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22 Sep - A new season begins

RRS James Clark Ross

Update Week 1  (16 - 22 September 2003)

Noon Position : 06.45.0 Deg N, 28.28.1 Deg W 3838.4 Nautical miles from Stanley

Distance Travelled since Grimsby :3333.5 Nautical Miles

Days since leaving Grimsby : 12

Air temperature @ Noon today : 28.1 degrees C

Sea temperature @ Noon today : 28.1 degrees C

Weather : Beautiful

The start of another Antarctic Season begins……..
Introducing Alex Ramsden, the new diary author - and Doctor aboard the JCR  Alex, the new doctor and author. Click to enlarge.

Greetings from the Atlantic and welcome to the web diary for the RRS James Clark Ross.  I will try and keep you up to date with the exciting life of the crew and scientists over the next 9 months of the Antarctic season.    Paul Clarke had served his time as diary writer and so I have been press ganged into the honorable position.  The learning curve is near vertical but thanks to Paul for all his advice on the finer points of hyper links and I apologize for any mistakes in advance.  Learning a whole new nautical language is difficult enough for me with words like deckhead, gypsy, dollies and spurling pipes leaving me bamboozled. I was just getting my sea legs, organizing a First Aid course, discovering the joys of sun downers and then had a camera and computer thrust in front of me, so I’ll keep things simple before any multimedia extravaganzas!  Thanks to Captain Burgan’s crew for making me feel very welcome and for all the help and articles they'll help me with over the next few months.

Things are unusual on the JCR at present as we are sailing South and haven’t spotted any scientists.  For the first time in years our Atlantic passage doesn’t involve an AMT science cruise.  We left the Royal Docks in Grimsby early on 10th September in glorious weather, loaded with 1200 tonnes of fuel and the holds full to the brim with the new and shiny Bonner Lab (Mark II) which is bound for Rothera.  After avoiding a couple of Channel swimmers in the Straits of Dover we berthed in Portsmouth harbour at the same berth the JCR stopped for the International Festival of the Sea last year.  Following 48 hours of bunkering (taking on AVCAT), loading of the cargo tender and the new work boat, we were ready for leave sunny Portsmouth.

We finally edged out through the entrance of Portsmouth harbour on September 12th with a course set for Stanley and watched a glorious sunset over the Isle of Wight.  Ever since we have been sailing South at a steady 12 knots, passing Madeira and then the Cape Verde Islands.  A chance to use mobile phones briefly as we pass by.  Everyone is busy with drills, checks, shifts and getting back to the routine at sea.  With no science taking place on this passage there is no chance to introduce any of the scientists so I’ll start by letting you meet the new members of the crew who have recently joined.


Jo Cox (Cadet)

Jo making sure the sun is in the correct position for sunbathing. Click to enlarge


Carli Sudder (Cadet) 

Carli the new ETO cadet. Click to Enlarge

James Stevenson (3rd Engineer)

 James Stevenson. Click to enlarge

Tom Elliot (4th Engineer)

 Tom has just graduated to 4th Engineer. Click to enlarge

Kevin Holmes (Able Seaman)

Kevin, a new AB. Click to enlarge

Will Hyslop (2nd Cook)

 Will, the new Cordon Bleu 2nd Chef. Click to enlarge

We are currently in the tropics and the temperature outside is lovely and warm.  With all the cargo on deck there is hardly enough room for a well earned sundowner after work.  We did find just enough space to eat al fresco on the starboard deck last night until it started raining!  Reminded us of being home in old Blighty.  Flying fish are abundant, the first whale has been sighted (probably humpback) and the ornithologist on the bridge keeps an eye out for any birds that might appear.  In the evening a First Aid course is running in two shifts and the crew are brushing up their resuscitation technique:

Getting a grip of some basic medical care.  Hopefully they'll be so good at it I'll be unemployed!

Getting friendly with Resus Annie! Click to enlarge

 Cervical collar a la carte. Click to enlarge

Colin with a stiff neck. Click to enlarge

Thank-yous this week:

To Paul for handing me hours of frustration on a computer!

To Dave for the supply of all navigation data and paparazzi

Coming up next week......

Crossing the line and other salty adventures.................

The photographer and author