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09 June 2002 - Into the Channel

RRS James Clark Ross Diary

Position at 1200: 52° 22.6'S, 001° 55.9'E (about 7 miles off Lowestoft on the UK's East coast)
Distance steamed since Grimsby: 49793 Nautical Miles
Air temperature: 16.4°C; Sea temperature: 14.0°C

The last week......

The Loyal Toast. Click to enlargeWe hear that it's been a busy week back home in the UK with the celebrations to mark HM The Queen's Golden Jubilee starting the week and some notable sporting triumphs to end it. I'm sure it's been very exciting, it's been great being in range and so being able to follow things by radio. Onboard we chose to mark HM The Queen's Jubilee in our own way by gathering on the after deck on Monday afternoon, under the ship's ensign, while the Captain proposed a loyal toast. This we were happy to do by means of Ken Olley's rum punch made specially for the occasion. We understand that Rothera Station lit a beacon in the Antarctic as their way of celebrating and I'm sure an account will appear in the next monthly newsletter from there. If you click on the photograph here you can see most of the ship's company gathered on deck. Sorry the flag did not come out better, but the breeze would not cooperate when required.

So after Monday it was back to the usual routine of our passage northwards. Though with Grimsby less than a week away even more concentrated effort went into planning and preparations for the busy week to come in the UK. This includes spending three days in Grimsby refueling, storing and making some repairs to equipment after a long southern season. The ship will then move north to Leith, near Edinburgh, to mobilise the next Scientific cruise. It's going to be a very busy week for all onboard, but more about that in the next update.

The last week had some familiar elements to it, like a fire drill that occur frequently to keep everyone up to date. We try to vary the location on the ship and those involved to help familarise everyone. On this occasion in the pictures below we have (left) a breathing apparatus party getting kitted up ready to go into the exercise. On the right we have (LtoR) Richard Turner (Chef) who is a new member of the team having joined after completing two winters at Halley Station and John McGown (AB) who regular readers will recognise as an old hand at these events, but practice makes perfect!

The Fire fighting team prepares. Click to enlarge Richard Turner and John McGown waiting. Click to enlarge

We must thank Sarah Hortop (Doctor) for taking the photos despite having the worst case of 'The Channels' most of us have ever seen (see later). Some of us did our bit to distract Sarah by allowing her to give us a refresher course in first aid, which was well worthwhile and fun.

The Channels......

"The Channels" is a term generally used onboard to describe someone getting very excited and cannot stop talking about how many days it is to port. Though after nine months onboard, I think we'll all allow Sarah, the Doc, a little excitement as we turned into the English Channel late on Friday evening. It's the amount of talk about shopping and the joy of shopping between her and Kim, Second Officer, that most of us didn't understand, we'll leave all to make your own conclusions about that.

So having turned right round the top of France (I know, not very nautical) we headed for the Dover Straits seeing Alderney in The Channel Islands and the north coast of France as we passed. All the time the numbers of ships we encountered increased and so did the work load for everyone on the bridge as they tracked them. Below are pictures of a couple of the many ships seen, but these are relatively close. From left to right we have a very large container ship going in the opposite direction to us, then a ferry on it's way to France and finally we see little alfresco dining being enjoy by Gerry Armor (3rd Eng) while we pass a bulk carrier, it's certainly a variation on a TV dinner!

Container ship wasn't making way for anyone!. Click to enlarge Going on your holidays. Click to enlarge A TV dinner?. Click to enlarge

Department of the Week

The Galley Team. Click to enlargeAs by the time of the next update the work load will have doubled for this department, literally as another 29 people will have joined we thought we'd have the galley team as our department of the week. So we have (LtoR) Richard Turner (Chef), Ken Weston (Steward) and Lawrence Baldwin-White (2nd Cook), good luck for the weeks ahead.