One of the enjoyable things about writing these updates is sitting in my cabin, which is the highest on the ship just aft of the Navigation Bridge, and watching the sky change colour as the sun slowly sets whilst listing to the sea on the hull. It is a very peaceful way to end the day and relaxes me just enough to sit and type.
In an earlier update I mentioned that the ship was carrying out trials of the swath bathymetry equipment and it seems that the results from the trials were excellent and the scientist involved, Rob Larter, has kindly provided me with some images.
The first image is of the seabed as seen by our swath bathymetry system. The detail is excellent, and in the high resolution images the definition is very impressive. As you can see from the colours the area covered water depths down to over 4000m. Picture Rob Larter, BAS.
The second image supplied is an excellent representation of just how it works, and I feel is a much better example than the one I used the other day. This was produced by Jamie Oliver at BAS.
Whilst covering old ground, I had an e-mail from John Davies, a radio ham I work from time to time, who passed on the picture of our little bird to the Cornwall County Bird Recorder and had a reply from Tony Mills who advised that it was a Northern Wheatsheat, also known as a Wheatsheaf, possibly from the Greenland race. So, a good result and a big thanks to John for getting the answer. Penguins tend to be easier to identify!
A question: What do you do on a ship if there is an emergency? The answer, initially at any rate, is to deal with it yourself. There are no emergency services that we can call who will turn up in a fire engine of ambulance in the space of five minutes and we have to perform these tasks ourselves. In the case of medical issues we are fortunate that for most of the time the ship is at sea a doctor is carried, although there are periods when we are left to our own devices. Fire fighting is carried out by the ship’s company and we practice on a regular basis to ensure that our skills are at a good level should they be required. This is backed up with courses held ashore during our leave period. Today we had our first exercise, with the scene being set in the Forecastle. The fire alarm sounded and once it was determined that there was, albeit for exercise purposes, a fire, the General Alarm (seven or more short followed by one long blast on the ship’s whistle and internal alarm system) was sounded and then everyone musters at their designated position and prepares to tackle the emergency. The exercise this morning went very well and there will be more as we continue on our passage south.
Science can be very hard work! When there is the chance to lean against the bulwark and enjoy the view and sunshine, it is taken. Here the optical equipment is deployed and the scientists are waiting for it to return on board to then gather the data from all the instruments.
Meanwhile at the other end of the ship Alice is playing with a hose! The net has just arrived back on board and the samples collected (which I think are of some very very tiny beasties) in the bucket to then be analysed. I think the hose may have something to do with getting the samples from the net, but as I did not want to get a soaking a beat a hasty retreat.
Working hard is one of the sailors, Fransisco. One of the great joys about this stage of the cruise is that it is nice and warm outside and so our polar clothing is not required. Doing this sort of work in the freezing cold of Antarctica is not as pleasant.
Back to the emergency services, or lack of, the Doctor has started to run some medical courses and her she is explaining to Pugsy Jnr Jnr how to carry out CPR. I am told that Pugsy Jnr Jnr even has a FaceBook page!
The sun has now set and the view from my cabin is one of pith blackness, so that strikes me as being a good point to finish for this evening.