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Jun 25 - ATCM

Update (25th June 2006)

Noon Position : lat 58 17.3' N, long 001 04.7' W

Crossing Little Halibut Bank, 60 miles East of Wick In the Orkney Islands

Air temperature @ noon today : 12.6C

Sea temperature @ noon today : 11.5C

Normal service diary is resumed.

Well as normal as it gets with Simon the Deck Engineer writing it. I would like to apologise to our regular readership for the break in service over the last few weeks. This was due to Dave Farrance, last season's Doctor, gaining his freedom once more when the ship arrived back in the UK on the 11th May. We'd all like to thank Dave for his efforts on the diary front during the last season and wish him the very best for his future adventures.

The ships arrival in Portland, Dorset also meant a crew change with Captain Burgan's team going off for a well deserved summer break, with the retirement of Captain Elliott earlier in the year Captain Graham Chapman has moved over from the RRS Ernest Shackleton to keep good order onboard. There was never going to be a quiet start to this trip as after joining on the Friday, Monday evening found us along the coast in Portsmouth with the JCR high and dry ready for her annual refit.

As usual this was a very busy period for all onboard, with only four weeks to complete all the necessary tasks, I forgot to get the camera out until near the end when it came to the final inspections and tests. Some of those images are shown below.

Replacing the starboard lifeboat after repairs. Click to enlarge.
Final dock inspection before floating once again. Click to enlarge.
Lifeboat testing. Click to enlarge.
Replacing the starboard lifeboat after it's repairs. Click to enlarge.

Final hull inspection before refloating the JCR. Click to enlarge.

Test launching of the Starboard lifeboat. Click to enlarge.

At the end of the refit JCR left Portsmouth and headed north to commence the summer science programmes, but first there was the little matter of an event to take part in and some equipment to load. This involved a trip to Leith, which is the port for Edinburgh.

Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.

Our trip to Leith centred on the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM), which is where all the nations involved in scientific research on Antarctica and other interested parties meet to discuss policy regarding the Antarctic Treaty which establishes a legal framework to manage activities taking place on and around the continent. For further details on the treaty please follow this link - Antarctic Treaty

Leith dock's most famous resident is the, now retired, Royal Yacht Britannia which can be seen below. Click to enlarge. This is situated next to the Ocean Terminal shopping complex.

Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith. Click to enlarge.

However, for a brief period last weekend she had to share her high profile position with the JCR and the Royal Navy's Ice Patrol Vessel HMS Endurance. These two vessels make up two thirds of Britain's polar research fleet and were brought to Leith in support of the ATCM and to allow the public to gain a better insight into our work. We opened our doors last Saturday and Sunday to the public, during which over four thousand visitors passed through the vessels. This was then supplemented by several hundred more school children who visited on Monday. The pictures below give a flavour of the event.

JCR & HMS Endurance in Leith. Click to enlarge.
JCR's aft deck during ATCM. Click to enlarge.
Fisheries display at ATCM. Click to enlarge.
JCR & HMS Endurance open to the public in Leith. Click to enlarge
JCR's aft deck displays as seen from HMS Endurance's flight deck. Click to enlarge.
Visitors examining the life of the polar seas on the Biological Science's display. Click to enlarge.

Back to science.

Our public duties completed, we moved into the main part of Leith docks to mobilise once more for science. One of the major refit tasks had been to carry out modification work which will allow us to operate the NERC remotely operated vehicle ISIS. More will be mentioned about this in the weeks to come, but our job here was to load the heavy equipment into position and store the rest for our next port call. The picture below shows the 18 tonne launch and recovery system (LARS) being manoeuvred into position.

Loading the equipment for the ROV trials. Click to enlarge. Loading the ROV's launching gantry on the aft deck. Click to enlarge.

This completed we set sail northward to collect an array of moorings deployed by a Norwegian Institute which we have been asked to recover on their behalf. The first of which should occur on Monday evening and take up most of the week with our arrival in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis being scheduled for next Sunday.

So from a crew happy to be back at sea once more we'll speak again next week.