Last updated: Thursday 2nd November 2017   

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For those on board the James Clark Ross for the first time heading south,  the Southern Ocean has not given a gentle introduction to life at sea.  With the swell picking up last night as we left the shelter of the Falkland Islands,  it has not abated and the night was spent with the ship rolling.

This morning taking a shower was an entertaining experience and I found myself needing to brace myself against the bulkhead from time to time.   On the plus side the wildlife has improved and the ship is being followed by numerous birds,  including albatross and giant petrels.

From time to time there would be a bit of water on the Upper Deck.  This deck is out of bounds in these sort of weather conditions.  Picture Pete Bucktrout/BAS

A black-browed albatross this afternoon.  Also sighted were wandering albatross,  white-chinned petrels,  giant petrels and cape petrels.  There were probably a few others but I have to get back into the habit of recognition and then remembering their names.

The sun did manage to make an appearance a few times during the day and this is the view aft this afternoon.  Since then,  as the James Clark approaches the Polar Front (as it used to be called) the water temperature is dropping steadily and this evening we are enjoying some fog.

Meals today have been interesting,  aside from me wanting to eat everything,  as the motion of the ship was a first for a number of those on board and having to lift your plate with one hand to keep it level whilst trying to stop your glass of water going over the table was a new skill set that had to be learned quickly.

As I was writing this update the ship went through a series of rolls that had me holding on with one hand to stop me and my chair moving across my cabin.  One of the perks of living in the highest cabin on board.  The largest roll today was about 18,  so not too bad really.

The state of the sea is proportional to the wind,  something that was worked out many years ago in 1805 by Francis Beaufort (later Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort), an Irish Royal Navy officer, while serving in HMS Woolwich. The scale that carries Beaufort's name had a long and complex evolution from the previous work of others (including Daniel Defoe the century before) to when Beaufort was a top administrator in the Royal Navy in the 1830s when it was adopted officially and first used during the voyage of HMS Beagle under Captain Robert FitzRoy, later to set up the first Meteorological Office (Met Office) in Britain giving regular weather forecasts. In the early 19th century, naval officers made regular weather observations, but there was no standard scale and so they could be very subjective one man's "stiff breeze" might be another's "soft breeze". Beaufort succeeded in standardizing the scale although it has changed over the years since to what we now use and can be heard daily on BBC Radio 4 and the Shipping Forecast.

Wind speed is often described using the Beaufort scale and the table below will give this,  the speed in Knots,  and the sea state.

Beaufort Scale Speed in Knots Sea State
Force 0 Wind speed less than 1 knot Sea like a mirror
Force 1 Wind speed 1 - 3 knots;  mean 2 knots Ripples with the appearance of scales are formed but without foam crests
Force 2 Wind speed 4 - 6 knots; mean 5 knots Small wavelets, still short but more pronounced,  crests have a glassy appearance and do not break.
Force 3 Wind speed 7 - 10 knots; mean 9 knots Large wavelets; crests begin to break. Foam of glassy appearance; perhaps scattered white horses.
Force 4 Wind speed 11 - 16 knots; mean 13 knots Small waves, becoming longer; fairly frequent white horses.
Force 5 Wind speed  17 - 21 knots; mean 19 knots Moderate waves taking a more-pronounced long form; many white horses are formed.  Chance of some spray.
Force 6 Wind speed 22 - 27 knots;  mean 24 knots Large waves begin to form; the white foam crests are more extensive everywhere. Probably some spray.
Force 7 Wind speed 28 - 33 knots; mean 30 knots Sea heaps up, and white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks along the direction of the wind.
Force 8 Wind speed 34 - 40 knots; mean 37 knots Moderately high waves of greater length; edges of crests begin to break into spindrift. The foam is blown in well-marked streaks along the direction of the wind
Force 9 Wind 41- 47 knots; mean 44 knots High waves; dense streaks of foam along the direction of the wind. Crests of waves begin to topple, tumble and roll over. Spray may affect visibility.
Force 10 Wind 48 -55 knots;  mean 52 knots Very high waves with long overhanging crests. The resulting foam, in great patches, is blown in dense white streaks along the direction of the wind. The tumbling of the sea becomes heavy and shock-like.  Visibility affected.
Force 11 Wind 56 -63 knots;  mean 60 kts Exceptionally high waves.  The sea is completely covered with long white patches of foam lying along the direction of the wind.  Everywhere the edges of the wave crests are blown into froth, be lost from view for a time behind the waves.
Force 12 Wind 64 knots and over The air is filled with foam and spray.  Sea completely white with driving spray; visibility very seriously  affected.

The Noon Position below,  which today does have the ship in the correct hemisphere,  shows the distance to Signy and the ETA depending on the speed we can manage.  Now that we are further south the risk of encountering ice has increased and so our speed will be reduced overnight.  Once we are in the vicinity of the South Orkney Islands there will be icebergs and possibly some pack ice that may slow us down so all timings are our best estimate.

Noon Position Report Thursday 2nd November 2017 

Latitude: 54 18.65 S
Longitude: 054 55.20 W
Bearing: 319 T, 188 Nm from Mare Harbour
Course Made Good 139 T
Destination : Signy
ETA at 10.5 knots is 12:00 on 04 November 2017
Destination : Signy
ETA at 10 knots is 14:30 on 04 November 2017
Distance Travelled: 190.6
Total Distance Travelled: 190.6
Steam Time: 16
Total Steam Time: 16
Average Speed: 11.9
Total Average Speed: 11.9
Wind: Direction W, Force 6
Sea State: Rough
Air Temp: 7.1 C Sea Temp: 6 C
Pressure: 998 Tendency (3 hrs): Falling

 

Previous updates from the current trip.

Previous updates from my last  trip,  to the Arctic in the summer of 2017

Mike Gloistein
gm0hcq @ gm0hcq.com