Our site is using cookies to record anonymous visitor statistics and enhance your user experience. OK |  Find out more

Skip navigation

Nov 02 - Meet the crew

Date: Sunday 2nd November 2003

Position noon: 58° 09.6'S, 053° 20.5'W lat
Distance travelled since Immingham: 10497 NM
Air temperature: 3.6° C
Sea temperature 0.7° C

The JCR This Week

It's been quite a quiet week onboard this week. When we left you last week we were heading for Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, to pick-up more people for the next leg of our voyage. We had expected that we'd be arriving at Signy station today, but the weather had other ideas. The lumpy seas we saw on our way back from South Georgia were nothing compared to the last couple of days.

However, before that let's get back to the last week. Early Tuesday morning saw the JCR entering Port William around breakfast time. Our arrival alongside was scheduled for ten, so the extra time was used to launch one of the lifeboats. The picture below shows the starboard lifeboat entering the water.

Launching the starboard lifeboat. Click To Enlarge Launching the starboard lifeboat. Click To Enlarge

Regulations require that each of our two lifeboats are launched every three months to show that everything is working and ready if they are ever required (Ed. though we hope they're never used in anger). The ship nearly always ties up starboard side-to in Stanley and so time has to be set aside in sheltered waters for this important job. The port boat was launched later in the week whilst alongside. Once everything had been checked and the boat recovered, the JCR entered the harbour and tied up. This allowed the few passengers to disembark and the eagerly awaited mail to come onboard.

A couple of days alongside and we were on our way again. This time our complement is boosted with base personnel for Signy, KEP and Bird Island as well as science personnel for two short cruises we shall complete before arriving back in Stanley once more.

The first of these cruises is some work for Proudman Oceanography Lab (POL) which we are doing on our way to open Signy station. The POL work involves deploying a Bottom Pressure Recorder (BPR) about eighteen hours steaming south of Stanley. This is a spot just south of a shallow area known as Burdwood Bank. These instruments sit on the bottom and accurately record the height of water above them and hence the state of the tides. This particular buoy will sit on the sea bed for about a year before a passing ship will send a signal for it to leave the frame behind. The yellow float supplies the buoyancy to bring the data pod back to the surface for recovery. The pictures below show us deploying the one last Friday; (L) George Stewart (Bosun) about to connect the crane to the BPR; (Mid) the BPR is lifted clear of the ships side; (R) released. Click to enlarge

Ready to launch the BPR. Click To Enlarge The BPR is lifted over the side. Click To Enlarge The BPR decends to the deep. Click To Enlarge
Ready Steady Gone

The buoy was deployed just in time, as within a few hours the weather had turned for the worse and the seas had built up. This forced us to heave-to, which involves finding the most comfortable position relative to the wind and steaming the ship slowly in that direction to ride out the weather. However, there may have been a few people onboard who did not believe that this was the most comfortable position! The ship might have been able to keep going if the wind had been from a different direction. Unfortunately for us the weather was coming from the south west and we wanted to go south east. Sailing in that direction would have put the ship side-on to the worst of the weather and we would have rolled just a little! The pictures below are the view from the bridge, well at least when the sea managed to stay off the fo'c'sle.

Rough weather as seen from the bridge. Click To Enlarge Rough weather as seen from the bridge. Click To Enlarge
Rough weather on Friday as seen from the bridge.

The weather has now eased and we are back on course once more.

The Deck Team

We realised that since we sailed south we've been a little remiss and have not introduced the team onboard this trip. So in an effort to put this right we'll start this week with the Deck department and of course where do you start except right at the top.


Chris Elliott - The 'Captain'. Click To Enlarge Chris Elliott is the vessel's Master, but is always referred to as the Captain. His duties cover everything involving the ship as he has the ultimate responsibility for everything onboard. That is of course when the paperwork, that is a Captain's lot these days, allows.

Chief Officer

Robert Paterson is the Chief Officer, otherwise known as the Mate! His duties involve him watch-keeping on the 4- 8 watch and then running the deck crew and controlling the ship's cargo operations - lots of work! Robert Paterson - The 'Mate'. Click To Enlarge

Second Officer

Andrew Liddell - 2nd Officer. Click To Enlarge Andrew Liddell, 2nd Officer, is our 12- 4 watch-keeper. He also gets to play with map type things that he calls charts as he plans our routes from A to B and all the places in between, depending on the demands of science.

Third Officer

Michael Golding - 3rd Officer. Mike is the third watch-keeper onboard and has the joy of the 8- 12 watch. In his time off-watch he is also responsible for the fire-fighting equipment and the small boats. Michael Golding - 3rd Officer. Click To Enlarge

Deck Officer Cadet

Peader Con - Deck Cadet. Click To Enlarge Peadar O'Confhaola is our Deck Cadet onboard at the moment. He spends his time understudying the other deck officers and working with the deck crew to learn all details of the jobs onboard in readiness for his future exams.

Bosun & Bosun's Mate

George Stewart (Bosun) & Deve Williams (Bosun's Mate). Click To Enlarge George Stewart (Bosun) & Dave Williams (Bosun's Mate). These two are the senior members of the deck crew. The Bosun acts as the manager making sure all the jobs get done. His "Mate" Dave assists him, but also acts as the keeper of the paint, scientific winch driver and ship's carpenter!

The ABs. (Able Seamen)

Lester Jolly. Click To Enlarge Marc Blaby, Derek Jenkins & Terry Spiers. Click To Enlarge Tim Paterson. Click To Enlarge
Left to Right we have Lester Jolly, Marc Blaby, Derek Jenkins, Terry Spiers and new boy on the block Tim Patterson.
This fine bunch of chaps act as look-outs on the bridge, work the cargo, man the boats and assist in deploying scientific equipment and anything else the Mate can find for them to do.

Doctor's Jollies!

I think I'm getting a bit of a bad name! Jollies?? Its work, honestly. This time we were assisting the field assistants, awaiting the Dash-7 flight to Rothera, to hone their climbing technique on the local crags in Stanley. On a beautiful Falklands day at the stunning setting of Mount Harriet Peter Love, Dougal Ranford, Adrian Hosey and myself enjoyed some lovely climbs on the unusal Falkland Island rock. Climbing is very safe if the correct equipment is used, and BAS ensures that their employees are well trained in rope use and climbing techniques. For us ship's crew, the opportunity to get away into the hills for a day, out of sight of the sea, is a great delight.

Escaping for trips ashore is particularly necessary before or after stormy weather such as we have had this week. It becomes almost impossible to do anything onboard other than what is absolutely necessary, time passes very slowly and anyone who is not working retreats to their bunks. Once safely wedged in the only thing to do is read and sleep, and dream of nice sunny days on solid ground (or rock).

Climbing in the Falkland Islands. Click To Enlarge Climbing in the Falkland Islands. Click To Enlarge
Climbing in the Falkland Islands. Click To Enlarge

A final thought until next week...

Monday morning should see us pick up a buoy for POL and then we head for Signy. Ice permitting we hope to arrive there tomorrow evening (Monday) and open the base for the summer. Then it's South Georgia bound once more.

The locals riding out the weather. Click To Enlarge Birds riding out the weather. Click to enlarge

We might have thought we had a rough couple of days, but one look outside would show others having an equally tough time. That is the birds riding the 60mph winds in their search for food. The picture above shows some Cape Petrels battling the winds. Click to enlarge.