Last updated: Tuesday, 23. September 2014 18:32 UTC Local time GMT +1
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Following a late night for most on board the James Clark Ross we have been enjoying our first full day at sea. The weather has been lovely throughout, with nice calm waters and sunshine. Early this afternoon we steamed past Dover and the famous white cliffs.
The plan for Portsmouth is to pick up a Pilot at 0645 and then be alongside for about 0800. Once there we will load bulk aviation fuel and when that is completed we hope to be departing at about 1915, to continue down the Channel and out into the Atlantic.
As with previous days there is lots of work taking place to prepare for the science cruise. The four container labs are now almost fully up and running and it will be interesting to see what is happening in them once we start the sampling.
Michelle, one of the many scientists, sitting out on the Aft Deck doing a bit of rope work on a net. This will be used for collecting plankton and other tiny beasts as the ship sails south.
From Portsmouth the plan is to do a trial science station off of Plymouth, from where a number of the scientists are based at the Plymouth Marine Lab, and then head out to open water and towards the Azores. During this passage work will be carried out on the swath bathymetry system, which is used for mapping the sea-bed, following an upgrade during the refit period. We will be joined for this short period by an engineer and a scientist, who will then disembark in the Azores to save them having to spend the rest of the journey with us.
When entering or leaving a port, or sometimes when working in restricted conditions, the ship is in 'standby' mode, which means that most of the ship's company have specific tasks or stations to attend to. I am normally on the Bridge during these periods, in case there are any issues with the navigational equipment, the Chief Engineer, the Electrician and the Engineers will be in the Machinery Control Room to keep an eye on everything down there, whilst the Captain and the Duty Deck Officer will be on the Bridge. Should everything be fine with the navigation equipment then I am allowed to make tea and coffee as required! Some standby periods can be fairly short, others can last hours, depending on what the ship is doing. On Wednesday morning the standby period is due to start at 0545 and will be in place until about 0800 when the ship is all fast alongside in Portsmouth.
I have updated the list of destinations through to our arrival at Signy, in the South Orkney Islands, in the middle of November.
The most important information from the ship, the Daily Menu, can be found HERE
For the radio enthusiasts I am hoping to be QRV from Thursday, although not sure of times and frequencies . The Kenwood TS-480 has now been installed but I have yet to test that it is working correctly, although there is no reason for it not to. This season I am going to be trying PSK31 and perhaps some other digital modes and will post more information on that once back at sea.
HF Grid Squares: Next IN, HN
Richard Turner, the Purser, spent some time during his leave at South Georgia and has returned with some stunning winter photographs. These can be viewed HERE
Full information on how to QSL can be found HERE
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