The First Days

By Saturday 18th all of our personal were on board the James Clark Ross and the previous crew had departed. Some time was spent exploring the town of Stanley which was a short walk away from port. These first few days gave everyone a chance to adapt to conditions on the ship. We had tours, safety drills and briefings. The food, as we had heard, was delicious with two three course meals each day and a hearty breakfast for those of us hungry enough.

We left port on Sunday 19th to give way to the other BAS Ship, the Shackleton. We anchored a mile from Stanley in Port William for the next few days while final checks were done including plenty of preparation by the four man and woman team working on SeaSoar. There was a large front forecast to hit the Southern Ocean due south from the Falkland’s at about the same location we were taking the ship.

After watching a fly over (one Hercules and two typhoons) to mark the Queens 89th birthday we set off around mid-afternoon on the 21st April and travelled overnight in a southerly, south east direction. The team started their watch shifts with 8 hours patterns. These watches were timed to fall within these patterns; from 12.00 – 8.00am, 8.00 – 16.00 and then 16.00 – 12.00.

On the 23rd we deployed the MMS (Micro Structure Sensor System) instrument four times, twice at 50metres and twice at 300metres. Later on in the day the SeaSoar team successfully managed a test launch followed by deployment which lifted moral considerably with everyone.

The weather was reasonably rough for those of us not used to life at sea. For many of us this would be our first time experiencing these conditions. As expected some people struggled to find their ‘sea legs’ and some of us were sick. Hopefully we will adapt as we continue to travel due south. Today (April 23rd) we crossed over the Sub Antarctic front for the first time and the outside temperate dropped significantly.