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Jan 16 - End of another cruise

Noon Position : lat 51 40.0 S, long 057 48.2 W

Bearing: 052T, 3 Nm from Stanley, Falkland Islands

Air temperature @ noon today :  10.3 degrees C

Sea temperature @ noon today :  11.4 degrees C

Wind: Direction SW, Force 5

This week in brief

This week we have continued with the biosciences cruise, concluding to the north of South Georgia where it was combined with the second Western Core Box of the year. Despite my complaints about the fog it has to be said that the weather has been kind and the sea has been calm. Therefore, we have managed to complete our demanding program on time. As well as the science there were two further tasks for the week. We had to take the Cargo Tender to Bird Island, install some moorings and leave the trusty boat there. It will be needed later in the season to help unload cargo for the large rebuild project there. The other task was to take one of the scientists, Lars Boehme, to Husvik and drop him off. He will be spending the summer season there, with a few others, glueing receivers to Elephant Seals.

As I write we are heading towards Stanley once more. The sun is shining, which is a welcome change and we are all looking forward to getting ashore. For the crew this is another busy port call as we need to load all the cargo for Rothera (again!). We will be heading back down the peninsula next week and we hope not to have the same problems with sea-ice as we did on our last attempt.

A visit to Husvik

Here are just a few photos taken on our very brief visit to Husvik. On a glorious, sunny, calm day Lars packed up all of his things and loaded them into the two small boats. A short trip took him ashore where he was greeted by the scientists he is to stay with this summer. After unloading boxes and bags the boat crew waved goodbye and returned to the ship. It is a beautiful bay and I was quite envious of the people staying there this summer.

Husvik Jetty Elephant Seals JCR from Husvik

Above: L-R: Husvik jetty (photo A Walder), Elephant Seals at Husvik (photo L Handcock), The JCR from Husvik (photo A Liddell)

Bird Island Revisited

So, back at Bird Island again and I have to say the smell hasn't improved! The beach is covered in baby fur seals and their mothers at the moment. Although they look very cute they are aggressive from the day they are born. The three pups below are on the doorstep of the hut and need to be negotiated every time you need to go in or out of the door. The people staying at Bird Island didn't seem to even notice them, but I'm certain they were eyeing up my ankles.

Although it was very good to see Sarah, Isaac, Chris, Vicky and Jaume we didn't have much time to socialise. Whilst they were treated to lunch, conversation and fresh fruit and vegetables on the ship, the boat crews were putting in the moorings for the cargo tender. The moorings are made of train wheels attached to chain and positioning them went very well. We were able to leave the cargo tender nicely tied up, but it seems very strange to have such a large space on the deck of the ship.

Moorings at Bird Island Moorings at Bird Island Fur seal pups outside the base

Above: Doug Trevett and George Dale putting in moorings at Bird Island Fur seal pups outside the door (photos D Bone).

Thanks to the crew....

This is a small interlude to say thankyou to the crew for working so hard on this cruise, over Christmas, allowing us to finish and get back to Stanley in good time. Here are just a few of the deck crew in the last couple of weeks.

Colin Lang, Bosun Dave Peck, Bosun's Mate
The Doc and Ian Raper, AB Kevin Holmes, AB

Above: Colin Lang, the Bosun (top left); Dave Peck, the Bosun's Mate (top right); The Doc and Ian Raper, AB (bottom left) and Kevin Holmes AB (bottom right). All photos A Walder.

End of Cruise Evening

Well, here we are at the end of another cruise. For some people aboard it is not just the end of this cruise but the end of many cruises. Tony North, Cathy Goss and Doug Bone are all retiring later on this year. Between them they have many years of biosciences, oceanography and Antarctic travel between them. Their experience will be sadly missed in the future. On the saturday evening we had the end of cruise dinner at which the three were presented with little mementos of their time on the JCR. Below are photos of a few of the people present at the evening 'do'. Dinner was followed by a pub quiz of extrordinairy devilishness! How many Beatles songs do you know? What is your nautical terminology like? It was a very entertaining evening, especially for the quizmasters who got heckled about every single question and answer.

Tony North and Peter Ward Jo Cox, Third Mate
Jeremy Robst and Geraint Tarling Doug Bone and the Captain

Above: Tony North and Peter Ward (top left), Jo Cox, Third Mate (top right), Jeremy Robst and Geraint Tarling (bottom left) Doug Bone and the Captain (bottom right). All photos L Handcock.

For those following the ping-pong, the semifinal matches are Lee Jones vs Ziggy Pozzi-Walker and Nick Greenwood vs Andy Hirst. Matches are due to be played this evening or tomorrow to identify the champion. We'll let you know how they go.

So, the end of another week, another visit to Stanley. Next time I write we shall be well on our way to Rothera, hopefully the sea-ice will be kinder to us this time round.