21 October 2001 - Next Stop: Stanley, Falkland Islands
RRS James Clark Ross Diary
Position at 1200: 42° 41'S, 56° 27'W
Distance Travelled since Grimsby: 10125 Nautical Miles
Air temperature: 9.7°C; Sea temperature: 8.8°C
Next stop the Falklands and Stanley
Just what were we thinking about last week mentioning how nice the weather was? You might have guessed, it did not last long as the wind picked up on Monday morning and by Tuesday the sea had picked up causing us to roll around just a little! You can see from the photograph that Tuesday was a less than pleasant day.
You find us this Sunday, on the one hundred and ninety-sixth anniversary of Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar, heading still southwards but in a dense blanket of fog which doesn't make life very easy for those on the bridge; especially as we seem to have been moving from one fog bank to another ever since we left Montevideo on Friday afternoon. The only good thing is that it does mean the rest of us are enjoying a fairly smooth ride on a calm sea.
Tuesday will see us arrive in Stanley to pick up our first southbound personnel of the Antarctic season, made up of scientific, headquarters and technical support staff, twenty eight in all this time, so our quiet life of the last few weeks is coming to an end. The time in Stanley will also allow us to off load the deck containers bound for Rothera later on in the season, so making it easier to launch the cargo tender. We will then set out on Friday for our research stations on South Georgia and at Signy, but we'll explain those places over the coming weeks.
After the poor weather at the beginning of the week we were glad to arrive in Montevideo on Wednesday morning after thirty-seven days at sea from Grimsby. Everyone was eagerly anticipating the chance to get ashore and travel further than 100 metres in any one direction, though as it is still early spring down here the early indications were not good as we arrived on a cool wet and windy morning. However it did not last as after the official procedures were completed the first people, who were off duty, headed ashore to be met with strange looks from the locals as we are in shirt sleeves compared to their coats as it is cold to them. The first aims were to see what has changed since this crews last call just over two years ago, though we are going to make up for the absence this season as we are presently scheduled to visit three times, ice conditions permitting.
Needless to say the first place most people visited was the converted railway station that is the Mercado del Puerto (Port Market), though known throughout BAS just as the Meat Market, for a bite of lunch. The pictures below show a little of the place which is made up of stalls with a large BBQ at it's heart known as a Parrila (bottom left) on which the food is cooked. It is then surrounded by a bar at which one sits while watching your food being cooked as we can see Alex, David, Sarah and Melanie doing in the top left picture. Though I believe it was tough going for Melanie being a vegetarian, but I think the BBQed peppers with chips and salad were good. As mentioned before, the stalls sit in this huge shed-like structure and if you look up you can see the majestic clock (top right) reminding you how long you've been there - which on this day was quite a while as Alex and David went for the bit of everything option (pictured bottom right), though it doesn't look very balanced as I can only spot the one veg!
After the feasting is over it is time for some of us to take a walk up into the town to see more of the sights and sounds of Montevideo nightlife. Others just enjoy an amble through the tree lined squares to see the numerous statues then possibly sit and have a beer or coffee and watch the world go by before it's time to return to the ship and the realities of work. It was while a group of us were sat outside a cafe that we met the gentleman from a leathershop who had become ill while visiting the ship two years ago and who the then Doctor, Spencer, had saved his life. (See 17th October 1999 - There is also a potted history of Uruguay on this page), it was good to see him again.
Having shown you something of the town we have prepared you a postcard of some of the sights around the port area for all you ship spotters out there. These include along the bottom; (left) possibly the last working steam driven bucket dredger in the world still plying it's never ending task of removing the silt of the River Plate from Monte harbour, (centre) three frigates of the Uruguayan Navy and finally the "fastcat" ferry that ploughs across the River Plate between Montevideo and Buenos Aires.