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July 18 - Heading North

Update (18th July 2004)

Noon Position : lat 55° 22' N, long 29° 32' W (600 Miles West of Ireland and 650 miles to our destination in Greenland)
Air temperature @ noon today : 11.3°C
Sea temperature @ noon today : 10.5°C

The JCR this Week.

Having completed our post refit engine and truster trials on Sunday afternoon we headed for Weymouth Bay on the Dorset coast where we anchored later in the day.

At Anchor off Portland, Dorset.

Lying at anchor off Portland. Click to enlarge.

The reason for this was to give the small boats a thorough test after refit and before our forthcoming Arctic cruise, just in case we need to use them at anytime. It allowed any problems to be identified and some valuable crew training to be done. The pictures below show the semi-rigid being put through its paces (left), whilst beach landings were the order of the day for the cargo tender. It was nice to be able to approach a beach without the threat of Kelp weed, which we often encounter in the Antarctic.

Exercising the inflatables. Click to enlarge. Beach landing without the kelp!. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday morning saw us enter Portland harbour and tie-up ready for a very busy day for all onboard. The catering department were loading stores for the next two months, the engineers loaded a thousand cubic metres of fuel and the deck crew loaded containers full of science equipment for the forthcoming cruises. The jobs of loading and positioning equipment was completed by Tuesday evening, leaving the securing and checking to be done before we were ready to sail at lunch time on Wednesday.

The after deck once more ready for science. Click to enlarge. Departing Portland in Dorset under a grey sky. Click to enlarge.

The after deck once more ready for science.
Click to enlarge.

Portland disappears under low cloud as we depart.
Click to enlarge.

Today you find us half way through our journey to Qaqortoq in Greenland to pick-up the majority of the American science party who are from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and who are conducting our first cruise. There is an advanced guard already onboard of George Tupper and Peter Koski who are completing some preparatory work to get the cruise off to a flying start. However, we'll introduce them with the rest of the party over the coming weeks.

Regular readers to this diary might be wondering, can it be true that JCR is at sea for a whole week and no science is taking place? Well you'd be wrong as we have three geophysicists from BAS onboard taking Swath bathymetry and magnetic readings to improve our knowledge of the areas being crossed. Also it has been an ideal time to conduct trials on all the ships acoustic sensors and to compare how they work together, especially the new upgraded hydrographic sounder fitted during refit.

The map below shows our progress to date as we across the West European Basin towards Greenland. The chart on the bridge presently reads like a Tolkin novel as we pass over the Fangor Bank, Isengard Ridge not to mention the Rohan and Gondor Seamounts.

Our route from Portland to Qaqortoq so far...

The New Arrivals (to this crew at least!)

The ship might have a complement of twenty-eight, but it is rarely static for long as faces change with every trip and this one is no exception. Sometimes it's people being exchanged with our sistership the RRS Ernest Shackleton or others whom come to BAS for the first time.

Therefore we thought it was about time you met the newer faces of the crew. Having said that our first picture (top left) shows Calum Hunter he is now our Second Officer, but some might remember him when he sailed as our third officer last September for the passage from Immingham to the Falklands . Then on the right we have Douglas Leask (Third Officer) who has come from the Shackleton. This completes the total domination by Scotland of the bridge watchkeeping officer positions.

In the centre we have Glen Ballard who has joined us as 2nd cook after several seasons on the paddle steamer "Waverley". Then finally, but by no means least, we have two ABs at the bottom; on the left is Cliff Mullaney who joined us at the end of our last voyage, but I don't think we featured him and on the right we have John MacLeod who has joined us from the Shackleton.

Calum Hunter (2nd Officer)getting to grips with his map type things. Click to enlarge. Douglas Leask (3rd Officer). Click to enlarge.
Glen Ballard (2nd Cook) taking a break from the bread oven. Click to enlarge.
Cliff Mullaney on the bridge. Click to enlarge. John MacLeod on the bridge. Click to enlarge.

The Week Ahead.

Thursday morning should see us in Qaqortoq in Greenland ready for our next scientific endeavours. We believe these will start with the deployment and recovery of some moorings followed by a whole load of CTDs, but we'll wait for the Principal Scientist to tell us more once they've joined.

So until our next installment...