both sustainable for humans and for the other predators such as albatrosses, penguins, seals and whales. The opening of this base coincides with the redeployment of the military garrison back to the Falkland Islands. This means that the ship is quite full with the rest of the base staff who will be spending two years down there and various people who are taking part in the opening ceremony who are also onboard. The ship also has fuel and other supplies for the base and our engineers expect to spend most of the two days that we are there transferring the fuel ashore in preparation for the winter. We'll bring more details of the base when we can describe it and show you pictures next week.

We told you earlier that the Governor of the Falkland Islands was onboard. This is because one of the other hats that he wears as part of his duties, is that of Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The Governor is appointed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, but lives during his three year appointment in an official residence in Stanley is known as "Government House". The pictures below show the house with the one on the left including Upland geese grazing while the right-hand one shows the gardens facing the harbour. The original design for the house was prepared by Robert Clement Moody who was the Falkland Islands first governor between 1842 and 1848. The house we see to day has been extended over the years as requirements have changed.

A view of Government House Stanley. Click to enlarge. A view of Government House Stanley. Click to enlarge.

Views of "Government House". Left: House and Upland geese grazing. Right: Gardens facing the harbour.

Thank You To Year Six

This week we had the pleasure to welcome Lucy Butler onboard as a representative of year six of the Falkland Island Junior school. After their visit during our last call in Stanley (Click Here) they did some work in class and part of this was a collage of drawings that reminded them of the visit. This the school had framed and presented to us along with two lovely books of letters and work from the students.

Lucy Butler presenting the picture to Captain Elliott. Click to enlarge. Lucy Butler presents Captain Elliott with the work of Year Six.

Weekly diary entries