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06 January 2002 - Happy New Year - All Change!

RRS James Clark Ross Diary

Position at 1200: 53° 55.6'S, 38° 03.1'W - Near Bird Island
Distance Travelled since Grimsby: 19610 Nautical Miles
Air temperature: 5.7°C; Sea temperature: 3.9°C

'Felice Anos'........or 'a very happy New Year to you all!'

Yes as you can see it is that time again, and we are back for another four months. Many thanks to Dave and Simon for keeping you all informed about their antics while we were off enjoying our leave. They are now all off for a well earned break themselves.

The JCR in Monte. Click to enlargeThe crew handover in Montevideo from Captain Elliott's team to Captain Burgan's team went smoothly. We arrived there courtesy of Varig and via Sao Paolo in Brazil on Sunday afternoon. Having left from Heathrow on Saturday night where it was so cold the wings of the plane had to be de-iced, you can imagine how nice it was to get off in Montevideo where it was 29°C......! Just to get us in the mood for coming back to work Varig had specially brewed us some beer!

The lager on the plane. Click to enlargeThe beer - click to enlarge!!

Seeing in the New Year Uruguayan style was an interesting experience, by just after midnight the streets looked a bit like the footage we have all seen of Buenos Aries, just across the river, the difference being that this was people celebrating! It seemed everybody in the city felt obliged to set off at least a handful of fireworks, mostly up the street!

We sailed from Monte’ at 1500 on New Year's day and once out of the River Plate turned right a bit and headed for South Georgia and the start of the science cruise JR70.

The passage down takes about 5 days and this time has been put to good use by both the ship's staff and the scientists. We have to complete all sorts of drills and so because we will be working shifts from next week this was a perfect opportunity to fit some in without causing too much disruption.

Fire Training. Click to enlargeThey started in Monte’ with the perfect antidote for a New Year hangover in the form of a lifeboat drill for everybody. This included actually launching one boat with everybody in it, as the outside temperature was nearly 30°C there were some green looking people about! We have also had practical instruction on fire extinguishers and hoses as well as a normal fire exercise. The picture above shows some of the fire training. Click on the image to enlarge.

As well as getting involved with our drills the science staff have also been busy setting up the labs and equipment. Part of this meant trials for the UOR, CTD, XBT, RMT and bongo net.....Confused? Over the next few weeks the people behind each of these wonderful pieces of equipment will explain more!!

So JR70..... just what are we going to be doing?

Well, probably the best person to answer this would be Pete Ward, the Principal Scientist............

Here we are at the start of another biosciences cruise around South Georgia. This year, in addition to spending the next 35-40 days surveying for krill in the vicinity of Bird Island, we will be attempting to measure how quickly currents are carrying krill and other zooplankton into and out of the region. By doing this and measuring krill growth rates and the amount removed by predators we have a cruise that rejoices in the name of the Flux and Marine Production Experiment or FLUMPEX for short.

At the moment we have just left Bird Island at the North Western end of South Georgia having been fully engaged in mobilising the cruise since leaving Montevideo on New Year's day. Science has been ongoing from the start with the bird observers practising their techniques from the newly constructed ‘hide’ purpose-built on the Monkey Island and other data also starting to come on stream. We have a number of drifting buoys fitted with transmitters and GPS systems to deploy which will uplink to passing satellites and enable us be able to fix the buoys positions on a daily basis. In this way we can start to build up a picture of water transport around the island. We will be working closely with the scientists stationed on Bird Island who will be collecting ‘scat’ samples from predators to measure the amounts and sizes of krill consumed and monitoring the movements of satellite tagged seals, penguins and albatrosses.

Krill growth experiments will be carried out in our ‘constant temperature room’ which presently resembles a construction site as tanks, tubing, filters and other experimental apparatus are readied for use.

More on our scientific progress next week when we should be well into the swing of things.

And what are we doing now?

Well we have been target fishing since last night when we finished an XBT transect. The target fishing involves steaming along until we spot some krill and then trying to catch them using the RMT net.......again this will all be explained further over the next few weeks.

Bird Island Station. Click to enlargeWe arrived at Bird Island at 0800 this morning to swap over some people for the cruise as well as taking the opportunity to deliver some fresh produce and looking at the current base hairstyle.......some more bleach!

Looking up the jetty towards the base, this is where you need scratch and sniff pc's!

Wimp of the week........!

Luke pretending he isn't scared! Click to enlargeThis has to go to Luke who was crewing one of the boats with me going into BI. He would not brave the sweet little furry's to go ashore, as we all know they will not hurt a fly!. This picture shows Luke Trussler (AB) on the jetty at BI......and no, he didn't go any further!

Coming up.......

We are starting the Western Core box which includes releasing some drifter buoys and generally really getting into the science with everybody now on shifts.