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18 November 2001 - Signy, then back to Stanley

RRS James Clark Ross Diary

Position at 1200: Stanley, Falkland Islands
Distance Travelled since Grimsby: 13841 Nautical Miles
Air temperature: 19.2°C; Sea temperature: 11.2°C

The past week....

Signy Research Station in the sunshine. Click to enlargeLast Sunday Signy Research Station, in the South Orkney Islands, was once again opened up for the summer season. The day was spent ferrying the personnel and cargo ashore and very successful it was too, managing to complete the job in a single day. This was helped this year by beautiful weather and a total lack of sea ice in front of the station as shown in previous updates. The picture here shows the station in the sunshine and an almost complete lack of snow. Click on the image to get a larger view.

The ice monitoring camera. Click to enlargeAs the station is now only a summer base it was decided that a way had to be found to continue the observations of sea ice in Borge Bay during the winter that had been kept by the people who once lived here twelve months of the year. To do this a very cunning device was developed to take pictures of the bay when the base is empty. The picture below shows the camera in the left hand box looking down in the bay and it's associated solar panels on the right to keep the batteries topped up when the sun shines.

The ship lying at anchor in Borge Bay off Signy. Click to enlargeAs Signy is being opened up after being shutdown during the winter the ship stays at the station until the main vital services have been established and maintained for a period in case of problems. This year everything appeared to go like clockwork and the Captain and Station Manager decided that the ship could head for Stanley by Monday lunchtime. This gave time on Monday morning for a few people to get ashore and stretch their legs with one group going over the island on a guided walk to a large penguin colony. Others however, opted for a potter around the base area to enjoy the beautiful views the weather and surroundings offered us. The picture here shows the ship lying at anchor in Borge Bay, with Coronation Island in the background and the aptly named Sunshine Glacier.

One of the locals finding it all too much. Click to enlargeWith all this energy and activity going on the locals' view on the proceedings was captured by Jeremy Robst in this picture of a seal yawning - it obviously finds things all a bit too much!

John and Marc our taxi drivers for the day. Click to enlargeAs the ship was at anchor it was necessary to run boats for people to "jolly" ashore and the heroes on the day who undertook to spend the morning messing about in boats are shown below; that of John McGown (left) and Marc Blaby (right), our "taxi drivers", on the way back to the ship.

The Falklands once more ...

Thursday morning saw us in the Falklands once more, but this time it was first to Mare harbour, the military port in the islands. This was to collect the extra cargo for Rothera Station brought down by RRS Ernest Shackleton, BAS's other vessel. We'd seen her the day before as she was heading for Signy with more personnel, where of course we'd just come from.

A beautifully still evening in Stanley harbour - a rare sight!. Click to enlarge Friday afternoon then saw us move round to Stanley to collect containers we'd left there last call and mobilise the science cruise equipment. So rather than show you more cargo pictures at this time we thought we'd bring up the scene on Saturday evening as seen from the ship, that of a mirror calm Stanley harbour. It was a beautifully still evening in the harbour- a very rare sight!

The tour vessel Explorer leaving Stanley. Click to enlargeThis time in Stanley we had our own reminder of summer approaching fast as the Explorer came in to collect her first passengers of the season and headed off for a tour of the Falklands and on to South Georgia. It was good to see her as one of our colleagues is now sailing on her as Chief Officer. The picture here shows Explorer leaving Stanley. Click on the image to enlarge.

A dolphin rides the rescue boat's bow wave - can you see it? . Click to enlargeAs with any port call, in addition to the cargo and science requirements there are the maintenance duties to perform and these can have unexpected bonuses. One of these was had by Scott Baker (3rd Officer) and Derek Jenkins (AB) while out testing the rescue boat. Hopefully you'll be able to see it when you click on the picture - the Commerson's Dolphin riding the boat's bow wave. In fact there was a whole family of them, but unfortunately this was the only picture obtained.

Man Of The Week

Dave Cutting, our Chief Engineer, with his walking frame present. Click to enlargeMan of the week had to go to Dave Cutting, our Chief Engineer, who on Monday reached the grand old age of fifty and had quite a bit of fun taken out of him during the day. His present from the engineers had to be the best when he was presented with his own walking frame because he is "getting old". However, the rest of us could be forgiven for not noticing by the time he spends in the gym whenever he can!