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Jan 04 - Happy New Year!

Date: 4th January 2004

Noon Position: Noon position lat 55 49.9 S long 34 44.6 W
Distance Travelled since Immingham: 19374 Nautical Miles
Air temperature: 2.4°C
Sea temperature: 3.0°C

The JCR this Week.

This afternoon you find us mowing the lawn, so to speak. That is, we are conducting a swath bathymetry and magnetic survey of an area just off the southern coast of South Georgia. This is an area unmapped before by us and has geological interest, having been the centre of an earthquake relatively recently. Although this steaming up and down lines is not exactly taxing from the ship's point of view, it does give us a chance to catch up on all those other little jobs as long as the weather is nice.

Last Monday saw our arrival back in Stanley, Falkland Islands. It was by our standards a very brief call being a little over twenty four hours. During this time we landed our passengers from South Georgia and mobilised the equipment for the two short cruises that are being undertaken on this trip. Then at 13:00 hours on Tuesday the lines were slipped and we were off.

On passing Cape Pembroke a course was set for South Georgia and the first science area. However, no sooner was this done than we were over flown by an RAF Search and Rescue helicopter asking for permission to do some winching practice. This we were happy to do as we never know if we'll ever need their services. So once everyone was informed and the aft deck area cleared for safety, the show began and very impressive it was too. The picture immediately below shows RAF Search and Rescue Sea King XZ 587 hovering near the JCR and if you look in the background you might be able to make out Stanley and the mountains behind. Click to enlarge

 RAF Helocopter XZ 587 with Stanley and the Falklands behind. Click to enlarge. XZ 587 with Stanley and the Falklands behind. Click to enlarge.

The sequence below shows some of the action from the afternoon as the winchman was lowered on to the deck and then followed by two passengers. The exercise completed they were winched back aboard, before the helicopter performed a couple of circuits of the ship and departed for its base.

RAF Helocopter XZ 587 with Stanley and the Falklands behind. Click to enlarge. RAF Helocopter XZ 587 with Stanley and the Falklands behind. Click to enlarge.
RAF Helocopter XZ 587 with Stanley and the Falklands behind. Click to enlarge. RAF Helocopter XZ 587 with Stanley and the Falklands behind. Click to enlarge.

If all that wasn't enough we have a piece of video for you of the winchman leaving the ship. It's real media so hopefully it will play on your machines.

 Winchman leaving the ship. Click to play. Click to play.

New Year Celebrations

Obviously, the big excitement of the week particularly for those onboard originating from Scotland was New Year's Eve. Being at sea is not ideal and puts a bit of a damper on the proceedings as most people are still on duty. However, there are certain rituals that we like to keep to, such as ringing out the old year and ringing in the new. This occurs on the forecastle, near the bows, where the ships bell is mounted on these special occasions. This tradition involves the oldest person onboard, in this case Doug Bone ringing out the old year with eight strikes of the bell in the seconds leading up to midnight. Then immediately afterwards the youngest person, Gerry Armour (2nd Engineer), rings the bell eight times to welcome the new year. See below for the action!

Doug rings out the old. Click to enlarge. Doug & Gerry with their bell. Click to enlarge.  Gerry rings in the new. Click to enlarge.
Doug Bone (left) rings out the old year,
whilst Gerry Armour (right) rings in the new.

To help the occasion along Doctor Emma was prescribing her own brand of cheer in the guise of some mulled wine which can be seen being dispensed below left, also with her is Marc Blaby having come dressed for the occasion. In the picture below right we have Mark Brandon, Jon Watkins, Jeremy Robst and Peter Morris all members of the science party enjoying the evening. For information we keep telling Jeremy to put a coat on, but he claims he doesn't feel the cold! We just feel cold looking at him! Though we must confess that the snow had just stopped before we made our way forward which was most considerate of it.

 Emma with mulled wine & Marc with a dodgy hat! Click to enlarge.  Mark, Jon, Jermey & Peter. Click to enlarge.
New Year on the forecastle - click to enlarge.

New Year's Day saw the work continuing as normal with the testing of the science gear before reaching the main work areas. We did however manage to find time to enjoy a delicious meal in the evening to celebrate. It was an occasion for dressing up as full uniforms were worn by the officers. Any excuse and it did allow us to oblige the ladies among us. It was the first time Jo Cox (3rd officer) had managed to wear her reefer jacket having gone out specially to buy one after qualifying. It also allowed Emma (Doc) a dodgy photo with us lot dressed up! See below and click to enlarge - if you're brave enough!

 Doctor Emma and the Officers. Click to enlarge. Doctor Emma and the Officers. Click to enlarge.

Thank You's for the week.

To the RAF crew for the show and all those who allowed us to see and use their photographs, particularly Peter Enderlein for the video clip.

A final thought until next week...

This week will see us completing the geological survey and moving back onto the biology. Hopefully we'll be able to explain the survey we're doing now next week with some pretty pictures of the sea bed. However, until then just one final picture...

 Big boys' toys. Click to enlarge. Click to enlarge.

Big boys' toys: Nathan Cunningham telling Jeremy Robst what he wants for next Christmas, but do they do it in a different colour?