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28 December 2001 - Christmas at Sea, then homeward bound

RRS James Clark Ross Diary

Position at 1200: Montevideo, Uruguay
Distance Travelled since Grimsby: 18673 Nautical Miles
Air temperature: 27.2°C; Sea temperature: 23.2°C

The weeks in brief....

As our voyage is drawing to an end and it is the Christmas holidays it was decided to roll our goodbyes and Christmas into one final edition from us. So depending upon when this is posted on the web, most of us expect to be home with our families having completed another four months onboard.

Since the last update we had about five days in Stanley demobilising the scientific equipment and the waste collected from Rothera station has been going for disposal. Once this was done, the task of maintenance could begin in earnest as it is midsummer down here so the weather was reasonable for working outside, which always helps things along.

On Saturday the 22nd the ship departed from Stanley heading northwards towards Montevideo to perform the crew change and embark the next group of scientists for the first of the main scientific programmes of the season. The reason for going to Montevideo rather than doing the changes as usual in Stanley is due, I understand, to some difficulty in getting the necessary number of seats on the flights to the Falklands at this time of year. So it's to Montevideo we go then, spending Christmas at sea and arriving on the 26th. This we duly did, although the heat on our arrival was a bit of a shock after our average temperature for the last couple of months. Though I dare say not as big a shock as it will be for all those flying out from the middle of a British winter. We on the other hand just have to go back to it!

The few days in Montevideo were spent preparing for the other crew's arrival on Sunday so everyone goes into their corners, typing hand-over notes and dealing with all the multitude of paperwork that hand-over generates. This is in addition to all the day to day jobs around the ship.

A little bit of Christmas

Despite being away from home, Christmas was marked onboard during our passage north to Montevideo. We did this by having as relaxed a day as possible while keeping the essentials of moving the vessel from A to B working. As it is mid-summer down here it was decided to have the traditional Christmas dinner on the evening of Christmas Eve, to hopefully keep the work in the galley on Christmas day to a minimum. Lunch was a casual affair with all of the ship's company that were off duty gathering in the Officer's and Scientist's bar for a get together. (See picture below left).

The bar at Christmas lunch. Click to enlarge John McGowan and his new torch. Click to enlarge

It was during lunch that the results of the secret Santa were revealed. Perhaps I should explain. Some weeks ago Sarah (the doctor) invited those who were interested to enter our names into a draw and in doing so agreed in return to make or buy a present for someone else up to a given price. It was just for a bit of fun and to enter into the festive spirit. Once all the names were in, we all drew one out, (hopefully not our own) so that we knew who the present was aimed at. In the picture (above right) we can see that John McGowan is the proud owner of a mini torch to help him find his way around the bridge at night! Though the prize for the best present had to go to whoever made Steve Eadie his new drinking hat, which Steve is seen modelling below. Obviously a lot of time and effort went into that creation.

Steve's present has to be the winner. Click to enlarge Steve's present has to be the winner. Click to enlarge

In keeping with the casual relaxed day and summer mode how else could we end the day, but by having a BBQ on the aft deck? It was all very pleasant and we even had a visit from Santa and his reindeer....well, David Gooberman in a Santa hat and Sarah Hortop with some "antlers" on, (I think that's what they were, see below and make your own minds up!!)

Our own Santa and his little helper! Alias Dave G and the Sarah the Doc. Click to enlargeI'm not sure what the real Santa would make of this imitation. Click to enlarge.

Goodbye from us

As is traditional from us we thought we'd have our round up of everyone onboard during the last four months. Well nearly everyone, but absentees do get a mention.

We start with our Catering Department and the galley staff of (L-R) Clive Davies (Chef), Jimmy Newall (Steward) and Lawerence Baldwin-White (2nd Cook) in the picture below left. Then in the picture below right we have the pantry team of (L-R) Ken Weston (Steward), Derek Lee (Steward) and Cliff Pratley (Senior Steward). Click to enlarge

The galley team. Click to enlarge The other half of our catering department - the stewards. Click to enlarge

The we move onto the engine room and deck departments with (L-R) Charlie Smith (Motorman) & Mark Robinshaw (Motorman) pictured, below left, in their den, otherwise known as the incinerator room. Then below right we have the deck of (back row L-R) John McGowan (AB), Dave Williams (Bosun's Mate), Derek Jenkins (AB), Dave Rees (AB) & George Stewart (Bosun) with Marc Blaby taking the seated position in front. Sharp eyed viewers will notice the missing AB is Jim Baker who was in bed getting ready for a night shift. Though there were a few comments of "nothing new there then", we could not condone such rumours in this page.

The Motormen. Click to enlarge The deck crew. Click to enlarge

Then there were the Officers pictured in their finery on Christmas Eve, the only absentee being Robert Paterson (Chief Officer) who was on watch. I think to name them we had better start with those standing and on the back row; (L-R) Chris Elliott (Master), Steve Eadie (4th Engineer), Jerry Armour (3rd Engineer), Christmas Tree, Ken Olley (Catering Officer), Charlie Waddicor (Radio Officer), Dave Cutting (Chief Engineer). In front; Norman Thomas (Electrician), Bill Kerswell (2nd Engineer), Simon Wright (Deck Engineer), David Gooberman (2nd Officer), Scott Baker (3rd Officer). Finally the front three of; Paul Adams (Deck Cadet), Sarah Hortop (Doctor) & Tom Elliott (Engineer Cadet).

Nearly all the Officers together,just Robert Paterson the Chief Officer missing as he was on watch. Click to enlargeChristmas Eve and nearly all the officers together.

Men Of The Week

It being this time of year again we say good bye to the cadets who have been with us since Grimsby and must now head home and back to college. So we wish Tom Elliott (below left) our Engineering Cadet and Paul Adams (below right) our Deck Cadet all the best with their studies and we never know, they may come back fully qualified to sail with us again.

Tom Elliott, Our Engineer Cadet. Click to enlarge Paul Adams, Our Deck Cadet. Click to enlarge

And Finally....

As we said earlier this is the last update from Captain Elliott's crew and we shall be handing over on Sunday to Captain Burgan's team and the webpage for the next four months will pass to Paul Clarke (3rd Officer) and whoever he manages to rope in. So as we've finished our sailings for the moment we'll leave you with the scene from the BBQ on Christmas Day.

Sailing away. Click to enlargeGoodbye from us - for now.....