Your man in the south tours the ship, corrects his previous excesses, and takes a nap.
Greetings blogwatchers. I have a packed itinerary for you today, which will culminate in a few paragraphs' time with my personal guided tour of the James Clark Ross. First, though, there is time for a few general musings.
We have been steaming south pretty much constantly since my last entry, and you can view the progress of the JCR here. Current position is approximately 66S 70W, and we have just sighted Adelaide Island off the Antarctic Peninsula to port. The science party have now started doing 'watches', whereby each of us is assigned a gruelling 12-hour period of work time, either noon-midnight or vice versa. I am on the former watch. It's not too bad at the moment because we are generally setting things up, but when the seawater starts flying it will be hard.
We have now been at sea for a few days and the people onboard have started to settle down a bit and spend less time feeling peaky. However, yesterday I had, for the first time in my life, a brush with seasickness. The interesting thing is that it was nothing to do with 'sickness'. Instead, at about 5pm I felt so unbelievably tired that I had to go to bed because continuing to work could have become dangerous; getting a cup of tea I poured the (thankfully not very hot) water all over my hand rather than in the cup. The theory is that continually correcting for the movement of the ship is so hard on the body that it wears out a lot more quickly than usual. However, after an hour's nap, some chilli King Prawns in the Officer's Mess, and a slice or two of Hamish's excellent Cheddar with biscuits I felt fine and continued my watch through until about 1am.
Just before the tour starts, I should correct a previous entry in my blog. Remember I claimed that we were subjected to a force 10 gale? Well that turns out to have been an exaggeration. I'm not sure what strength the winds were, but over dinner the Master (Captain) assured me that they were not gale force. I'll try and find out the wind speeds. My former sources (not to be named) will be shot at dawn for misleading you.
Now, on with the tour. There is an official one here but mine is better! If you would like to step this way ladies and gentlemen...
First I will deal with the interior of the ship. This is a shot of my quarters, in which you will note that I have a cabin on my own at the moment. This might change after we have called in at Rothera base (towards the end of the cruise) because we are taking on a consignment of builders who worked at the base over the summer.
This is a picture of the officers' bar. It is open 24 hours a day to cater for the various watches and sells very reasonably-priced drinks and snacks.
Here is the officers' mess. We are serverd our 4-course meals at the table by the hard-working stewards and enjoy a glass of wine or two with dinner occasionally. It also serves as a cinema for the nightly DVD viewings.
Next, I ventured up to the bridge to have a look around on your behalf. It's very interesting but there's too much say here, so I will instead present you with a couple of pics. In the first, you are looking at the ship's log (yellow pages in foreground) and in the background the various (not brilliant) charts of the area, which will be edited during and after our cruise.
In the next, you can see Douglas, the 3rd Officer, in charge of the ship. Instead of the large wooden steering wheel that you might expect from Hollywood films there is simply a small joystick to steer the ship with!
Moving downstairs, we have two pictures of the Underway Instrument and Control room (UIC), where us scientists spend most of our time. In the first photo Geli is trying (unsuccessfully) to teach the English-speaking scientists how to pronounce Rothschild Island. In the second Mark is happily knocking off for another afternoon's sleep after finishing a 12-hour session at noon.
During a spell of calm weather I ventured outside to the upper deck to take photos of everything I could lay my camera on. I continued until my fingers were too cold to carry on, which in retrospect was pretty stupid. Anyway, here are some of the photos:
First, the superstructure taken from the aft deck:
Second, the aft gantry taken from above:
Third, the JCR's landing craft. On the JCR I counted one landing craft, two fully-enclosed lifeboats, two fast solid-hulled boats, three inflatable fast boats, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Finally, the Conductivity-Temperature-Depth meter (CTD), which is the thing we lower over the side. I will return to this in a later entry, as it is a very fancy piece of kit and the main focus of our science effort. For the moment, all you need to know is that the grey bottles take samples of the water at various depths (controlled by us from the UIC) and the various things below them record temperature, electrical conductivity (hence salinity), pressure (hence depth), and a variety of other things continually as the CTD is lowered through the water column.
That's all for now readers. Please bear with me as we are entering a period of very hard work and limited internet connection. At some point I will be out of range of the satellite communications for up to a fortnight. I'll do my best to keep you up to speed. Bye...