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May 11 - From the Cape Verde Islands and all the way home to Portland

From the Cape Verde Islands and all the way home to Portland

Well, when you last left the James Clark Ross, she had just made her way past the Cape Verde Islands, on Tues 2nd May. To still pleasant temperatures but a more temperate breeze, the ship continued, distantly passing the western side of the Canary Islands on the afternoon of Fri 5th May.

Saturday 6th was to see a further drill, important for ships functioning, as explained last week. On this occasion it was to be a fire drill, using the ships own smoke machine to produce as realistic a drill as possible, allowing crew to practice the use of the breathing apparatus on board and recovering a casualty from the affected space, this time one of the labs on the Upper Deck. (See ships tour) The casualty, on this occasion, the JCR's own professional drills dummy, 'Boris', would be removed from the dangerous area by the BA Team, then to be managed appropriately and transferred to the hospital by the First Aid Party.

The JCR's Route past the Canary Islands and Madeira
The JCR's Route past the Canary Islands and Madeira

Here I will just make a note wishing Boris a very happy retirement from Ship Duties. He has been with the JCR for several years now, with an important role in Major Incidents, Fires, Chemical Spills and Man-Over-Board Drills. He unfortunately has been involved in one or two drills too many over his years of service and is in need of a break.(and a little bit of TLC) His neck has been playing him up recently and has had a recent fracture of his arm, so next year he will be handing over his duties to a newer and sprightlier Dummy, who will hopefully be up to perhaps a more long-running career than poor Boris.

Boris, with his multiple ailments acquired over the years.
Boris, with his multiple ailments acquired over the years.

On Saturday the JCR was to see land again, passing close by the western tip of the Island of Madeira, in open view of Punta Pargo. The Madeira Archipelago actually consists of two inhabited islands (Madeira and Porto Santo) and two groups of uninhabited rock formations (‘Ilhas Desertas’ and ‘Ilhas Selvagens’). The smaller of the two inhabited islands, Porto Santo, was discovered in 1419 by two young Portuguese captains, João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, when they were blown off course on their journey around the West African coast. After the discovery of Madeira, a year later, the islands were colonised by families from the Algarve region of Portugal. Even now the statue of Captain Zargo looks down on the descendants of the first colonisers as they pass through downtown Funchal, Madeira's largest town.

The JCR passing the western end of Madeira
The JCR passing the western end of Madeira

After passing Madeira, the JCR continued on it's journey north, heading across the Bay of Biscay over 9th-10th May, up on to the shelf break on the morning of the 10th, into the Western Approaches and then on up to the south coast of England.

The JCR off the Northwestern tip of France and it's route back into Portland
The JCR off the Northwestern tip of France and it's route back into Portland

The ship is due to arrive at Portland very shortly, so I will leave you here for the season and say goodbye. I hope you have enjoyed the last 30 webpages I have written. Having lived on board the JCR since September of last year, it will be sad to leave her. I presume I will be handing you over to Simon Wright, the Deck Engineer, for the next page at somepoint in the near future, but for now it is fairwell from me, Dave Farrance, this season's JCR Doctor.