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16 June 2002 - Sailing North

RRS James Clark Ross Diary

Position at 1200: 59° 45.6'S, 001° 11.6'E (about 6 miles off Sumburgh Head at the Southern end of the Shetland Islands)
Distance steamed since Grimsby (10/09/01): 50404 Nautical Miles
Air temperature: 15.2°C; Sea temperature: 11.2°C

A week in the UK.....

Entering Grimsby. Click to enlargeIt has been a very busy week onboard the ship this last week with two port calls, having some repairs done and mobilised for a scientific cruise to the Arctic and sailed northwards. Yes, all that in seven days. Monday morning started bright and early with our arrival into Grimsby. We were all tied up by 6 am ready to discharge some cargo and greet the arrival of some specialist contractors. They were going to carry out some work on the scientific systems to get us back up to full working order before we headed out on the next cruise. The picture here shows us squeezing our way into Grimsby lock past the hydraulic tower that once used to operate the lock and is a landmark for the area. Click on the image for a larger version.

The Forth brdiges in the distance. Click to enlargeAll the work was completed in time for our departure on Wednesday evening for the passage to Leith, if you are not sure where that is; Leith is the port next to Edinburgh. So in the picture here you might be able to make out in the distance the distinctive shapes of the Forth road and rail bridges. Leith is before the bridges and so we did not have the experience of passing under them, maybe another time. Click on the image for a larger version.

Shortly after this picture was taken it was a sharp left (port) turn and we headed into Leith itself and yes it was through another lock. So we've had plenty of practice at them this week, though Leith's is a little bigger than Grimsby, so not such a tight squeeze. We can be seen entering the lock in the picture below left. Once through the lock we were treated to a good view of the former Royal Yacht Britannia (below right), which is moored in Leith as a tourist attraction. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Entering Leith lock. Click to enlarge The former Royal yacht Brittania in Leith. Click to enlarge

Our stay in Leith was supposed to be a mere twenty-four hours, but other port movements meant that our stay was extended slightly until Saturday afternoon. Though it was still a very busy period for everyone as we mobilised not just the cruise to the Arctic which we are doing now, but also positioned the equipment for the following cruise.

Back to Science

Yes, our brief holiday from onboard scientific operations came to a abrupt end on Friday with the joining of a 25 member cruise party and four BAS support personnel for the first of the ship's two scientific cruise before refit in August.

Saturday afternoon saw us departing Leith and headed northwards to begin a four week cruise for the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), the cruise forms part of their Northern Seas study programme. The aim of the cruise is to conduct a programme of intensive science in the northern seas of Europe, including the ice bound waters northwest of Svalbard (Spitsbergen). It involves 25 scientists onboard, of which 16 are from SAMS and they have been joined by parties from the University of East Anglia, North Highland College, the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre and the Scott Polar Research Institute.

We hope to give a more detailed picture of the cruise activities over the coming weeks, but looking at the amount of equipment loaded it promises to be a very busy programme for all onboard, as well as interesting. In the pictures below you can see some of the strange shaped devices presently accommodated on the after (left) and starboard side decks (right), we'll let you know more about them when we find out more about them ourselves!

Strange objetcs on the after deck. Click to enlarge The side deck isn't any better!. Click to enlarge

by Simon Wright