Pitchin' and rollin' in the South Atlantic
Well hello there. I know it's not been long since my last posting but we have been experiencing some pretty photogenic weather down here on the wrong side of the world and I thought you might like to see some of it. At the end of the last entry I believe I was alongside* in Stanley. Well, that has all changed now and I write from a creaking and groaning cabin in the middle of a storm. Luckily my laptop is velcroed to the desk. No, really it is. Quite a baptism for a sailor on his first day at sea! Let me start at the beginning...
Once upon a time there was a ship known as the JCR and she was taking on fuel and 'beakers' (scientists) in Stanley. Then the time came to set sail for Southern climes and, as if by magic, a force 10 gale started blowing in exactly the path she wanted to take. So all onboard were told to prepare themselves for the worst and they started popping seasickness pills as if they were going out of fashion.
Switching back to the first person, when we sailed all was initially calm and I got some nice photos. Firstly, a shot of Mega-City Five, also known as Stanley:
Next, some of the hills around Stanley. Someone told me that the peak on the left is the infamous Mount Tumbledown, but I don't have the bandwidth to check this (maybe someone can comment?):
And finally for this section, a shot of most of the science party on the 'Monkey Island', which is the upper outside deck of the ship next to the funnels. From left to right we have Mark (Open University), Steve, Karel (University of East Anglia), Geli, Ted, yours truly, and Mags.
Not in the photo are our fearless leader Deb, who took the picture, and IT wizard Pete, who was tirelessly scurrying around fixing everything in sight.
So everything seemed to be going smoothly but deep down we all knew that things were going to change. As we got out of the protective bay of Stanley the wind started to build and when we got into deeper waters the swell became longer in wavelength and started to throw the ship about a bit. The wind got so high that I even had to put on my dazzling orange BAS jacket:
After a while we were in a full force 10 gale, with 3 metres of swell and the ship rolling 20 degrees from the vertical on either side. That made for an interesting night at the bar, and a very strange night's sleep. Basically I slipped up and down the bed in time to the roll of the ship, which was very comforting. I didn't have to deploy the straps in the bed, which are used as a 'seat belt' when it gets really rough. In general, anything not lashed down goes missing very quickly and I am typing with one hand while I hold down everything else with the other. Showering in particular is an interesting experience, as you have to chase the moving water jet round the shower without falling over!
Here are some pictures of the high seas. Firstly, some 3m swell going past the starboard side:
Next, a killer wave breaking over the bow. I saw this one coming 3 waves in advance but could still barely stand up to take the photo:
After a couple of hours labelling water sample bottles with Mags, I returned to the Monkey Island to watch the sun go down:
And finally, by popular demand, here is another pic of me in that dashing immersion suit...
Bye all, until next time.
- I hope you're keeping up with the lingo because I'm not going to repeat any definitions...